Donald Trump lashes out at his alleged victims by calling them unattractive, among other things. Verónica Pamoukaghlián gets to the heart of the matter.
When the Argentinean dictatorship was losing the Falklands War, government officials were giving triumphant speeches. When Hitler knew he had been defeated, he acted as if victory was imminent. Now that Donald Trump faces certain defeat in the U.S. election, he continues to use his phony hyperbolic rhetoric to tell his supporters that their “movement” is the biggest one in American history, and quoting favorable numbers from highly unreliable polls.
As one woman after another has come forward to denounce his predatory behavior, he has put forward two “witnesses.” One, a British man who has been known to be involved in several political scandals in the UK and who acknowledged that he scouted for underage boys for Tory members of parliament. While Trump said he had never met the accuser, Jessica Leeds, the witness said he was there and he remembers the woman was coming on to Trump and “wanted to marry him.”
Trump’s second witness is his longtime butler, Anthony Senecal, who has served him for many years and once came to public attention for advocating for President Obama’s murder on his Facebook page. The witness claims that when he entered the room where Trump and People magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff were, nothing was going on. But Stoynoff specifically mentioned the butler’s presence. She didn’t have to, but she did. If she knew he could refute the story, she would never have mentioned the man, who is probably more loyal to Trump than anyone else in his entourage.
Trump’s team’s tactics to make the myriad accusations go away have been far-reaching. Daryl Davidoff, brother of Ken Davidoff, a photographer who backed up another assault claim, received a letter from Trump’s lawyers, which prompted him to discredit his brother’s testimony.
In his speeches, Trump has focused on the most self-implosive defense possible. “Look at her,” he said, “she wouldn’t be my first choice.” A writer for pro-Trump site TruthFeed ended her account of Trump’s butler’s claims about the Natasha Stoynoff episode with an unflattering photo of the (extremely attractive) accuser, followed by a sexy photo of Melania Trump in a bikini.
[Some of the “unattractive” women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment and assault over the years. (Photo credit, Vox)]
Why is a man so unattractive, body and soul, entitled to judge women based on their looks? And who are these women, like the TruthFeed writer, who are going along with that?
The elephant in the room is the fact that in his own scale of 1 to 10, Trump would barely get a 1. If we took into account kindness, empathy, or IQ, he would probably score below zero.
The rise of Trump has been the rise of superficiality. The people who aspire to be like Trump, to use unethical tactics to thrive in business and to secure model wives by force of the checkbook, are people who have the wrong values. Old men who want young wives because they feel uncomfortable with women who are mature and have a mind of their own. Young men who are prepared to crush anyone on their path to achieve financial success. And people who do not even know the meaning of the word EMPATHY.
Trump represents the most damaging and dangerous aspects of American individualism, and both his discourse and his personal life are an embodiment of the misguided idea that love and sexual attraction stem from mere looks. In telling the story of her first encounter with Trump, Melania, who was a struggling model at the time, says, “There was chemistry,” and her tone is less convincing than her words.
But the system likes what the Trump marriage represents, because people who feel comfortable inside their own skin do not need to buy 500-dollar dresses or spend thousands on plastic surgery. Melania got fake boobs (according to a former roommate), she scored a millionaire, and she might become First Lady. Trump honored his name by trumping on workers, contractors, associates, and he was able to maintain his luxurious lifestyle and find beautiful women who would marry him. Consumerism feeds on unhappy and unsatisfied people with low self-esteem on the idea that material things, including mail-order brides, can bring happiness.
Why does a fat old man with a repulsive smirk and a ridiculous hair implant feel entitled to call a beautiful and classy 74-year-old woman unattractive?
Trump’s reactions to about a dozen sexual assault accusations have put under the spotlight these double standards that persist in our society. His comments also hint at the male chauvinist myth that “ugly” women want to be harassed, that they wish somebody would try to touch them inappropriately or express their sexual attraction towards them. In one of his speeches, he implied that he doubted other men had tried to assault the women, because they were not attractive enough.
One of the saddest aspects of this state of things is the way women denigrate themselves. Jessica Leeds confessed that she produced photos of herself as a young woman, because she thought people would doubt Trump might have harassed her on seeing her now. But harassment is never about looks and always about power. And it’s saddening that Mrs. Leeds does not know how beautiful she still is, or that anyone can see she must have been really hot as a young girl. The gossip-thirsty side of us wanted to see those photos, but it is sad that she felt compelled to show them.
Beauty is a complex thing. Love creates beauty. People with inner peace have a certain glow about them that is extremely attractive, and they don’t sell that at any store or fancy yoga studio. Sex is not better because someone has a certain kind of body. Sex is much more complex than that. In the case of Mr. Trump, it appears, sex has always been about power; and when that happens, there is very little room for love.
I want to take this opportunity to say to Mr. Trump, on behalf of the women of the world: No, we don’t want to be sexually harassed, whether you think we are attractive or not. And before denigrating women for the way they look, you should really take a good look in the mirror.