Herizons Commentary

Misogyny Trumps Liberal Democracy  by Susan G. Cole
Misogyny Trumps Liberal Democracy

I admit I didn’t see it coming. In fact, I was one of those people who thought Hillary Clinton was going to crush Donald Trump and that when Trump’s trolls started protesting in the streets after his loss, the army was going
to crush them.

Instead, Trump won. And he won because women voted for him. I know, not the majority of female voters, but a whack of them, millions of them—including 32 per cent of the college-educated females who cast a ballot.

Why? This conversation has been swirling around ever
since the results came in.

One suggestion is that racism trumped sexism here. That is, Trump’s female fans were more frightened by their fear of an ascending class of non-whites than they were by the fact that their chosen candidate admitted to being a serial sexual aggressor.

It’s tempting to buy the argument, especially after Pam Taylor, a civic development official in West Virginia, said on social media that it would be “refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified fi rst lady back in the White
House. I’m tired of seeing an ape in heels [Michelle Obama] in the White House.” In response, Clay, West Virginia, mayor Beverly Whaling commented to the post with “made my day, Pam.”

Though Whaling was forced to resign over her response, the comment was an indication of how rampant racism was as an election factor. But I see rape culture as having an even stronger impact in this election. And what better evidence do we have of the existence of that rape culture than the fact that Trump grabbed them all by the pussy and his supporters seemed
not to care.

When I use the term rape culture, I’m referring to the normalization of sexual assault as an everyday activity. When a female Trump supporter wears a T-shirt with the words “Trump can Grab My Pussy” scrawled on it, she’s saying that groping is okay, especially if a powerful male is doing the manhandling. Of course, many women believe that if a bigshot rubs up against them his power will somehow rub off on them.

Doubtless many other women were all too familiar with the Trump style of braggadocio—perhaps the men around them behave like that all the time. Or perhaps it’s only a throwback to the days when sexual harassment was considered a by-product of being in the workforce.

It’s not only that many women shrug off abusive behaviour as “locker room banter.” Trump-the-bitch women are not only not about to change that, they’re also willing to participate in the profoundly sexist system of a torqued-up patriarchy.

We talk all the time about internalized racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism. Time now to talk about internalized misogyny. I saw Trump Nation in action while I was debating the porn star Ron Jeremy on over 50 American campuses from 2005 to 2009. Confronting over 1,000 male testosterone-poisoned porn users prepared me, in a way, for the college-educated men who would eventually vote for Trump.

But it was the Jeremy-adoring women who really blew my mind. These were not women who wanted to talk about pornography’s potential for empowering women and how sexuality might be a force for liberation. These were women not only willing to debase themselves–--begging Ron Jeremy to autograph their breasts–-they celebrated the debasement of and cruelty to other women.

I remember at one point taking about a particular scenario in one of Jeremy’s pics in which he shoves his penis into a woman’s mouth to stop her from talking. When he bragged, “Yeah, I did that,” the audience laughed and
cheered, including many of the women, and not in that uncomfortable get-me-out-of-here way experienced by so many women in situations where they can’t speak up.

These women were supporting it. The extent to which women’s minds and bodies are colonized by patriarchy should never be underestimated. Trump didn’t win because Hillary Clinton is one of the most hated women in America. He won because a significant chunk of America hates women.