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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Closing the Combination Lock on Trump's "Locker Room" Mentality

One of the many confessions that I have made in this blog is the one about how when I was in school, I loathed gym class.

I mean, don't get me wrong.  I understand the need to have physical education and a health curriculum implemented in the public and private school system.  We need to learn how to take care of our bodies as well as our minds. 

I just wasn't a natural born athlete.

But you know, I'm okay with that.  So I'm not the fastest runner.  So I look like a dead trout when I swim.  So I'd rather dunk a donut than a basketball.  So what?  As far as I'm concerned, some people are born with natural sport talent and others aren't.  I just drew the short stick when it came to athletics.

I think the worst part about gym class for me was going into the locker room or the change room.  We had to change into our gym clothes from our street clothes and it was definitely not one of my favourite parts of the whole day. 

I mean, nobody towel snapped me or made fun of certain parts of my body or anything.  But I was always the first one in the locker room and the first one out.  I was a master of the twenty second quick change.  Well, that, plus as a teenager I was chubby and was concerned about the other kids in my gym class making fun of my "moobs", so to speak. 

Of course, that wasn't the only reason why I made a quick dash in and out of the locker room. 

Truth be told, when you're fourteen or fifteen years old, it's such a difficult age to try and get to know yourself.  And more often than not, you sort of subconsciously do what your peers do even though you may secretly want to punch them in the schnozz.  Believe me, I had my moments where I thought about it, but suppressed my violent urges.

But as someone who never quite fit in with my peers at that age, I really kept to myself.  It's just as well though.  With the way that many of the guys I went to school with talked, it was almost as if I were not at a high school locker room, but the Playboy mansion.  I mean, talk about teenage-fueled misogyny! Imagine a group of ninth and tenth graders comparing our female classmates to slabs of beef, or commenting on how the bigger their boobs were, the more attractive they are.  Not exactly a conversation that was deep or meaningful.  And while many of them happily gabbed on about these subjects, I decided that I really wanted no part of it.

Now, to be fair, I can only imagine that when the shoe was on the other foot, the girls were being just as - shall we say - descriptive with their vocabulary about the boys in the school too.  It most definitely wasn't one sided. 

It was just conversation that I had absolutely no use for, as I was always taught to respect the opposite sex and to not make comments like that.  Mind you, that attitude never really helped my dating life in school, but at least I was being true to who I was.  And, I think that while my parents were influential in making sure that I tried to respect women, maybe some of those boys didn't have that growing up.  It certainly would have explained a lot.

Now, this would be about twenty years ago.  And back in those days, we were around 14, 15 years old.  I think I can safely say that in those twenty years, most of those boys have grown to become men and hopefully have shed their misogynistic skins to become productive and respectful members of society.  I mean, I definitely am not going to make excuses for that behaviour back then, but your brain is definitely a lot less capable of being mature and making good choices as a teenager than it is when you're an adult.  It could also explain why I found school more difficult on a social level than the average person.  Who can say, really? 

Again, this is what I experienced when I was a teen.  Your experiences may not have been the same as mine and yours may be better or worse than mine.  I'm just sharing what I saw through my own two eyes and heard with my own two ears.

But what happens when you become my age or older and you're STILL making misogynistic comments towards women?  And worse, you make absolutely zero apologies for it?  I think that's when you stop blaming the locker room and start taking responsibility for the fact that you just might be completely and totally wrong.

I know I promised that I wouldn't talk about a certain presidential candidate until the American election was over, but given the recent comments by Donald Trump, I almost think that it would be a disservice to myself if I didn't call him out on it.

Now, before I go on with this editorial of sorts, I realize that some of you reading this might be Trump supporters.  I'll warn you ahead of time that you're probably not going to like what I plan to write in the next few paragraphs, so I'm giving you the opportunity to back out now and instead watch this episode of Inspector Gadget.  Appropriately, it's the one where Gadget joins a health club that turns out to be a M.A.D. trap!

But for those of you who want to hear me out, I'll give the basic 411 about the latest happening from the Republican nominee.

Eleven years ago, in 2005, Donald Trump (who at that point was the host of the reality television series "The Apprentice") and then "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush were doing an interview aboard the Access Hollywood bus in preparation for the Prime Time Emmy Awards, and during this interview, they met up with "Days of our Lives" actress Arianna Zucker, who gave both of them a tour of the set.  Back in 2005, the interview aired without a hitch.

But it was what was left on the cutting room floor that has everybody in an uproar and everybody choosing sides.

You see, whether both men were aware of it or not, the microphones and videotapes were still on, and they captured every single word of the behind the scenes conversations that we weren't meant to hear. 

