Trump: It’s Only Words

Trump at the second debate.

Trump at the second debate.

Trump insults women and others but his actions are to the contrary. He hires women on an equal basis, like his daughter Ivanka and his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. He’s more bark than bite.

That’s from one of my readers.  

Unfortunately Trump seems to behave that way too, given sexual assault and discrimination charges against him.

Actually, some men are more likely to assault and rape women than others, and their behavior is related to words. Men who routinely degrade women, like you so often find in football locker rooms and fraternities, are significantly more likely to harm women than Average Joe is.

Words hurt

But words hurt too.

“Just talk” creates a hostile and demeaning climate toward women and minorities.

I do not appreciate people who propagate such hatred and degrading attitudes toward me and my kind. Or anyone, for that matter.

Many men get it

Some men were surprised by the negative reaction to Trump’s “locker talk” video. I watched a guy in one focus group defend him: “All guys do this.” But the women let him know that they found it upsetting, and hoped — and believed — that all men don’t behave that way.

And not all men do think or behave that way. Here’s what Lee Goodman-Gargagliano told the New York Times:

When Donald Trump refers to his gloating about sexually assaulting women as “locker-room talk,” it is not any kind of defense; rather, it is an indictment of male socialization in locker rooms and other venues across the country. The casual, behind-closed-doors sexism that Mr. Trump excuses directly feeds male entitlement and rape culture.

And here is Daniel Pellegrin’s view:

Over the past 55 years I have been in many locker rooms: football, track, high school, college, racquetball, country club, golf. I have never heard in them the language used by Donald Trump.

He demeans men when he claims that his language is common to us. It is not. His claim, if believed, would lower women’s view of men: We are not the pigs Donald would have them believe we are.

The number of men who now say that Donald Trump is misogynistic has increased by 10 percentage points since the video of him boasting about assaulting women went public.

Fortunately, the man I quoted above gets it too. As he later explained:

I hear the pain and oppression this attitude has caused you. I’m sorry for that. It’s heartbreaking when you hear it in a personal manner.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on October 12, 2016, in men, objectification, politics/class inequality, rape and sexual assault and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Today when I was in class, I overheard a conversation between a man and a woman. She was talking about her night before and noted that she felt there may have been something put in the alcohol she was drinking. In response, the man laughed and said something along the lines of, “Oh, someone was looking to spice things up.” I was surprised by the comment itself, but even more surprised that the woman laughed along with him. I found it nauseating that in our society this treatment towards women is not only accepted, but encouraged. Considering the number of women that I know who have been affected by sexual violence and the long term effect these experiences have had on them, I couldn’t believe that this was a story to laugh about. Everyday, women and men are reminded that violence towards women is OK with words like the conversation I heard and the words of the President of the United States. These words may seem small, but their subconscious impact on members of society is immense. In order to put a stop to this treatment towards women, we must alter what we say to ourselves and what we say to others, as nothing can change until we change.

  2. After reading this article, it made me think (in general) of how advanced social media is now-a-days, and for that reasoning, the individual needs to instantly clarify what they mean, so that society doesn’t get mislead. And also, if a lot of times words don’t make sense to people, or just that they refuse to comprehend, then why would someone important use it after all?

  3. That was such an awry side of Trump, which I am glad came to light in a good time… probably the best one to shift the polls. I have seen that Clinton seem to ahead him at a national scale. And this whole incident had probably an impact.
    I wanted to ask you if you have any idea of how that audio leaked?
    Plus. Have you watched Anderson Cooper Interview with Melania Trump… Quite unbelievable, she says that she has two teenagers at her house, meaning his son and his husband… I wouldn´t feel much sure with a teenager as a commander in chief, would you… haha. 😉 Check out this clip
    Thanks for the reaidng… happy sunday, dear Georgia. Aquileana

  4. The thing is, words are never just words. The language we use actually shapes our understanding of reality; how we think about things and how we act in the world.

    So many people seem to view it as overly PC, or sensitive to acknowledge this, and in particular to demand that we hold ourselves to a higher standard which doesn’t continue to exclude and denigrate groups of vulnerable people by those who are in power and control the discourse.

    Donald Trump’s language is grotesque, not only because it describes assault, but because it so easily is dismissed as the norm, or accepted reality. Women are seen as objects, and this is language which reinforces and perpetuates such a view.

    I’m so glad that more men are standing up and saying they are appalled by Trump’s comments, and by his dismissal of them as being inherent, male behavior. We need more allies to change the course of conversation, to change the language we use.

    • “words are never just words. The language we use actually shapes our understanding of reality”

      Yep. And thanks for the link.

