Emily Kowalik ‘18
Assistant Opinions Editor
“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” were the words Donald Trump had the gall to say about sexually assaulting young women. He was caught on a hot mic in 2005 talking with an Access Hollywood reporter.
Over 11 years later, the Republican presidential nominee is finding that women do, in fact, have the power to seek recourse. More and more women are coming forward and making their stories of being sexually assaulted by Trump public. They are no longer afraid of the consequences of accusing a wealthy and powerful man. Their silence was born of a culture of entitlement and denial that often keeps sex-crime victims defenseless, but now they are making their voices heard.
Of his lewd comments, Trump said, “Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it, and I hate it, but it’s locker room talk.”
By associating his comment with trash talk among “the guys,” Trump would like to have us believe all men have his disgusting, sexist mindset. Claims that all men engage in this same kind of “locker room talk” demeans his sex almost as much as his obscene comments degrade women.
These words alone would serve as an indictment of Trump’s character, even to those unfamiliar with the multitude of horrendous statements and degrading comments that he has made towards women in the past.
Any person who brushes off Trump’s comments about assaulting women as casual chatter must have a similar lack of morals or be too ignorant to see how revealing this statement is about Trump’s character. “Locker room talk” is not a defense; it is instead a perfect reflection of the attitude Trump demonstrates in his lewd and sexist statements– i.e., that he is of such a high status that he can make degrading comments without any consequences. It is also a reflection of the attitude he has shown throughout his campaign – that he can throw out any insult, libel or slander to any person or group of people and be celebrated as speaking the truth instead of being reviled for speaking like a degenerate.
By invoking the phrase “locker room talk”, Trump is attempting to conjure up the image of the rich and powerful as alpha-male, hormone-driven athletes hanging out at the gym. Trump seems to believe that it is excusable for people to casually boast about a criminal sexual act as long as it is categorized as a behind-closed-doors joke. Trump, incredibly enough, is advancing the idea that all men unleash different personalities when they are taken out of mixed society.
The type of off-the-record “locker room talk” that Trump is attempting to hide his comments behind does not actually exist. His talk is not indicative of casual chatting among men; it is instead the bragging of a rich and conceited man.
It is no wonder that the nation has been rocked by Trump’s comments. What kind of person believes that they can proffer the flimsy excuse of “locker room banter” to explain away a comment dripping with male entitlement, self-importance and the condoning of sexual harassment?
The only surprising piece is that it took so long for Republican politicians to reject support for Trump, considering that this vile language from over a decade ago is only the tip of the iceberg.