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‘Locker room talk’: Why it isn’t okay

If you voted for Donald Trump, congratulations: You did your part toward normalizing sexual assault.

When an old recording of Donald Trump talking trash on a hot mic surfaced before the election, some people defended it as normal. The kind of he-man, red-blooded American type of chatter that can take place in just about any locker room.

I have a couple of thoughts about that:
• Is this the kind of BS you’d want talked about your own daughter, wife, sister or mother?
• Are you saying that you’re fine with the leader of the free world bragging about assault?

Because yes, it is assault. Imagine someone walking up to your daughter, wife, sister, mother or any other woman you care about and grabbing her. (By the p---y or anywhere else.)

Imagine the shock, fear and revulsion that woman would feel. Imagine the rage you’d feel, knowing that someone you love had been attacked.

If you voted for Donald Trump, congratulations: You did your part toward normalizing sexual assault.

Excuses, excuses

Here are some of the reactions I read/heard about Trump’s statement after it happened:

He was just kidding.

He was just showing off – alpha male stuff.

Right, so YOU’VE never said anything remotely distasteful about men’s bodies when you’re with your girlfriends?

My answers:

How can you kid about assault?

Joking about assaulting a total stranger is sick – not the kind of behavior I expect from a grown man, let alone one who’s representing the United States.

Sure, I’ve talked with girlfriends about cute guys. I have never suggested assaulting any of them.

Trump loyalists don’t care what he does. I wonder if some of the male fans don’t get a vicarious thrill about his crudeness, because it excuses their own creepiness around women. I can only hope it doesn’t embolden them to start grabbing strangers.

But even non-Trump fans may be buying into this kind of crap. I attempted to explain to a male friend just how frustrating it is to be a woman in this country, and why “locker-room talk” is both objectifying and dehumanizing.

He listened, and tried to understand, but ultimately he just didn’t get it. That’s because as a man, he generally doesn’t have to worry about someone grabbing him.

He can walk the streets with impunity because no one is likely to catcall him, follow him or fondle him. When women are out in public there’s always that wariness, that unspoken fear of being hurt:

Will this be the time someone won’t take “no” for an answer and keeps following us?

Or gets too close to us in an elevator, while we pray that someone else will get on at the next floor?

Or actually tries to hurt us?

This is the kind of stuff that women deal with all. the. time.

The Molester in Chief

We don’t teach our sons that they should carry their keys sticking out between their fingers so we can go for an assailant’s eyes if necessary.

We don’t warn them to park in well-lit areas and then to walk past the parked car so we can see if someone is in the back seat.

We don’t tell them to dress or act in certain ways to reduce their chances of being attacked.

Which is, I think, why so many men didn’t see what the big deal was. Yeah, Trump's talk was disgusting, but you already knew he was stupid. So what’s the big deal? Just let it go, already.

We don’t have that option, fellas. It’s maddening to be just a little bit (or very) fearful every time you leave the house. It’s worse to have that kind of unease exacerbated by the gross crowings of the man who would soon be in charge of the country.

To the Molester in Chief: Shame on you for treating women’s bodies as though they were put there specifically for your gratification. How would you feel if some cretin lurched up and grabbed your wife, your daughter or your granddaughter?

(Not that this would ever happen, thanks to the Secret Service.)

And to all the “good” guys and allies: Next time you hear some schmuck bleating about how much he’d love to hit that or how he has to get himself some of (whatever woman is nearby), call him out. Ask him why he thinks it’s okay to treat women like commodities, as though their only purpose was to be available for sex.

Sure, it’ll be uncomfortable. But a big reason why people like Trump think they can get away with whatever they want is that nobody is willing to say “no.”

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