The debate that told us all about about sexism. In case we weren’t sure.

11 Oct

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It’s difficult to imagine a man finding himself in the same position as did Hillary Clinton in the second debate yesterday.

When did you last hear of a man being held responsible for his wife’s alleged sexual crimes?

When did you last hear of a man centre stage in a political  forum, with his wife’s alleged sexual victims as invited audience members?

Aside from Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual crimes, and aside from Donald Trump’s lascivious objectification of women including his own daughter, yesterday’s debate in itself could not have more clearly enacted the sexism endemic in western culture.

When challenged about his attitudes to women Trump reacted by arguing that Bill Clinton is worse, and then went on to list all the things he believes are more important than sexually assaulting women, managing  to further demean us in that tacky investigation into the relativity of suffering.

What Trump unsurprisingly fails to appreciate (and many others male and female share his lack of perception) is that the objectification and sexual assault of women and girls originates in a collective mindset that is so accustomed to dehumanisation it can justify any destructive action against anyone, should it be judged necessary.  If you are part of a dominant group that treats some 50% of your country’s population as lesser beings because they have vaginas, it’s not going to be difficult for you to do the same to anyone else who threatens your fragile sense of who you are, such as people of religions and ethnicities that vary from your own.

Yes, I know Trump seems far from fragile in his sense of self, however, there’s a psychological theory of over-compensation for fears of inadequacy that might be applicable here.

There was a point in the debate when Trump appeared to stalk Clinton, moving in very close behind her as she answered a question, looming, as if to remind her of his hostile presence. It was nasty, almost as nasty as the video tape of Trump leaving his bus ten years ago to meet a young woman he’d only just finished crudely sexually assessing. He asked her for a hug. In those few seconds we saw sexism, intimidation and violation played out: the young woman couldn’t refuse Trump if she valued her career, and so obliged him in his effort to vindicate his boastful claims of sexual irresistibility. She did this in complete ignorance of the crass conversation about her that had just taken place.

If you’ve ever been groped that vision would have caused you to shudder.

I don’t think HRC did very well in the second debate. How much of this is down to Trump’s psychological tactic of ensuring women linked in the worst possible way with her and her husband were present, and his focus on both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s alleged treatment of them and other women, I don’t know. I’m inclined to think quite a bit, as there is simply no other area in which Trump can outdo HRC. It seems she’s got the presidency in the bag, unless something inconceivably catastrophic occurs.

A woman who stands by her philandering man isn’t necessarily admired for that: some see it as more a demonstration of strength if she kicks the cheater out. Whatever your position on this, it’s a fraught topic for women. Hillary is entrapped in Bill’s mess, as women are so frequently trapped in the messes made by men in their lives. Trump is making the most of it, because at this point there’s really little else he can use to cause HRC public discomfort.

How interesting, then, that both candidates have to deal with sexual scandals. And what a comment on women’s place in the world that Trump’s scandals are his own, while HRC’s are those allegedly perpetrated by her husband.

Says it all, really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33 Responses to “The debate that told us all about about sexism. In case we weren’t sure.”

  1. diannaart October 11, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    The antics of men such as Donald Trump. Bill Clinton and many other men and women (who support them) in leadership and other influential roles, will continue to be a dominate aspect of sexual behaviour of our youth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. diannaart October 11, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    Jennifer

    Chances of my niece NOT being groped when out at a bar, nightclub, wherever… indeed, so it goes…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. doug quixote October 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    “. . . some see it as more a demonstration of strength if she kicks the cheater out.”

    Exactly how does one do that to the President of the United States in the White House?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson October 11, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

      I guess you wait till he isn’t in the White House anymore!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • doug quixote October 11, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

        Yes indeed! He’d better not stray once she’s the President!

        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson October 11, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

          That would be an interesting situation. President’s husband caught in extra marital affairs.
          What fun we’d all have with that.

          Like

  4. helvityni October 11, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    “He asked her for a hug. In those few seconds we saw sexism, intimidation and violation played out: the young woman couldn’t refuse Trump if she valued her career…”

    “Hillary is entrapped in Bill’s mess, as women are so frequently trapped in the messes made by men in their lives.”

