Some years ago I was only moderately surprised at learning that virtually every black man in the country has been stopped without cause by the police, sometimes more than once a week.
But the reaction to the revelation of Donald Trump’s gross misogyny threw me aback. Not only were the reactions of women to what he says about women fierce, but one woman who asked for Tweets about their first assault—their first assault—found that millions of women responded within hours. It’s safe to say that assault is the norm. It really is a rape culture. It’s not a figure of speech.
For many it was difficult to determine which was their first. For literally all of them, sexual assault was the norm. It occurred everywhere, at any age, on the street, in subways, in stores, at work, at school… In short, we live in a society where men think that they don’t need to have the permission of a girl or a woman to touch her, to grope her, to beat her, to rape her. They don’t even have to know her. There are endless stories of men drugging women in order to rape them, which sounds to me little different from necrophilia.
College males seem to have grown up expecting to be able to force sex with any woman they choose. Consider the dozens of court cases. Consider the numerous rape reports of women in college. We have lost something important. Aren’t relationships that are interesting and loving worth something anymore?
Are women just too brazen these days? Not at all. These first assaults often occurred at the age of seven or eight, and were perpetrated by old men who were strangers, or others who were family acquaintances.
But no matter the degree of sexual assault, the bodies of women virtually everywhere are being violated, their psyches damaged, their freedoms diminished.
I’m saddened, because I love the beauty of the world. A warm day in spring is sublime. Baby animals are always impossibly cute. Mountains and water make us happy and peaceful. Good food and good company are the epitome of happy living.
I find the beauty of small children wonderful. A third-grade girl breathlessly telling her mother about the important events of the day is utterly charming. The beauty of women is of a different sort, but I am thrilled that little girls can become beautiful women.
But these feelings are tender, and they are crushed by whatever it is that makes men think it’s OK to fondle little girls, or put hands on any part of any woman one wishes. Tender feelings don’t exist under the onslaught of misogyny and coarse talk spewing from Donald Trump’s mouth, which in the meat market that is his tawdry election campaign, becomes permission for other men to behave the same way. And they do.
Trump seems incapable of expressing anything but crude and degrading talk. I doubt he understands anything about love, or anything at all that doesn’t involve some sort of financial conquest for his own profit. He fails completely to understand that other people’s lives are not his oyster, to devour if he wants to.
Nor does he appreciate a cardinal characteristic of beauty: You cannot possess beauty. You can’t even own beauty in a painting, say, because something that is beautiful will always be beautiful in and of itself. You can’t own it; it cannot become part of you. You could perhaps destroy it, and you might buy it, but you cannot possess it. You can’t even possess your wife, even with sex. Any real man knows he shouldn’t even try.