October 19, 2017

“Locker room talk” will never be OK

Olivia Gieger '17
Olivia Gieger, Editor in Chief

Throughout the first presidential debate, I stayed quiet — mostly because I felt that everything I had to say had already been said. But this second debate was different. This time I watched not because I was enticed by the build up of media outlets, but because I felt obliged as a woman, as a human being, to see how Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, responded to his horrific bragging about sexually assaulting women.

Perhaps it was the presence of the citizen’s voice in the town hall format of the debate, or perhaps it was the coziness of the Sunday night before Columbus day, or perhaps it was just me, but this debate felt personal.

I watched because I needed to know how our potential future president would possibly explain why he still deserves our vote after explaining how he demonstrates his sexual prowess. And his big defense? It was “locker room talk”.

This almost disturbs me more than his initial remarks. It bothers me because he is sending the message that it is still OK to speak about women this way– as long as you are safe inside the sphere of an all male gym bathroom or the confines of the Access Hollywood bus. Talking this way anyplace perpetuates the notion that acting this way towards human beings is acceptable.

What does this mean for girls like me, about to enter the real world, out of the safe bubble of home?

It means we are alienated. It means we feel like people treat us differently simply because we lack a y chromosome. When individuals assume that women will “let you do …anything”, it sparks a spiral. If people see women as weak and susceptible sexually, not only is that itself a problem, but it sends a message about the character of all women in any situation: that we are at the beck and call of someone else. That we lack the bit of gumption it takes to stand up for ourselves, whether it be when someone tries to make a move on us or when we attempt to take any sort of leadership position.

Speaking about women — or any human being for that matter — with anything less than respect keeps females on the sidelines of business, politics, and any influential decision making. If people talk about women as beings who swoon and lose all judgement as soon as someone starts kissing them, how will we ever assume women have what it takes to make big decisions? How will we ever right the disturbing fact that that only 22 women are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, the fact that a mere 20% of senators and 19% of representatives are female?

For any group to be successful, we must address, or at least acknowledge, all perspectives, and by talking about and treating women as if they are anything less than human, we invalidate their opinions. We cut them off from having any meaningful say in our society. When ½ of the population is threatened or silenced by those in charge, how will our country ever live up to its promises of inclusivity and liberty?

Men and women alike can not look up to a person who regards 50% of the population as disposables, helpless beings who will go weak at the knees because he’s famous, and he’s chewing tic-tacs. This is someone who goes through wives as if they were cars — used and appreciated for a while until they get rusty, then time to exchange them for a newer model (pun mostly intended).

This moment in history carries dire consequences. On the one hand, never have we seen such inclusion and celebration of diversity — we have our first black president, our first female presidential nominee. And on the other, we hear some of the most graphic and harmful disenfranchisement of people in the modern day.

The choice lies in our hands: do we choose to elevate all American people by progressing and including, celebrating the diversity we hold? Or, do we wish to stall and prevent ourselves from  moving forward from the days where women are confined to the home, gays are closeted, and blacks are abused?

I have never been afraid of being sexually assaulted. I am so lucky that I have grown up in a family and in a community where human respect comes first and foremost.

But Friday, I doubted that lack of fear for the first time in my life. As a 17-year old girl, how can I feel safe in a country where the president condones — or worse, boasts about– sexual assault?
I can’t.

 

— Olivia Gieger ’17, Editor-in- Chief

3 Comments

  1. Well, there are some loaded claims in there. Many of which are just false. Congratulations on knowing fact Bill Clinton is not a candidate in this election, however Hillary Cinton is. I could go well beyond the scandals of Bill’s sexual assault which you just say are affairs. False. They are rapes and instances of groping which he was found guilty of and had to settle in court with a one million dollar fine. Your suggestion that Hillary is not an accessory is just false. Your statements are opinion mine are facts. And Hillary Clinton said Trump supporters are sexist, racist and islamophobic and irredeemable. That does not mean that trump supporters can’t be convinced that Trump says dumb things but rather labeling 79.5 million Americans racist or sexist. Does that sound right to you? How did Trump suggest women are disposable he just says dumb irresponsible things. Rape, Murder, Benghazi, Clinton Foundation, Assault, Obamacare, War, Death vs Dumb comments and a successful businessman you tell me.

  2. In response to anonymous, first try and remember that this man, Donald Trump, is the republican nominee for president, and Bill Clinton was never even a candidate in this election. Also, in your suggestion that Clinton has been an “accessory” to an instance of sexual assault, you seem to forget that the incident you reference was a hypothetical…unless I somehow missed Hillary’s crucifixion of one of Bill’s “assaults”, but I imagine we would have known about that. Second, you reference this line: “Men and women alike can not look up to a person who regards 50% of the population as disposables,” and then you claim that Clinton’s comment about Trump’s supporters being deplorable affects “half the population right their.” First of all, I think you mean “there”. Now, disposable is not the same as deplorable. Clinton’s comment, which I do not support, was saying that we can’t even bother trying to convince half of his supporters that his ideas are discriminatory, racist, and full of hatred. On the other hand, Trump suggesting women are disposable – indirectly through his comments – shows that he believes women do not even play a role in society, hence they are disposable and we could operate without them. Now lets tie this back to Bill’s past. You clearly believe that Trump is better than Clinton and that is totally okay; this is America and we have freedom to believe what we want. Now, if we view Hillary as disposable, that would suggest that if she was out of the equation, nothing would change. Yes, Bill still may have had relations with mistresses. Now, if we view Bill as disposable and remove him from the equation, would Hillary’s reputation still be tarnished by his infidelity? No. Perhaps the problem is that instead of viewing Hillary as a powerful, determined, and fearless politician, you simply view her as an extension of Bill, and extension of her husband, and extension of a man.

  3. I could not help but notice this article and the bad reviews I see I am not the only one who felt this way.
    This story is very ill-informed and biased. Sure 11 years ago Donald Trump said stupid sexist things. This would not be the first time a man said something stupid and sexist. At a time where the other candidate for president is anyone but Hillary Clinton this would be disqualifying. However how does this compare to Hillary Clinton and her husbands actions. Sure this election is not about Bill Clintons infidelities, but Hillary Clinton attacking victims of sexual assault is more important as Trumps idiotic sexist comments from 11 years ago. If anything Hilary Clinton who says that women should never be doubted when saying that they are raped is a hypocrite. Hillary if she was given the chance to talk to a sexual assault victim of Bills, Jennifer Flowers she would “crucify her.” We could talk about Hilary’s attacks on assault victims for a couple pages but I will pass. The point is actions speak louder than words and I would rather have a man who says stupid things at times than an accessory to assault. You go on to say ”
    Men and women alike can not look up to a person who regards 50% of the population as disposables”
    Hillary Clinton calling Trump voters irredeemable and deplorable is half of the country right their. Hypocritical? Maybe you should look past your leftist bias and not just ignore Hillary saying that Trump voters are deplorable. How can you not laugh when you read your own work “a horrible disenfranchisement of people.” Hello Deplorable!!! In my opinion a more direct attack than saying a sexist comment which I do not condone.
    Now to debunk the next part of this post
    “For any group to be successful, we must address, or at least acknowledge, all perspectives, and by talking about and treating women as if they are anything less than human, we invalidate their opinions. ”
    That is exactly what Hillary Clinton and her Wall St donors have done to hard working Americans. Trump voters have been ignored for a the whole 21st century. What Washington has done to Blue collar workers is what you said above. If anything Trump is bringing more perspectives to the election rather than cutting off women altogether with inappropriate words.

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