This is what rape culture looks like – in the words of Donald Trump
Look up objectification and victim blaming, and the Republican presidential nominee is a textbook case of offensive attitudes toward women
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event earlier this year as in daughter, Ivanka, and his wife, Melania, continue to support the foul-mouthed Republican nominee. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Why are we all so shocked by the sexual assault allegations againstDonald Trump? It has always been clear that his attitudes toward women are dangerously retrograde; he’s never tried to hide who he is. Quite the opposite in fact; he’s built a successful brand out of being an offensive playboy who’s allowed to get away with it. In short, he’s built his entire career on the foundation of what feminist academics call “rape culture”.
If you’re confused by the term, “rape culture” describes the normalization of sexual violence in society – and it’s this very normalization that makes it a difficult thing to explain. Rape culture doesn’t so much actively encourage rape as passively condone it. You can’t pin it down to one particular thing; rather it’s the accumulation of a number of social norms that perpetuate the idea that women are sexual objects, and that sexual objectification is simply a fact of life.
Trump is a one-man textbook of such norms. So let’s use him as such. I’ve broken down the various assumptions, stock phrases, and social expectations that, together, constitute rape culture. Trump has helpfully provided examples of each.
Women are sexual objects, to be judged as such
'I'm a gentleman': Trump menaces Clinton with imposing presence and brash insults
“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posed ta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” – Trump describing his then Republican primary rival Carly Fiorina in Rolling Stone, 2015
“A person who is flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.” – The Howard Stern Show, 2005
“If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” – Donald Trump retweeted this in 2015, later deleted
“I’d pay a lot of money [for Rosie O’ Donnell not to give me oral sex]. That’s one of the most unattractive people. She took great offense at the fact I said she better be careful or I, or one of one friends would go and pick up her wife.” – The Howard Stern Show, 2007
“I am going to be dating her [a young girl] in 10 years.” – In a 1992 video in which a 46-year-old Trump ogles a group of young girls and jokes about how he’d be “dating” one of them in 10 years.
“I’ve known Paris Hilton from the time she’s 12. Her parents are friends of mine, and, you know, the first time I saw her, she walked into the room and I said, ‘Who the hell is that?’ … Well, at 12, I wasn’t interested... They’re sort of always stuck around that 25 category.” He then went on to admit he’d watched her sex tape.” – The Howard Stern Show, 2003
“[Ivanka]’s got the best body.” – The Howard Stern Show, 2003
“If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her” – The View, 2006
Objectification is actually an honour. No woman wants to be ‘unfuckable’
“Look at her…I don’t think so.” – Trump’s response to People magazine journalist Natasha Stoynoff’s claims that he sexually assaulted her during an interview.
Women are manipulative and use their bodies to control men
“I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye – or perhaps another body part.” – Trump: The Art of the Comeback, 1997
Here is Donald Trump's response to suggestions he is a "sexual predator"
Women can’t control their desires so men have to do it for them
“All of the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.” – How To Get Rich, 2004
If you’ve got enough money or fame, women will let you do anything to them
“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything …Grab them by the pussy … You can do anything.” – off-camera remarks on Access Hollywood, 2005
“Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money.” – Donald Trump describing himself, as quoted in The Narcissist Next Door by Jeffrey Kluger
Women want to be degraded
“Women, you have to treat ‘em like shit.” – New York magazine, 9 November 1992
Women use their looks as currency, as a way to get ahead.
“You wouldn’t have your job if you weren’t beautiful.” – Interview with a female reporter at a Miss Universe event in Las Vegas, 2014
“It’s certainly not groundbreaking news that the early victories by the women on ‘The Apprentice’ were, to a very large extent, dependent on their sex appeal.” – How To Get Rich, 2004
“It must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees” ; Trump to actor Brande Roderick when she asked Trump if she could be the next project manager on – Celebrity Apprentice: All Stars, 2013
“Some of the women that are complaining, I know how much [Roger Ailes] helped them…” – Trump to NBC, as sexual assault allegations against former Fox head Roger Ailes started piling up in July 2016
In a video @realDonaldTrump on @HowardStern, Trump jokingly refers to women he's slept w/ as "victims".https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwJXyKKKyW0 …
Women who like sex are sluts
“Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a US citizen so she could use her in the debate?” – Twitter, September 2016
It’s just biology; men can’t help themselves from assaulting women.
“26,000 unreported sexual assults [sic] in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” – Twitter, May2013
Men decide when women can take offense
When asked about his treatment of women and the Access Hollywood audio during the second presidential debate he offered up the following excuses:
“This was locker room talk.”
“What [Bill Clinton] did was far worse … and Hillary Clinton attacked those women.”
“It’s just words, folks. It’s just words.”
“If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine were words and his was action.”
“It is things that people say.”
“When Hillary brings up a point like that and she talks about words that I said 11 years ago, I think it’s disgraceful, and I think she should be ashamed of herself.” (This was followed by applause)
At a rally in Florida on 13 October, Trump told his supporters that the allegations women had made about him weren’t true. Describing them as: “False smears.” “Horror show of lies, deceptions and malicious attacks.”
“Why wasn’t it part of the story that appeared 20, or 12 years ago?”
“They will seek to destroy everything about you, including your reputation. They will lie, lie, lie, and they will do worse than that.”
Rape culture begets rape culture
The most pernicious thing about rape culture is that it’s self-perpetuating. Women are afraid to come forward about sexual assault because they’re worried they won’t be believed. When they do have the courage to come forward they often aren’t believed. Their characters are ripped apart; their motives are questioned; they’re told they were probably ‘asking for it.’ And so other women decide they may as well just keep quiet. If we are to learn anything from Trump’s masterclass in rape culture it’s that none of us should keep quiet.