After a tape of Donald Trump making offensive comments about women leaked last Friday, his campaign website released a statement claiming he was merely engaging in "locker room banter." He continued to call his comments "locker room talk" during the second presidential debate — but Twitter isn't buying this excuse. People are using the "Locker Room Talk In 5 Words" Twitter hashtag to point out why locker room talk as Trump defines it is not OK, no matter what you call it.
In case you haven't heard, the video was of Trump talking to Access Hollywood 's Billy Bush. "You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything," he says. "Grab them by the p*ssy. You can do anything."
"This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago," the statement on Trump's website reads. But if this is indeed "locker room" talk, that reflects poorly on locker rooms, not positively on Trump. As Anderson Cooper pinpointed at the start of Sunday's debate, what Trump was describing — kissing someone or touching their genitals without their permission — is sexual assault. The fact that some men do speak this way in locker rooms and other places where women aren't around just shows how pervasive rape culture is.
Some of the tweets using the hashtag point this out, while others use humor to explain why this kind of speech is never acceptable. Here are a few that make important points.
What Trump Describes Is Sexual Assault
Grabbing someone's genitals without their consent is sexual assault, full stop, and should not be minimized with phrases like "locker room talk."
Calling It "Locker Room Banter" Doesn't Change That
Unfortunately, phrases like "locker room talk" and "boys will be boys" are used to excuse sexual assault all the time. None of these phrases actually do excuse sexual assault, though. They just reveal how normalized assault is in our culture.
If Locker Room Talk Were An OK Thing, It Would Sound More Like This
There's really nothing else that should be specific to a locker room. If men only feel they can say something when there are no women around, they shouldn't be saying it at all.
Or, Even Better, Like This
That would mean men were using their privilege to teach other men to respect women.
The bottom line is that no matter where this kind of "talk" is happening, it's never OK. Putting them in a locker room doesn't make them any less horrific — because it is all far, far more than just words.