Are we really that surprised by Trump’s comments?

Men talk in gyms, on golf courses, and on cell phones in the street. Eavesdrop on their private conversations when women aren’t present and you’ll hear a version of Trump’s harangue. Belittling and disparaging comments about women are a part of our social compact. Trump is not the exception — he’s the rule. His faux pas is getting caught on tape.

trump-1 We are a nation forged by patriarchy. Our entire social system was founded on exclusion and upholding the power base of a wealthy elite. Historically, most of those elite have been rich, white men. Women have never been treated fairly or equally unless they’ve fought tooth and nail. But even with some sense of equality attained, there remains another problem. The problem with equality, is that someone is always charged with its definition.

“Equality” is another construct that is defined by those most adept at controlling the conversation. They are the “gatekeepers” — those with the most money and power and who have the resources to control perception. It is subjective, always. Trump’s claims that the uncovered video is a mere “distraction”, ably shifts his misogyny to the realm of tolerable. As James Hamblin writes in The Atlantic,”[Trump] is describing forcing himself on women, bragging that they’re disinclined to object because of a power structure on which he knowingly capitalizes.” That power structure is pervasive and unlikely to shift anytime soon. Women persevere by ignoring it, but this is often tantamount to condoning the offense. The bigger question still looms: Can anyone change deeply held misogynistic or xenophobic beliefs?

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