So, I realize that I wrote an intro to this blog and then disappeared for about two weeks, which sort of defeats the purpose of relevant culture commentary. Blame it on finals and what feels like never ending testing in this program! A lot has happened in the past couple weeks – Trump’s ceaseless and creepy sexist, racist attacks (but he is “totally cool with minorities“) and generally baseless raving about people who are understood by….everyone…to be smarter than him (“but all of these people have less money than me!”). (Seriously, I would rather be in conversation with pretty much any of the people at whom he’s heaving irrelevant insults. Even Palin. Trump is looking as orange as Boehner these days – yum – and I don’t think I can look at that for too long.)
This collection of posts are a few months dated, and since then of course he has been roasted by Seth Meyers and Obama, his birtherism has been (somewhat) silenced by Obama’s long form being released, and he has (finally) slipped in the polls as a Republican candidate from his terrifying top perch in March. But to me, the above examples – and each subsequent story and tidbit they reference as well – paint a very disturbing picture of what Americans consider to be quality leadership or desirable characteristics of a potential POTUS. Not only that, but I’m pretty amazed that the coverage of these issues haven’t been given more attention. He has no relevant foreign policy experience, no political leadership, a record of slinging crass and degrading insults, and multiple bankruptcies which somehow became considered smart business moves. Really — we would elect a guy who noted that his daughter had a “great body” and would date her if he were not her father? Not only does that creep me out, but it’s pretty sad that the thing he chooses to publicize about his educated and actually respected businesswoman daughter — who seems to be making more of a deserved name for herself than Donald Jr., who merely regurgitates his father’s wildly inappropriate remarks with no discernibly thoughtful or relevant comments of his own (let’s keep talking about Star Jones’ weight) — is her “great body.”
What I found particularly interesting about the incident of Trump making the Miss USA participants parade in front of him and separating those who he found attractive from those he does not – is that these women, these Miss USA contestants (who take pains to look as blandly and generically attractive as possible), are so heartbroken at the thought of being considered unattractive by….Donald Trump. By this guy. I mean, what? This is the person who is now the judge of all that is attractive and sexy? These women have been so socially conditioned to appeal to power and money that they are judging their self-worth based on this guy’s ten second visual appraisal of whether or not he’d bed them. Again, this guy. Has Trump ever said anything about women that leads us to believe he has an appreciation of their intellect, their political savvy, their innovation, their opinions? I consider myself lucky to have had the family and education that would make me laugh that ridiculous routine off (assuming I ever entered a Miss USA pageant) – but other women aren’t so lucky, and other women do experience the panic and anxiety, as Ms. Holmes’ article pointed out, of having what they see as their only relevant virtue – their looks – tossed aside glibly by the man who represents the very power, wealth, and status they have also been conditioned to see as the preeminent signs of leadership and worthiness.
Trump doesn’t trust women to make their own decisions about their bodies (“what does privacy have to do with anything?”), he thinks they’re crazy for wanting to address terms that are diminishing to their abilities (“what? I’m sure you’ve been called worse”), and he always, always, always comes back to asserting that a woman’s most important role is one of decoration and service. Rosie is a “disgusting, big, fat pig,” and “an animal,” and a business savvy woman on The Apprentice was dismissed while being told she’d make “a really good wife.” Most notably, we cannot forget his shocking verbalization of why he is so embraced by so many Americans: “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” We sadly have proved him right.