I’ve been meaning to tell you what pigs men can be, Vera. But the opportunity hadn’t come up. It came up yesterday.
Until then, my focus may have been on restroom habits. It’s where one often encounters the piggishness of men. Seeing men exit public restrooms without washing their hands is a common occurrence. So my first warning to you was going to be this: don’t shake hands with men (unless you know them to be of a higher hygiene caliber).
But Donald Trump, the GOP nominee for the presidency of the United States (leader of the free world), reminded me yesterday that the piggishness of men was a deeper issue than restroom hygiene.
Yesterday, the campaign of one of our presidential candidates, Donald Trump, imploded when a tape came out of Mr. Trump bragging, in extremely lewd and offensive terms, about being able to get away with sexual assault on women because of his celebrity status.
One of his defenses to admitting conduct that could get non-celebrity perpetrators arrested was that boys will be boys, and that’s how they talk. I can’t know. Perhaps in his world they do. In mine, they don’t.
The reaction of people to this statement is interesting yet hardly surprising. Mormon politicians took the high ground. They expressed outrage and withdrew their support. Apparently the Mormons actually believe what they say about morality. Not surprisingly, their expressions of outrage were not matched by many non-Mormon “Christian” evangelicals. It’s not surprisingly because it’s been apparent all along that their support for a certain political agenda had nothing to do with any actual belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But I digress. Back to Mr. Trump’s words.
They reveal, if nothing else, the degree to which men can be pigs.
Men like Mr. Trump objectify women. They don’t respect women. They abuse them in a myriad of overt and subtle ways.
There have always been such men, and I suspect there always will be. As a man, I’m probably not the best person to warn you about such people. Talk to other women, many of whom have been victimized and abused by misogynists and others who prey on what these men consider to be the “weaker sex.”
Of course, I hope you’re never victimized. I hope you’re never treated badly by men. But I know it’s a risk. A real one.
I don’t know why some people have the urge to assault and abuse other people. And I don’t know why some people feel the urge to brag about it. Yet Mr. Trump’s words are a reminder that it happens. They are a reminder that men can indeed be pigs. And worse.
Fortunately, Vera, not all are. The apologists for Mr. Trump who claim there was nothing unusual or particularly bad about his words or actions are way off base. I don’t know how usual or unusual the words or actions are, but I know they are not common to all.
There are men out there who aren’t pigs; indeed, there are men out there who honor and respect all people, regardless of gender. You’re fortunate to have one of the best as your dad.
Relish in your good fortune. And if, someday, you choose to spend your life with a man, you will know what goodness and honor look like. You will know that wealth and celebrity status are not proxies for goodness.
I so hope you’ll be strong enough, and lucky enough, not to be lured into a bad situation by some man’s power, wealth or popularity. And I so hope you’ll never see, first hand, just what pigs men can be.