To say the least, things were discussed and words were said that I most certainly will not be repeating in this blog post.  Too disgusting for my tastes.  I suppose that you can Google what was said if you really want to, but I will not repost them here.  Let's just say that if I were Arianna Zucker, or Bush's "Access Hollywood" co-host Nancy O'Dell, I would be mortified, and rightfully so.  Indeed, both women have issued their own personal statements on the matter which can also be easily found on the World Wide Web.

The end result was that Donald Trump's presidential campaign added yet another scandal to its already damaged armor, and his popularity seems to be getting weaker and weaker despite the cries of his most loyal supporters.  When Donald's own wife Melania calls him out on it, you know he did something extremely low - even by his own standards.  I mean, this was the guy who made Omarosa a "star" - the same Omarosa that seems to want to set the women's movement back decades just as Trump has.  Just saying.

As for Billy Bush, suffice to say, his tenure as the third host of "Today" - a show that he left "Access Hollywood" to host back in August - will likely be cut extremely short, and Bush will more than likely be let out of his contract with NBC over the next few weeks.

So, I guess the question is...was the right decision made?  Ultimately, yes, I do believe so, though I am conflicted.  Yes, the tape was eleven years old, and yes, in most cases I don't think a person should be held accountable for something that happened that long ago.  However, due to the seriousness of what was said, there was really no other option.

In regards to Billy Bush, I understand that what he said back in that eleven-year-old interview was incredibly foolish and immature.  In a statement he made recently, he acknowledged that he was a lot younger and didn't know any better, but maintained that he was wrong for saying those things and that he was incredibly sorry.  And, you know...I do believe he is sincere.

Honestly, if Billy Bush was one of those 14-year-old boys back in 2005 that I went to high school with, I think the public might have been more forgiving, as he would have been a kid back then.  Although it still wouldn't have made it right, you could at least chalk it up to pure teenage immaturity.  At the time of that interview, Bush was 33, and by then he should really have known better - especially as a host of a nationally syndicated program like "Access Hollywood" where he would have met hundreds of actresses, singers, and models.  Ultimately, he's paying the price for that now, but I would like to hope that he at least has learned from it and will not have feelings like that as he tries to clean up the mess that was made.

However, I also have the feeling that if Bush is going to be made to step down from his job, Trump should step down from running for President.  Because while Bush's poor choice of words and actions have painted him in a bad light, at least he isn't trying to run to govern a nation of over 300 million people!

Think about this for a second.  Would you feel comfortable having a man in charge of an entire nation that knowingly makes disgusting comments about 51% of the population?  I'm not even going into the remarks he's made against immigrants and people within the LGBTQ community - though my opinion is that those remarks are just as awful.  I'm talking about a nation in which women have fought hard to achieve equity for themselves.  A nation in which women fought even harder to even get the right to vote in the first place.  How can a man claim to be representing the American public when he doesn't even seem to respect half of the people he wants to represent? 

Perhaps even more mind-boggling is how so many women can even consider giving him their vote after all of this?  I don't know any woman that would ever think it would be okay for the leader of a nation to brag about how he can get a woman to do whatever he wants by grabbing her by the...well, you understand what I mean.  It's foul, disgusting, and frankly, it's part of the reason why we have people like Brock Turner walking the streets.

To be honest with you, I'm absolutely kind of baffled over how America ended up with Donald Trump as a possible candidate for the American Presidency in the first place.  To be fair though, I'm equally baffled by how Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee.  I get the feeling that some people in America think they're voting on who will be America's Next Top Model instead of America's Next President.  This whole campaign has felt like some twisted reality show.  All we need now is Jerry Springer to show up and throw Jerry beads at the spectators. 

Regardless, these are the two people who are the frontrunners of the election (independent candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson are also choices, but unless some wacky thing happens, I doubt either one will get enough votes to make a difference).  And while I am ineligible to vote in the election due to my Canadian citizenship, I know that if I had the choice between a candidate who allegedly deleted e-mails and whose husband cheated on her with a White House Intern or a candidate who mocks people, treats women like objects (and actually defends it by dismissing it as locker room talk), and who has uttered some of the most offensive and dangerous statements during both Presidential debates that have aired - well to me, the choice is dead obvious.  I'd rather have a woman who has flaws take the presidency than a man who thinks a woman IS a flaw.

It's not just locker room talk when you're running for president.  It's a serious matter that needs to be addressed.  And I feel that if Billy Bush is going to be towel whipped for his comments, it's only fair that Trump get the same treatment.  Not even my 14 and 15 year old classmates back in the day joked about rape or sexual assault.  As immature and gross as they were, not even they crossed THAT line.

Because women are not objects.  They aren't sides of beef.  They aren't meant to be grabbed by...well, you know.  Women are beautiful.  Women are intelligent.  Women are to be loved, cherished, and respected.

And Trump needs to realize that women have held the right to vote since 1919 in the United States.  It's not really a good idea to disrespect and demean them just twenty-six days before the election - regardless of whether it was eleven years ago or eleven seconds ago.

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