13. He flaunts his disrespect for women
Like many acutely misogynistic men, DT is obsessed with women’s appearance. He obviously considers that they’re there for him to look at, and he doesn’t hesitate to call them how he sees them. “Look at that piece of ass,” he remarked to Michael Cohen once upon a time, not realizing he was looking at his attorney’s young daughter. Sadly, that sort of statement is hardly a rarity in the world, but most men who say it, when informed of their mistake, would be embarrassed and quickly apologize or risk getting punched. Not DT, whose next words to the girl’s father were: “When did she get so hot?”
Cohen didn’t punch him. At that point, he was DT’s chief enforcer, his go-to guy for strong-arm legal tactics that all too often crossed the line into unethical and illegal territory. Unlike many who worked for DT, he was paid well for his efforts. Later, in the presence of the lawyer’s daughter, DT told Cohen that “there is no way that she got her looks from you. Thank God you married a beautiful woman.” DT went on to be elected president. Cohen went on to prison, but not without renouncing his evil ways and laying bare the misdeeds of his elderly horndog client. The daughter was lucky: DT didn’t assault her. To date, 24 women have publicly accused the president of sexual assaults ranging from groping to forced kissing to rape.
Women he perceives as threats don’t receive such “compliments” from the president. Instead, they’re told they are unattractive. There are many examples of this because DT perceives many women as threats. They’re threatening to him if they criticize his administration, ask him pointed questions, fail to act obsequious enough. Woman journalists are a frequent target of his insults—to hear him tell it, practically all of them are “nasty”—but no one is exempt. According to DT, Rosie O’Donnell is a “big fat pig” with a “fat, ugly face.” Arianna Huffington is “unattractive.” Bette Midler has an “ugly face and body.” Cher’s “massive plastic surgeries…didn’t work.” Senator Kamala Harris, who as a woman of color running against his running mate represents a triple threat to him, is a nothing short of a “monster.”
Misogyny takes various forms, some more blatant than others. The world has its genteel misogynists who consider women inferior but would never consider insulting, let alone assaulting, them. Most modern-day U.S. presidents have probably fit that profile. Then there’s the 45th president, who dispenses not only with gentility but also common courtesy. Most people who hold deeply prejudiced views make some effort to conceal them. This comes from an awareness that putting such views on display would be socially unacceptable and cause unnecessary friction with others. DT isn’t like most people: he wears his prejudices on his sleeve. He has quite a few prejudices, but none is as flagrant as his bias against women. He must really hate them.
Calling all voters
Presidents lead by example. As DT has emboldened racists and authoritarian thugs, so he has emboldened sexists. His example has made the country—and the world—a less safe place for women and girls. There is some evidence that his support among white women voters, a majority of whom helped nudge him to his narrow victory 2016, is slipping. Let us hope that is so. Let us also hope that male voters, either out of a sincere desire for women’s equality or at least from an uneasiness about the safety of their own wives, daughters, and female friends, follow suit.
By almost all accounts, DT’s bid for reelection is not going well, but we cannot afford to be complacent. For over a year, I’ve been saying that the way to defeat him is to turn out the vote, and the way to be stuck with four more years of rapidly failing democracy is to fail to act as if every voter counts, especially in the battleground states. So let’s hold hope in our hearts but act as if Joe Biden is in big trouble. Vote, remind other reasonable voters to vote, and volunteer to help if we can. Electing Joe, and ending this nightmare of brazen misogyny in the White House, is possible if we try hard enough.