Michelle Obama Just Skewered Donald Trump's Version Of Masculinity
While campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Manchester, New Hampshire, Michelle Obama gave a speech criticizing Donald Trump, more specifically the sexually aggressive language he used in the recently leaked tape from a 2005 Access Hollywood interview, in which Trump boasted about kissing and groping women without consent. While Trump defended his conversation as "locker room talk," Obama's speech made it clear that she thinks his excuse is not only demeaning to women, but demeaning to men as well.
While speaking about the dangerous ways Trump talks about women, Obama made it explicitly clear that she doesn't consider his statements regular locker room talk, but full on bragging about sexual assault:
This is not something we can ignore. It's not something we can sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season. Because this was not just a lewd conversation. This wasn't locker room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predator behavior.
She then went on to continue her speech by speaking about the ways in which Trump's comments are hurtful toward women, particularly given how common gendered workplace harassment and surviving sexual assault and harassment is for women of all ages. Beyond the obvious disrespect Trump's statements hold towards women, Obama took care to express that Trump's vision of masculinity is also disrespectful to men, and a dangerous example for boys.
Citing both her own family and families close to her as examples, Obama expressed how insulting to men and boys it is for Trump to claim his comments are normal:
How is this affecting men and boys in this country? Because I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this. I know my family is not unusual. To dismiss this every day locker room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere. The men that you and I know don't treat women this way. They are loving fathers sickened by the thought of their daughters being exposed to this kind of language about women. They are us fathers and brothers and sons who don't tolerate women being treated and demeaned. Like us, the men are worried about the impact this election is looking for boys, role models for what it means to be a man.
Unsurprisingly, Obama's speech was immediately well-received on Twitter by men and women alike, men who were likely relieved to not be lumped in with Trump, and women who felt relief at the validation of their experiences.
In one fell swoop, Obama not only knocked down Trump but the false, boorish, even dangerous vision of masculinity he projects and promotes. Way to go, Mobama.