By Grace Wydeven
For the last week or so, mainstream media, along with the rest of the country, has been reeling over “Trump’s Lewd Comments.” These “comments,” to which the media has reduced the controversial video of GOP candidate Donald Trump and Today Show host Billy Bush, have been condemned, supported and everything in between. Since the leak of the video, multiple women have come out accusing Mr. Trump of sexual assault, and the Today Show has fired Billy Bush. The revelation of the video has come as a shock to few and a reminder to many, that both then and now, Mr. Trump and his buddies lack basic respect for women.
The entire dialogue (admittedly shaped by the media) has revolved around the orange man himself—his comments, his tweets, his defenses, his accusers, his, his, his, his, HIS. I have yet to see an article about the woman at whom his comments were directed. That woman, whose name is Arianne Zucker, has spoken out and sat for an interview with Anderson Cooper, yet her story has been almost completely silenced because of the obsession with Mr. Trump himself.
In this narrative, Zucker’s thoughts, opinions, anger, dignity, and even her own body are not really hers. They are Donald Trump’s to mock, degrade, devalue, and demean. Her story and her opinions are deemed not only unimportant, but also wholly irrelevant, because the derogatory comments about her body are tossed aside as merely locker room talk and as just one part of an ongoing political conversation revolving around Mr. Trump. He, unlike the woman he speaks so freely and crudely about, has ownership over his comments, and moreover has a voice and a platform to defend them, too. He is defined by, owned by, and offended by no one. It’s Donald’s media circus, and we’re just living in it.
The most tragic and unfortunate aspect of this entire fiasco is not that Donald himself has little to no respect for women as anything other than sexual objects for his own pleasure. Nor is it that Billy Bush encouraged his sexist, sexualizing, dehumanizing rant. No, the tragedy does not even lie in the lack of coverage, discussion, or support of Arianne Zucker. The true tragedy is a much larger issue. The tragedy is that this incident, its context, coverage, and aftermath are by no means an isolated one. The tragedy is that our society has a systematic, deeply rooted disrespect for a woman’s right to the same self-autonomy we allow men to claim.
The tragedy is that this incident does not highlight the comments, context, or mindset of just one man, nor the objectification, harassment, or silencing of just one woman. The tragedy is that this incident is a microcosm of a society-wide problem with sexism, in which women are not valued as human beings but instead as objects to be enjoyed, exploited, shamed, and degraded. Women are women, not simply people.
These “comments” and this “incident” are not merely cause for alarm or concern because of the presidential election. We have only begun to address issues of sexual harassment and assault. We allow the media to shape our perception of these issues. Most importantly, the women who deal with this abuse are still often cut out of their own stories.
Mr. Trump’s comments should concern you not because he has a wife or children, and not even because he is the Republican nominee; his comments should concern you because they hint at a much more complex, widespread, systemic issue of sexism, degradation and abuse towards women in our society today. Though we should not be inspired to stoop as low as Mr. Trump, we can make our voices heard in November and take a stand against one of the many issues plaguing our society and the women within it.
Source: http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/10/14/donald-trump- arianne-zucker-cooper- tsr-sot.cnn