Really, I’m sorry. I’m sure you’re tired of reading and hearing about this, everyone who’s anyone or no one has already blogged, posted, written this article or that essay. I want to let this go, want to roll my eyes at the stupidity of people and snicker about those on the Right getting the candidate they deserve. I can’t do it. I can’t let it go, and I don’t believe anyone deserves someone who brags about sexual assault as their President. Not even those who want him. Maybe especially not them, because in the year 2016, there shouldn’t be one woman in the world who believes sexual assault against women is a man’s right. Not one woman.
I can be uptight in many ways, but language isn’t one of them. I straight out tell people not to bother checking out Mrs Fringe if they’re offended by the word fuck. I tell them because I acknowledge that some people are offended by certain words, and if you are, you aren’t going to be happy here. I love language, and I love words, all of them. Words are powerful, written or spoken they can outlast a good deed, a box of candy, they can remain and ring through your brain and guts longer than any slap upside your head. A couple of years ago there was a hashtag that went around twitter, #yesallwomen in response to #notallmen, I blogged about it here.
And here we are again. Only I’m seeing “not all men,” “not my men,” “not my sons,” etc, in response to comments and posts supporting Trump, saying that horrific tape of him speaking about women, with charming highlights like, “I moved on her like a bitch,…she was married…you can do anything,” and of course, “Grab them by the pussy.” I literally feel sick to my stomach with every comment and post I see in support of him and his words. Here’s the thing, most of those posts and many of those comments are from women. Women. Protesting that all men speak that way, no big deal, it’s only words. No, these aren’t only words. And no, I haven’t suddenly become a delicate fucking flower, offended by the word pussy, in need of men to stand up for me and remind everyone that when Trump was speaking, he was speaking about someone’s wife, mother, daughter. I saw a meme floating around to the effect of “If Trump’s words are so offensive to women, who bought a gazillion copies of Fifty Shades of Gray?” Sigh. If this makes sense to you, look up logical fallacy.
These language used is not colorful, against the rules of the FCC, or naughty. They are words describing assault, making it clear that he sees nothing wrong with literally aggressively touching and grabbing another human being whether they want to be touched or not. A likely smaller person, not as strong physically, and likely someone he’s in a position of power over.
I don’t want to hear about responses that begin “But Hillary,” or “Well Bill.” This has absolutely nothing to do with Hillary Clinton, and she is not responsible for what Bill Clinton chose to do.
When I was 16 I worked as a cocktail waitress. Think about that for a second. 16, working as a cocktail waitress. Standards, not that high. I remember one busy night, I had just begun serving wine to a large table, no room to maneuver with another table right behind me when one of the men reached back and, well, grabbed me by the pussy. In the moment, with his wife sitting right next to him, I was stunned. He said (exact quote, because WORDS), “Sorry sweetie, I touched your box.” And he smiled. A fucking fifty year old man, who turned his back to his wife and didn’t move his hand. At this point in my life, I had already learned there were situations where I could be out numbered and overpowered but this wasn’t one of them. I lifted the still full carafe of wine I was holding and poured it on him, “Sorry, sweetie, did I pour that on your dick?”
The manager came flying across the restaurant and hustled me into the kitchen before going back to the table, apologizing profusely and comping their wine and their meal. I didn’t lose my job, I had been working there long enough and the manager knew me well enough to know I wasn’t kidding, imagining, or exaggerating what had happened. If you’re thinking what a good guy the manager was, stop. This is the same man who, when I asked for a specific day off from work a few months later, told me he’d be willing to give it if I “popped his son’s cherry.” In retrospect, I’m sure the whole underaged thing played into the decision to keep me, too, not a scenario where he would want attention. It didn’t occur to me that by comping this man’s meal, he was rewarding him for being a pig, I was just grateful not to be fired. I’ll be honest, at that time, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to make a “bigger deal” of what happened. Sure I knew I didn’t want his hands on me, and I sure as shit could tell him to get his fucking hands off of me, but I’m not sure I knew I had the right to do so, and I had no idea that this was something that could be considered assault. If someone had floated the word to me at that time, in 1980something south Brooklyn, I would have either laughed or taken off, certain that I would be the one in trouble. Why? I don’t know, something about not having dangly bits and being the kind of girl who worked as a cocktail waitress.
I’m not sixteen anymore, and I know better. I know better, my husband and I have both taught our sons better, we’ve taught our daughter better. That doesn’t make us anything more than decent human beings, who’ve tried to raise decent human beings. Don’t you dare, anyone, tell me or anyone else, that Trump’s words are no big deal. I’m not offended. I’m sickened that anyone, male or female, is telling our children that assault of women is okay. I’m disgusted that there are women who are just fine with this type of behavior for themselves, their children, their loved ones, for the hussy down the street they’ve hated since the third grade. I’m saddened that people are perpetuating the myth that women are less than men, because that’s what you’re saying when you condone this message. I’m angry, because get your hands off my body! This isn’t about not-all-men speak this way, or think this way. This is about no woman should accept this as a fact of life, ever, and it is unacceptable for any man. Not if he’s older or younger, rich or poor, famous and powerful or a shlub toiling away in obscurity. #Notoneman.