    If I had to put up with Trump- like men kissing and fondling me , I’d be happy to leave the job, and look for another one…

    Also most (not all) women , who are unhappy with their womanising husbands/partners can leave the set-up.

    I don’t think women should always see themselves as victims; you made a mistake, wrong boss, wrong partner….move on, we are not powerless… Of course we ought to have enough safe houses, and plenty of support for the victims of domestic violence, the real victims.

    On the other hand if you are happy to put up with groping bosses and womanising partners(for whatever reasons), then by all means stay, but do not complain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson October 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

      I guess everyone has their own particular circumstances, Helvi. I wouldn’t put up with a Clinton or a Trump, but ‘m not a young woman wanting a career or an ambitious politician.
      I think you and I put a great deal of value on self-respect and being respected.

      Like

      • Anonymous October 12, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

        You never miss an opportunity to hold women who experience domestic violence &/or male perpertrated violence & are caught/trapped in that cycle in contempt. Who are you to decide who & who isn’t a “real victim”.? If someone has assaulted someone else, then a crime has been committed & there is a perpertrator & a victim.

        Like

        • Jennifer Wilson October 13, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

          Me, Someone?
          Not sure I know what you mean.

          Like

          • doug quixote October 14, 2016 at 9:57 am #

            Not you. As I read it, the anonymous one takes exception to Helvi’s post and its characterisation of “victims”.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson October 14, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

              BOB DYLAN GOT THE NOBEL!!!!!!!!
              I’m in a motel in Molong en route to Canberra & I haven’t got time to write a celebratory post but HE WON THE NOBEL DQ!!!!

              Liked by 1 person

          • Anonymous October 14, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

            sorry for the misunderstanding…it was in response to Helvi’s post which I misunderstood….

            Liked by 1 person

    • flrpwll October 11, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

      I heard an interesting take on that, the other day.
      The woman I’m thinking of refuses to leave her cheating partner.
      “I’ve put years of hard work into that ungrateful bastard. Stuck around while he got the business off the ground. Stayed during bankruptcy. Been the dutiful wife and entertained his business contacts. Let my own career take backseat to support his. Do you really think I’m going to leave now? What? So some young chicky can reap the rewards of my hard work? I don’t think so.”
      I’m not saying I agree with her, but it’s a different view. The couple in question are around the same ages as the Clintons, too. Maybe that has something to do with it.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Jennifer Wilson October 12, 2016 at 6:20 am #

        Aaaaargh, imagine the atmosphere in that household!
        I’d let the young chick have everything if it gave me a chance at my own happiness and freedom.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous October 14, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

      my apologies Helvi, I misunderstood your post. Nonetheless, I have found your attitudes to females who endure, survive & sometimes don’t survive male perpertrated violence to be less than compassionate.

      Like

  5. samjandwich October 11, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

    Good on you for watching the debate Jennifer. I couldn’t face it myself… and while my soul shrinks into something that looks like a teratoma when I hear this stuff, I’m still a bloke and not subjected to it on a daily basis. Ignoring it probably isn’t going to make it go away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson October 11, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

      I don’t think I’ll bother watching the next one, Sam.
      I’m kind of over the whole claptrap

      Liked by 1 person

  6. doug quixote October 11, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    Trump is in some kind of parallel universe. He looked in the mirror so often he fell through to a place where everything is reversed, like Alice on a bad hair day.

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson October 11, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

      I don’t think he’s going to win, DQ. And he’ll fade into obscurity, except his hair might stay behind

      Like

      • doug quixote October 11, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

        He will lose in a landslide.

        But watch for him to get even dirtier as defeat looms.

        Like

        • diannaart October 11, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

          I agree DQ.

          Trump may win a few battles before he loses the war.

          On straying partners…. adults are free to leave and free to stay… in an ideal world 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

      • Patagonian October 13, 2016 at 2:17 am #

        Yes, like cockroaches, Trump’s hair has the capacity to survive a nuclear holocaust.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. paul walter. October 11, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    A very Lear/Cordelia thing, I noticed Trump’s daughter studiously avoided giving the Donald a kiss going into the debate..someone is in the doghouse?

