Last week, when the tape surfaced from 2005 of Donald Trump bragging to Billy Bush in rather disgusting terms about his behavior with women- from pursuing married women to sharing his tendency to “grab them by the pussy,” much was made of a couple of things: One, it’s probably the killshot that ends Trump’s presidential campaign. And two, many, many people couldn’t interpret Trump’s comments in any way other than pointing out that they have daughters.
A whole lot of denouncements of Trump included the phrase “as the father of daughters,” while many others described potential victims of the crotch grabbing, or sex crimes in general, as “somebody’s daughter,” or “somebody’s sister” or “somebody’s wife.” The more accurate description, I’d say, is simply “somebody.” That such a thing was actually pointed out, on television and other prominent media outlets, by many people is perhaps a sign that political correctness has done more good than harm.
I was as disgusted by Trump’s comments as everyone else, albeit not especially surprised; this isn’t exactly one of those caught-on-tape scandals that exposes someone as the opposite of what they otherwise claimed to be. Trump’s raging misogyny is been glaringly obvious not only since the start of his campaign, but really for his entire 40-some-odd years as a public figure. No one backing away from Trump only after the Billy Bush tapes has any excuse for not realizing that until now.
In reacting to Trump, I’m not able to play the “as the father of daughters” card, as I only have sons. But I have noticed I’ve been paying attention to, and thinking about, issues related to gender, sexism and feminism a whole lot more in the last few years than I ever did before.
Part of the reason is that these issues are out there at the forefront culturally a whole lot in past 4 or 5 years, and part of it is what I’ve been choosing to read. Some of it is the presidential race between a raving woman-hater and the probable first female president of the United States. But a lot of it also has to do with thinking a lot about my sons, and what type of men I wish and hope for them to one day become.
All of this has led me to notice a lot of things that I probably should have a long time earlier: That a lot of things I know and love in life, from the NFL to the movie criticism world to politics, have huge, endemic problems related to toxic masculinity. That way, way too many people in the world tend to reduce everything from sports to business to political campaigns down to who is a “real man” and “tough” and who is “soft” and “a pussy.” And that women go through and deal with things in life on an everyday basis- from workplace sexual harassment to strange men telling them to smile to serious pressures related to weight and body image- that men in most cases have the luxury of not even needing to think about.
Not to be that faux-woke guy who falsely quotes his precocious kids on Twitter, but I have said to my children, on more than one occasion, to watch the behavior of Donald Trump and always do the exact opposite. I know they’re young, and I know there will be many, many discussions in the future about many more difficult issues than that, but it’s a start. And good advice for us all: Don’t act anything like Donald Trump. And don’t vote for him, either.
On to the links, and a big one this week: My first-ever piece for SI.com’s The Cauldron, about the state of the Philadelphia 76ers’ Process Wars, following the departure of Sam Hinkie.
For Farmdog.tv, I previewed some local screenings of Robert Altman’s The Player.
Virtual reality is coming to The Simpsons.
Tony Almeida will return on the 24 spinoff.
Christopher Nolan is Hollywood’s highest-paid director.
Netflix makes a deal to help with Oscar eligibility of its films.
Game of Thrones location news.
… and some casting.
They’re already working on a John Wick 3.
And a Bad Moms spinoff called Bad Dads.
And a movie that sounds like a remake of Oz: The Great and Powerful.
And at Blasting News:
On topic of the above: Why Donald Trump’s viciousness towards women will be his undoing.
If you’re voting for Trump because you think he’ll “put a stop to” your pet peeves, don’t.
SNL may be off to a great start this year, but they won’t “take down” Trump on their own.
Thoughts on the second presidential debate.
No, Kim Kardashian did not fake her robbery.
On the “Junket Censorship Crisis.”
Why it’s wrong to use Jose Fernandez’s death against Colin Kaepernick.
Shanah tovah to those celebrating, and as always, follow me on Twitter at @StephenSilver.