A power structure on which he knowingly capitalizes

James Hamblin at the Atlantic points out that “graphic” sex talk is a good thing. That’s not what Trump was doing.

The thing about the Republican’s words isn’t that they’re explicit or graphic. It’s that they’re misogynistic, coercive, abusive, and dehumanizing. And as my colleague David Graham notes, illegal: The candidate is describing forcing himself on women, bragging that they’re disinclined to object because of a power structure on which he knowingly capitalizes.

Framing this as lewd, even extremely so, is a reminder of the frequent reluctance to name sexual assault. Explicit conversations are a different thing, a part of life central to mature sexuality.

Precisely. Mutual (in other words consensual) sex talk is a very different thing from what Trump was doing. He was talking about women the way he would talk about a hamburger if he hadn’t eaten in hours. Mutuality had nothing to do with it. The woman is a thing, with legs that make him shout “Whoa! Whoa!” and a mouth he’ll just start kissing and a pussy he can grab. He’s the one who grabs, and she’s the thing who is grabbed.

Like Trump, ever more Americans seem to feel that masculinity (as they understand it, narrowly defined) is threatened. It’s threatened specifically by “PC culture,” often used as a sweeping indictment of any attempt at decency. My colleague Molly Ball spoke to some of these men recently at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania, men with chin-strap beards and novelty t-shirts calling Hillary Clinton a bitch because “it’s funny.”

Some guy on Facebook yesterday posted about Trump’s rapey blurts, but he prefaced what he said with “Sorry, ladies, but this is how men talk.” No it isn’t. It’s how a lot of men talk, but it’s not how men in general talk. We don’t have to normalize it and we certainly don’t have to put up with it.

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