    I also read a healthy antidote of common sense from Helvi. Clinton’s philanderings and his relationship with his wife were imho always private matters made public by political opportunists and it is to them that questions of responsibility should have been be addressed. Finding women attractive a capital offence? Really? He has surely paid for the Great Crime, yet people to continue to obsess upon these events of twenty years ago.

    Would probably would not have even raised an eyebrow in a more sophisticated society rather than a place as puritanical as the USA.

    I have just watched some of an interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, arguably the most influential woman of this century and the slender final thread who has thusfar rescued fragile and tattered US democracy from the irrevocable crossing of a line to authoritarianism.

    Who had the guts, wisdom and forethought to appoint Justice Ginsburg?

    But of what concern is such trivia against the fact that Clinton had a dalliance or two with some of his secretaries..Such balance, such proportion, such an appreciation of human nature (shakes head).

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson October 11, 2016 at 9:12 pm #

      He’s actually been accused of rape, sexual harassment & exposing himself, PW. Finding women attractive isn’t the problem.

      Like

      • paul walter. October 12, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

        The most recent take, from the Guardian, from a woman.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/11/hillary-clinton-bill-accusers-jones-willey-broaddrick

        Any fair reading would consider her dismissal of the accusations against the Clintons as politically partisan (could be a $ in it, she suggests at one stage).

        So the Clintons are not “nice”people? So they are possibly soft-corrupt and in thrall to Wall St? Well, where is the alternative and are they not actually a symptom of a broken system?

        Who would not have preferred Sanders and Warren?

        But, I actually begin to suspect that any thing “left” of Hillary Clinton could bring about real violence in the land of gun militias and politically motivated smear campaigns will never work for me (unless one flops out to bring down a hard rightie rather than someone who appoint a genius to the US Supreme Court, as I previously mentioned.

        Like

        • doug quixote October 12, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

          Hillary is about as far left as Americans will accept. But we will always have to wonder how Bernie Sanders might have polled against Trump.

          Of course, the makeup of the Congress is crucial and the Tea Party tail that wags the dog that is the Republican Party would be fully capable of thwarting Bernie. Hillary is much better placed to negotiate with them.

          Her appointee to the Supreme Court will be interesting. The potential is there to tip the Court into a progressive majority (conservatives shudder and point a Cross). Delicious.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. paul walter. October 11, 2016 at 11:26 pm #

    So has Assange. What a politically motivated crock of shit that turned out to be too.

    Like

    • Moz from Yarramulla October 12, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

      Paul, are you talking about Assange’s apparent obedience to Russian interests or his sexual offending? The politics of Assange and wikileaks have definitely become more obviously conflicted since they started releasing personal information, but not in a way that makes Assange look better IMO.

      With Bill vs Julian on sex crimes … you’re comparing someone who has chosen indefinite house arrest rather than even face his accusers, to a man who has been repeatedly accused but never charged. It’s interesting to think about the balance of awful faced by anyone formally accusing Clinton of sex crimes and the tribal shift involved in suing or charging him, but I can’t see how that parallels someone fleeing the country and hiding in an embassy rather than even turn up to court. Being charitable, I wonder what’s so different about the situation of, say, Chelsea Manning, that Assange thinks being under house arrest is so much better. But Assange’s power is so different from Clinton’s that I’m not sure there’s any comparison.

      Lest you mistake me, I think it would be a very good thing indeed if powerful people were held to the same standards as less powerful.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. paul walter. October 12, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

    What rubbish you talk. Assange is avoiding rendition and torture, is that a crime or just common sense

    As for the filthy concurrent smear campaign orchestrated against him I would have thought people would have woken up to that by now.

    Leave Fox news and ACA alone for a while and try to get you mind functioning through some serious reading.

    Like

  10. jo wiseman October 13, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    I agree wholeheartedly but feel you under emphasised the foulness of the nature of Trump’s attack in the second debate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson October 13, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

      Jo, you might be right, I’ve been attempting to be restrained.

      Like

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