      • I completely agree with your statement. Language is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to legitimate order of things, systems, and what it is accepted as being `normal´… It also states power, when it is spoken by `important´people, so to speak… I am paraphrasing Michel Foucault 😉

      • Nice paraphrase Nice paraphrase 😏

  5. Here’s the thing: I understand that there are men who speak this way about women for a variety of reasons. Some men use it to bolster their self-esteem, others view it as harmless and still others do it for reasons that are unique to their own mentality. It is never harmless. Our words offer a window into our minds and when men believe it acceptable to demean women and speak frivolously of things like sexual assault, it highlights a very cavalier attitude towards the action itself. As human beings, our words are a manifestation of our ideal and actions. It’s also a great insult to men everywhere to perpetuate the idea that all men talk like that. At the end of the day, while I did not hold a very high opinion of Donald Trump before the Access Hollywood audio was released, the thing that scares me most is that instead of a sincere apology, we got a justification and an attempt to sweep it under the rug. There was no remorse and no evidence that his views or actions have changed since the comments were made.

  6. Donald Trump’s comments on women were not just “locker room talk”. I have played sports all my life and I have indeed heard guys talk about girls and how certain girls are attractive, which girls they wanted to ask out, etc. but the rhetoric that Donald Trump is trying to pass off as this type of talk is far from that. Just like the article mentioned, this isn’t just innocent boy talk, but instead he is trying to encourage rape culture and the degradation of women. The type of things he said in the leaked audio with Billy Bush not only degrades women but it promotes the unwanted sexual advances that are consistent with rape culture. Ever since the audio leaked I have heard many trump supporters say that there is no harm in his words because they were after all just words. However, when someone high up in power, someone who has a chance of being the President of the most powerful country in the world speaks this way about women, what type of example does that set for people in our country? If the president of the United States can make unwanted sexual advances because “he’s famous” then what does that tell children who idolize the president? This type of talk will only continue to widen the gap of gender inequality as well as encourage rape culture in our country and should not be allowed at any tier of power (or anywhere for that matter).

  7. I firmly believe that there is never any kind of excuse for a man to degrade a woman. If everyone went around saying whatever they want to whoever they want and just made excuses for what they say without punishment, the world would be a much terrible place. Yes, you do have the freedom of speech, but at the cost of someone else’s own feelings is not okay. Trump has said multiple, horrible things about women, and is not setting any kind of example for the young men in this country. It is horrible to me that trump can say the things that he says, and other people find it funny. But one thing that we need to think about, is how would we feel if what he said in general, was then directed specifically to our daughters, mothers, nieces, or friends? Does it change the severity of what he is saying once he makes it direct? Why are people okay with degrading women in general, if we aren’t okay with making personal attacks? Isn’t it almost the same thing?

  8. Unsurprisingly enough, Donald Trump has once again, beamed himself into the spotlight of negativity. Giving his slick previous image of being a billionaire mogul, this new presidential attitude has introduced someone completely backwards in logical thinking. His now given slogan “Locker Room Talk”, expresses immaturity and unforgiving masculinity. The view of this man to the American people will never be the same. However, some may argue that the majority of men are also guilty of “Locker Room Talk,” it doesn’t define who they really are. That is no excuse, as what is said without inhibition tends to reveal one’s character.

  9. If I were able to speak to Trump, which I think would be a very interesting interaction to say the least, I would want to tell him how much certain young men are looking up to him all around the world. Especially young boys whose parents are Trump supporters. By Trump condoning this talk as “locker room talk” allows boys to think this behavior is acceptable. I am wanting to continue to lead the movement to help young women, but I can’t forget about the boys. What we teach the young men of today will affect everyone. I hope more men will step forward and educate the young men of today that this talk is not appropriate. I fear the more we normalize this type of talk the higher the sexual assault statistics could rise.

  10. It’s interesting how that kind of man that disgraces women by words are more likely to sexually assault women. Because Donald Trump disgraces women so often, it makes sense that he assaulted women, due to allegations presented currently in the news. Even the movies that I have watched that disgraces women , has never used the same derogatory language that Donald Trump uses. It is sad that so many people are trying to defend him and his “locker room” talk. When the only thing it’s really doing is increasing the amount of people who want to prevent such a thing from happening as it is so common that men are the ones who assault women more than women who assault men.

    • The words and the behavior are probably both tied to is like a lack of empathy and insecurity and trying to feel like a “real man.” Even though real men, to find this way, aren’t really too great. Or even too real.

  11. I agree that not only do trumps comments and words hurt women but men as well. He is basically defining all men but it is good to hear and to have men defend themselves and proving trump wrong. Trump doesn’t gain anything by gloating or degrading women, all he gains is showing the type of man he really is. He thinks he knows best and can speak for all men and women but I just hope everyone can finally open their eyes and realize that degrading women is not something any man should be proud of. Also that his supporters can finally realize what a type of man they are really following.

  12. Those who just use “words” are slowly stirring out of their slumber to look around and see how much has changed and a lot is on the way. What peeves me is that there are still women who defend such outrageous statements but they must be having some constraints (my hope)!

    • I am glad to see that minds are changing.

      But you are right. It is frustrating when they don’t. Especially among women. But people do tend to internalize their culture. And when it is very important to you to believe something — maybe you were a Trump supporter because you believe he will help you — it becomes imperative to believe things that don’t make sense.

