Trump’s words struck a particular nerve

Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” has triggered another one of those social media floods, the Times reports.

It was the author Kelly Oxford, a social media powerhouse, who got things started on Friday night.

“Women: tweet me your first assaults,” she wrote on Twitter at 7:48 p.m. “They aren’t just stats. I’ll go first: Old man on city bus grabs my ‘pussy’ and smiles at me, I’m 12.”

When she first posted the message, Ms. Oxford said in an interview later, she did not expect more than a handful of replies. “It was such a personal question,” she said. “I thought, ‘No one is going to share anything on Twitter.’”

Yet by Saturday morning, she was getting as many as 50 responses per minute: often-explicit, first-person accounts of molestation. A hashtag had materialized: “#notokay.” The Twitter posts continued to pour in through the weekend. And by Monday afternoon, nearly 27 million people had responded or visited Ms. Oxford’s Twitter page.

There’s probably not a woman on the planet who hasn’t experienced it, multiple times.

Facebook pages and Twitter feeds filled with comments and multiplying threads from women who recalled being groped by doctors, by piano teachers, by photography instructors, by perfect strangers. They told stories of being flashed on the bus by masturbators, of having male colleagues rub up against them at the copy machine in their office, of dates and bosses demanding sex.

It’s a wonder more women aren’t put off sex for life. In fact…it occurs to me that this ubiquity makes it very strange – stranger than I already thought it – that libertarian feminists like to call radical feminists “sex negative.” Why wouldn’t many women be “sex negative” given this background? Why isn’t that a perfectly understandable and legitimate (however sad) response to an experience of repeated sexual assaults? It’s good that most women don’t hate sex, but it’s pretty generous of them not to.

[T]o many victims of sexual assault, Mr. Trump’s words struck a particular nerve. It was not simply that he is the Republican presidential nominee, and that a hot microphone had captured him speaking unguardedly. It was his casual tone, the manner in which he and the television personality Billy Bush appeared to be speaking a common language, many women said, that gave Mr. Trump’s boasts a special resonance.

What he said and how he said it seemed to say as much about the broader environment toward women — an environment that had kept many of these women silent for so long — as they did about the candidate. And Mr. Trump’s dismissal of his actions as “locker room talk” only underscored the point.

Exactly. Trump said what he said so confidently, and Billy Bush played up so obligingly – it’s all too obvious that it’s just normal.

“This is RAPE CULTURE — the cultural conditioning of men and boys to feel entitled to treat women as objects,” Jill Gallenstein, 40, a retail executive in Los Angeles, wrote on Facebook. “It’s women and girls questioning what they have done to provoke such behavior. It’s the dismissing of this behavior because ‘it’s the way it has always been.’ It’s justifying the behavior because other powerful men have done it too. ‘Locker room talk’ normalizes this behavior — what we say matters.”

The “locker room talk” is the cultural conditioning of men and boys to feel entitled to treat women as objects. As Deborah Cameron explained, they bond with each other by exchanging these tokens of entitlement and contempt.

Even before the release of the 2005 recording of Mr. Trump, 2016 was shaping up as something of a watershed year for awareness of sexual harassment, between the pending trial against Bill Cosby and the high-profile case of Brock Turner, the former Stanford University student who was convicted of sexual assault.

For many women watching and reacting to the weekend’s events, the surprise news conference on Facebook Live that Mr. Trump staged before Sunday night’s debate, with three women who have long accused Mr. Clinton of sexual assault or harassment, only compounded the damage he had done in the original recording. They saw him not as giving voice to victims of sexual abuse but as using the women as props.

Props in his project of bullying and degrading a woman who dares to compete with him.

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