President Donald Trump’s election seemed to prove the rise and endorsement of the extreme macho man perspective. Trump identifies with strongmen worldwide; men who display their power to further patriarchy and their image of manliness.
Trump has proven himself drawn to world leaders like Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Putin makes a habit of posing for pictures bare-chested while participating in so-called “manly” activities. He poses bare-chested for pinup calendars.
Beyond Putin’s love of a shirtless photo op, he proved his commitment to the patriarchy by severely restricting abortion in Russia and by furthering the standard that the best place for women is in the home.
The President is also fond of Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan, a strongman leader who emphasizes his athletic prowess as a former soccer player and who has said that women who work outside of their homes are “half persons.”
Trump himself is drawn toward authoritarianism and is frustrated by the constraints to his power that exist in American democracy. He often lashes out at the press, and the judiciary, two obstacles to his absolute power.
Trump, like the strongmen he admires, bragged about taking what he wants from women sexually. In the infamous Access Hollywood tapes, Trump said:
“…When you’re a star, they let you do it.”
He also referred to kissing and groping women without their consent. Thirteen women came forward publicly with accusations against the president ranging from sexual harassment to sexual assault.
He intentionally walked in on women and even teen girls while they were changing while he headed beauty pageants. His first wife Ivana accused him of domestic violence. Trump also suggested his supporters should use violence against his campaign rival Hillary Clinton when he said the “Second Amendment people” could do something about her.
Trump repeatedly verbally harassed and humiliated women publicly, from Rosie O’Donnell to Mika Brzezinski. He even used a common tool of male domination; physically shadowing Hillary Clinton during Presidential debates. That physical invasion made Clinton’s “skin crawl” she later said.
Despite Trump’s election, Republicans’ control of Congress, and a concerted effort on the part of all of the primarily male leaders to restrict women’s rights to bodily autonomy, there is a monumental shift happening in our culture.
Despite the clear and obvious embodiment of patriarchy in power or perhaps because of it, there is a cultural acknowledgment and defiance of the misogyny.
With each new day, it seems as if women who were sexually harassed, assaulted, or abusedare exposing yet another man who happens to be in a position of power. Instead of brushing it aside and saying “boys will be boys,” the culture decided that such abuses are unacceptable.
Women are refusing to remain silent, and finally, they are being heard and action is being taken. While the 2016 election may have looked to be a win for misogyny and patriarchy, the fall out from it is proving to have ushered in an era of its undoing.
Featured Image via YouTube Video.