On Trump, Groping, 50 Shades, and Locker Room Banter

In which I ask a lot of questions that I don’t have the answers for. So if you can answer any of them, please do. Because I’m completely at a loss here.

Donald Trump said he couldn’t resist kissing women. Forget asking for consent, he’s just going to kiss them. And grab them by their pussies. And women everywhere were outraged. Go to Twitter and check out #notokay or #notok started by Kelly Oxford to see just how outraged they are.

And then someone decided that a meme saying “If American Women are so outraged at Trump’s use of naughty words, who in the hell bought 80 Million copies of 50 Shades of Grey?”

  1. We’re not upset he used the word pussy. We’re upset that a man who is possibly going to be running one of the most powerful countries in the world admits that he likes to grope and assault women and implies that because he’s rich, he can get away with it.
  2. I didn’t buy 50 Shades, I’ve never read it. I have read reviews and commentaries on it. I don’t like the way EL James portrays the BDSM community. HOWEVER, 50 Shades is supposed to be about bondage and BDSM – which is about consent and trust. There is a HUGE difference between BDSM and rape, there is a HUGE difference between bondage between a couple in a committed relationships and being assaulted by a stranger.
  3. Women weren’t the only ones buying or reading 50 Shades and I know many of the people who bought it, bought it to laugh at the writing quality or so they could write intelligent commentaries on the errors in it.
  4. This meme is totally dismissive. By using “naughty” instead of “vulgar” or “offensive” it makes it sound childish. Dogs are naughty when they chew your shoe. Children are naughty when they colour on your shopping list. Couples engage in naughty behaviour with smiles and winks. This was not “naughty” this was wrong. This was vulgar. This was offensive.


And it boils down to this. ^


When a woman wears a bikini to the beach she is giving her consent to be looked at. She wants to be seen. When you walk in on a woman changing and she dives for cover it’s because she has not consented to being looked at in that state of undress and does not want to be seen that way. Which outfit covers more skin doesn’t matter at all. What matters is whether she wants to be seen like that or not.

In bondage and BDSM there is consent, there is trust, there is communication.

In Trump’s comment there is no consent, there is no communication, and there is no trust.

That’s the difference. That’s why we’re pissed off. Because in a healthy sexual relationship between two consenting adults you can get away with grabbing each other in sexual explicit places and ways. When you’re on the bus, surrounded by strangers, you expect those strangers to keep their hands to themselves.

Trump is saying that men don’t have to keep their hands to themselves. If she’s beautiful, you don’t have to control yourself. If you’re rich, or famous, or middle-aged and white, or male, you can get away with it.

Remember the men who kept running up behind female reporters and grabbing their microphones and yelling “FHRITP”? They claimed it was a joke too. It was a joke to interrupt a woman while she was working, to invade her personal space, to make unwanted physical contact with her, and to scream something vulgar.

I want to present you with a hypothetical situation and ask you two questions.

Situation: A male reporter, well known and respected in the field of journalism, is reporting on a sensitive, emotional, and important story. Out of no where a flamboyantly dressed man runs up, grabs the microphone, and yells “Fuck him right in the ass!” He laughs and disappears in to the crowd.

Question: What do you think the backlash over that situation would be?

Question: Why is it a joke when men say it to women but it is not a joke when the tables are turned and the victim is a straight male?

I can imagine a few answers to question 1. I have no answer for question 2. If you do, please comment.

So. It’s a joke. It’s locker room banter. It’s boys being boys. So far I’m probably coming across as a strong-armed feminist, right? So this might surprise you. I approve of locker room banter.

My husband works in a shop. His workmates are mostly men. He has come home and related to me some of the jokes that are said in the lunch room and locker room. These jokes are often racist, bigoted, homophobic, and sexist. And they’re funny. And no one means it.

There are two big black guys, brothers, working in the shop. There’s a running joke about watermelon, fried chicken, and grape pop. And these two are as often the ones making the racist jokes as they are at the butt end of them. They drop into deep south black accents. They laugh about it. And everyone in that shop will stop short at the first sign that someone is crossing the line between friendly banter and racism. They call people out for crossing the line.

They banter about the pin up girl in the paper. I’m sure they make lewd comments about her. I’ve heard some of it. It makes me blush. Some of it gets pretty raunchy. And it’s just guys goofing around.

Because I went with my husband to the target range at the pits with one of the guys from work. The guy that was joking at family day at the shops that he’d like to take the princesses to a private room for “pictures”. He’s a nice guy. He’s married. His kids are about the same age as mine. He was armed with a rifle. And I felt safe. He wasn’t going to hurt me. And the only reason he was making sexual jokes that day was because I made one first. And it was a raunchy one.

We all need to be able to blow off a little steam, to say politically incorrect, socially inappropriate things from time to time. I understand that. It’s the difference between friendly banter and bullying. It’s the difference between locker room banter and verbal abuse. I understand that difference.

So if Trump was in a private situation, with close friends, and they were having a beer and joking around, and Trump made a comment about the pin-up girl in the paper and wanting to kiss her and grab her by the pussy, that would be locker room banter. But if he says this in any forum that is remotely public, around people who are not in on the joking, then it is inappropriate. It is no longer locker room boys’ talk. It is a public statement.

Question: If Hillary Clinton said she wanted to pinch a male intern’s ass, what would the backlash be?

Question: If Michelle Obama joked about not being able to take the men who work with her husband seriously unless they are under 40 years old and sexually appealing, what would the backlash be?

Question: If Hillary said to a male reporter, male politician, male anyone “I can’t take you seriously, you’re so ugly.”, what would the backlash be?

I can imagine that the backlash would be huge, from men and women both.


Question: Why were you so afraid of men pretending to be transgender and groping girls in bathrooms?

Question: Do you know that more women are groped on subways and buses that in bathrooms?

Question: Why is it okay for Trump to “advocate” the exact behaviour you were protesting?

Question: If American men are okay with Trump’s use of naughty words, and all they imply, who in the hell was protesting transgender rights this summer?

Question: Are you starting to see the pattern here? Do you see the double standards yet?

I don’t have any answers. Do you? I’d like to hear them.




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