  13. Yes…not only does the way he speaks denigrate women, it downgrades men. Men are not pigs and women are not pieces of meat.

  14. The comments Donald Trump has made about women has been unsettling for everyone’s ears. Sexual assault should never be a conversation made casually. Throughout the world there are women having to defend themselves day after day from men that think the same way as Donald Trump. Unfortunately there are extreme cases involving sexual assault that leave women either mentally distraught or dead. Sexually assaulting a woman should not be thought of lightly. Such a crime should be ear cringing and disturbing. It’s unfortunate that as a Presidential candidate that he would have those thoughts. Which is why I believe that Mr. Trump would be a terrible President.

    It’s easy for women to believe that men have the same views as Trump, which makes women more dismissive towards men. As reading the blog I’m glad to see that there are some men out there that disagree with Trump’s comments. It’s important for us as a nation to use these comments that Trump has referred to as “locker-room talk”, as a lesson that it is unacceptable to demean women and that sexual assault should not be taken lightly.

  15. I don’t care when people say that or think it’s how guy’s talk. That’s demeaning to men. I work with a lady and I like her she’s nice and sometimes we talk about politics and she can’t stand trump either, but I don’t think she knew all of what was said. But she was saying us men, or how that’s how most guy’s talk. I said, no not like how trump went and to his extent. We talk about ass, tits, hot girls, maybe how they were in bed, reputations, maybe something funny or embarassing or sex with some girl, etc. But not how we can grab or grope or touch girls we want or entitled or can do what we want because we’re so and so. Non creeps, assholes don’t feel that’s right and not something that’s fine. Unfortunately, Trump’s remarks and thoughts aren’t unique though. As much of an asshole he is, he’s definitely not the only guy with that thought or does that and thinks that. Some even worse. Unfortunately he shares a mindset that I would be other powerful men have, because of their power and ego they feel entitled to women and not just that, but women should feel “honored” they are touched or such men have interest in them.

    I guarentee there are and have been other male politicians with same thoughts and actions. Probably Bill Clinton, Apparently Billy Bush too, but CEO’s of some huge companies, or powerful men in the music and movie industry. I mean look at the Kesha things, remember the singer and he issue? And I saw an article of a female musician who was talking about and still scared because of the man’s power to say his name, but how he groped her infront of people and felt he could do so because of who he is. And he told her had huge yachts and could take her out on the ocean or something where no one would ever know where she is. And how he could end her music career. It’s true there are poor guys and of all ranges with that mindset of the fact of rape and sexual assaults happen across the board. But I can picture this happening or the mindset among oligarchy classes.

    • I know that this is an issue that you have struggled with, and I’m still a little unclear on what your position is now. I hope that this can at least be a teaching moment. Men and women who think it’s normal and harmless will hopefully come to see that it’s not.

      • I have struggled with?. I thought I pointed out my point clearly. Your answer confuses me. I thought my post showed that out of it all, my post is saying trump is sexist and even though others are that way, it does NOT negate the criticism on trump which he deserves. My point was how offensive it also is to men when others and like I dsaidf the lady I work with feels men talk like this in lockerroms. To say that and people say that is demeaning to men, because it makes it like men are non thinking animals who don’t have morals or can’t think for themselves. LikI said I don’t care as in I don’t care for how some people have put men in a group together like we have this lockerroom talk and think we can do what we want to women. That’s BS. It’s like the same thing as how people victim blame women too. It’s sexist on women for blaming what they wear for the action and it;s sexist on men in the sense that men can’t control themselves. That’s my point to all this. I had some typos that might have confused the point.

        I’m saying how men don’t talk like that. We can talk about women’s bodies but none that I recall or non creeps, they don’t think they can touch women against their will. Trump feels he can so it’s insulting when people think it’s “lockerroom talk”. It’s not lockerroom talk, maybe from the guys like trump but not the many decent guys. And I was saying how unfortunately this isn’t only his mindset and others guys in high positions who share that like ceos and kesha example and powerful people. This is the problem, because it’s a dangerous mindset. That can lead to men to do bad things. That same entitlement that caused elliot rodgers to shoot up students or guys assualt women or rape them. So his comments are NOT harmless. Many people realize it is, but others need to not think it’s just “lockerroom”, because it’s not. To think so is sexist to women AND men for the reasons I explained. To see it that way means to have a low standard of men, which is bad. I’m confused what made you think I’ve struggled with? There have been frustrations I have had, but I never had issues with women or thought anything like trump and like creeps would. I do respect women, though I can have selfish jerk moments. But this stuff is not right.It’s amazing how people I know who are decent people and otherwise, not bigots, but defend or shrug off his words or don’t think he’s sexist.

  16. All talk…. yes but a man in his position should know better what to say!

    • Sure should.

      And of course, it’s not clear that it’s all talk anyway, or that all-talk doesn’t often lead to something worse. At the least, a demeaning attitude towards women and subsequent lower self-esteem among girls and women.

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