News & Politics

Trump’s Outrageous Attack on the Female Body Really Reveals a Widespread Contempt for Women in American Culture

But why stop with women’s bodies? Let’s look at fundamental discrimination against women across society.

Photo Credit: Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock

In a Quinnipiac poll conducted between December 16-20, half of those surveyed said they would be embarrassed to have Donald Trump as their president. That means the other half did not indicate embarrassment as their reaction to a Trump presidency. Some 44 percent of Republicans, a plurality, said they would be “proud” to have Trump as the leader of the free world.

If past responses to Trump’s expressions of hostility to anyone who is not a white, able-bodied man are predictive, there are likely more Republicans today who are proud of their frontrunner.

The Quinnipiac survey was taken before Trump said, on Tuesday night, that Hillary Clinton lost Saturday’s Democratic debate because she was “schlonged” by her male opponents, having been delayed during the bathroom break allowed the candidates during commercials. (Two points are critical to understanding this assertion: “Schlong” is Yiddish for the male appendage; the women’s room was a much longer walk from the podium than was the men’s room.)

And he didn’t leave it there. “I know where she went,” he said. “It’s disgusting, I don’t want to talk about it.” Got it. A woman using the toilet is “disgusting”; a man whizzing in a urinal is not.

However outrageous Trump’s attack on the fundamental dignity of the female body may seem, it’s actually an expression of the widespread contempt for women and their bodies that exists throughout American culture.

Over the course of the past year, according to The New York Times editorial board, “state legislators passed 57 new constraints on a woman’s right to choose.” Since 2011—the year in which the Tea Party took over state legislatures and the U.S. House of Representatives, some 288 laws have been enacted to limit the constitutionally protected right to an abortion. (One such law, the Texas statute that requires abortion clinics to implement medically unnecessary changes to their facilities, is being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court next month.)

In an email blast, the editors of LifeNews.com bray that 2015 saw the closure of 53 abortion clinics.

But America’s contempt for women is not expressed solely through its meddling in women’s gynecological decisions. Oh, no. Look at domestic violence.

Among murders of women under the age of 50, some 40 percent are killed by their past or current intimate partners. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, a woman dies at the hands of her partner every three days in the U.S. And yet Republican lawmakers have been notoriously reluctant to support the Violence Against Women Act, with 138 voting against its renewal in 2013.

But don’t stop with women’s bodies: Let’s look at fundamental discrimination against women, or workplace rules that make it more difficult for them to move up the income ladder.

Pay equity legislation remains a quixotic notion. And the U.S. remains the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not mandate employers to provide paid family leave. (And we know who still takes care of the most of that family business, right?)

Making the situation all the more maddening are the numbers of women who have signed on to this misogynist agenda—women so afraid of a change in the structure of society that they have no compassion for their sisters. The demographics of the Republican right, as I’ve said before, can be summed up like this: Angry white men and the women who love them.

You might say they’ve been schlonged.

Adele M. Stan is a weekly columnist for The American Prospect. Follow her on Twitter @addiestan.

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