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Breaking: No One Surprised Trump Says He's Not a Feminist
Three days ago (I know, I know, three news days in Trump World is like a millennium. All the same, this was ONLY three days ago), Trump gave an interview to Piers Morgan where he discussed a myriad of issues. One of those topics was Trump's response to the Women's March, MeToo, Time's Up, sexual harassment and related topics that have recently been spotlighted. Trump responded in a way that sent no waves of shock through the world. It was barely news. (Something about normalizing here.)
What is Feminism
Before I even begin, let’s go ahead and define feminism (see above). It’s a word that’s definition has been murdered by men and women alike for the purpose, I can only guess, of undermining women. I can find no other plausible reason for the definition to be so altered to become a “dirty” word synonymous with man-hating and militant behavior of women against men. I've even seen it even defined as a movement of women to gain superiority over men. (Sorry. This one made me laugh. To be fair, it was from the Urban Dictionary) The definition itself says nothing about men. (Before you fact check me, some definitions put the words "of men" after equal or equality. This is not what I mean.) The movement itself has nothing to do with hate at all. Feminism is, very simply, a belief that women are equal and should have equal rights in all aspects of life. Even women who (falsely) believe that they do have equal rights could agree with the idea that women should.
Feminism isn’t hateful. It isn’t complicated. It isn’t anti-man. It’s simply pro-women. The opposite of pro-women isn’t pro-man. The opposite of pro-women is anti-women. Most feminists are women and men merely aware of the definition and find nothing to disagree with about it. Women and men who are activists for women's rights are feminists who recognize something's wrong and stand up and do something to change it. Most feminists aren't activists. You are probably a feminist. If you feel that that’s a shameful thing to say out loud, you probably didn’t realize what it was.Glad I could clear that up for you. If you aren't a feminist, you won't like the rest of this article.
Now that that's sorted out...
In his January 29th interview, Donald Trump was asked by Piers Morgan whether he identified as a feminist. His response was: “No, I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist. I think that would be maybe going too far. I’m for women, I’m for men, I’m for everyone.”
Maya Angelou is famously quoted as saying, “When people tell you who they are, believe them the first time.” Donald Trump plainly stated that he wouldn’t identify as a person who supports “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” That’s just “maybe going too far.” We know, Donny, we know but...
Women are a majority in the United States. More than half of the people he swore an oath to serve are women. Yet, he states (Again, to no one’s surprise) that it’s just too far to say that he supports their equality to men. To be fair, he doesn't believe in equality among men either. He, of course, is the best man of all men, in his opinion (only).
Let’s explore the inevitable coming comment rebuttal for a moment. You may say: “Well, most people don’t think of it by that definition. Maybe he just means he isn’t an activist for women’s rights.” This isn’t better. This means that he believes that the majority of the population he serves do not deserve his full consideration of ensuring that they are equal and their rights are protected. Should we say again how shocked everyone isn't? More importantly, ever the Trump fan, Piers gave Trump a cheat and told him the definition prior to asking him if he was a feminist.
PM: “But, do you agree with their basic principles, which are gender equality and safety. When it comes to safety, women want to feel safe, particularly in the workplace. Do you sign up to that?”
Trump's response was no more satisfying. He began by saying “I do, but I think they also want to feel safe at the border,” missing the point entirely. The world did not audibly gasp at the not at all new occurrence of Trump missing the point. Also, anyone with even a basic level of education in communication knows that you don't say "Yes, but.." when you are talking about anything you believe with even an ounce of conviction. He went on to pair women with families, “I think women, you know, families want…” He rambled on in that Trump way about border security, the military, and threw in a hit at Democrats both before and after tossing the word women back in. He finally said, “I think women really like that. I think they want to be safe at home in many different respects” (queue 50s soundtrack) I’d give a student an F for an essay that strayed so far off topic. He made an “effort” by throwing the main topic keyword in randomly, in the beginning, middle and end. But, still an F for not even remotely answering the question posed by the assignment. Like, really smart.
Although he did say “I do” in the beginning, he seemed incapable of actually backing that up with anything related to feminism, equal rights, the MeToo or Time’s Up movement or even really about women’s issues at all. He discussed an issue on which men and women equally agree and disagree. What it does reveal is the underlying belief that Trump has made clear time and again. He equates women with home and family. (Barefoot, wait. No. High heels, pregnant, apron, iron, 50s music still playing) Many women choose this. Do not mistake me to mean that it is a wrong choice. I’ve chosen it myself at times through the years. But, not all, or even a majority, of women do choose this as their priority. The important point here is that Trump perpetually has a problem seeing it as a choice. At least he didn’t say anything regarding the appearance of women equating to their value. Not this time anyway. I'd give him points for this but (something about normalizing here too).
We aren’t done, though. Piers threw him yet another bone, feeding him exactly what he should say: “A lot of the women I spoke to about this, they said it would be great to hear the President, given some of the more disrespectful things that have been out there, and the way you’ve spoken about women, would you acknowledge that you had said things that perhaps you wouldn’t say now?”
His response was “Well I think we have to evolve. If we don’t evolve, there’s something missing. But I have tremendous respect for women.”
Let me break that down for you. Trump says “we” (not I) “have to” (future tense) “evolve” (hide Mattis!). That’s both not an answer to the question and not taking any personal responsibility for his own words or behavior. Should I say again how no one is surprised? You may say I’m being over-analytical and I should take it at face value. Believe me, I am taking it at face value. His answer was 100% no. He will not say he shouldn’t have said those things. He will not say that he wouldn't say them now. This is Trump, Piers. Come on. You've basically asked him to admit he was wrong. (queue laugh track).
To his credit, I believe him. If he’d said he has changed how he felt, spoke, or viewed women, he’d have been disingenuous. His behavior has not changed at all. We just don't have hot mic access to it. He then throws out a blanket statement. “But I have tremendous respect for women.” He's also not racist if you've been living under a rock. And he loves immigrants, especially the ones from Central and South America and Africa. Just keeping you all informed.
I will give him one credit. He went on to say, “You see the women I have working around me and working with me.” He did not say “for me.” So, you get one point, Trump. Maybe you’re evolving (at the pace of a sloth.) Someone let Mattis know.
Are you surprised Trump said he wasn't a feminist?
Full text of this section of the interview
Here’s the full text of this part of the interview:
PM: There’s been a few big events in the last week, one of which was the big Women’s March on the first anniversary of your inauguration. The #MeToo and the Time’s Up campaigns have really resonated with millions of women. And they partly hold you to blame for a lot of attitude towards women. Do you have a message for them? Because we’re a year on from the last time there were all these marches, a lot is happening in that area of sexual harassment and you’ve seen what’s happened in Hollywood and so on. What message could you give these women who are marching that you’re for them and not the problem?
DT: Well, I am for them and I think a lot of them understand that. You know, I won many categories of women and the women vote in the election, and people were shocked to see it. I was running against a woman and I’m winning all of these categories. You know that better than anybody. And I think I would do even better right now… In fact we’ve just had polls coming out just a little while ago, just before I walked into the room that are really up tremendously. I think that’s maybe because of the economy, but I just said before that women have the best unemployment numbers that they’ve had in 17 years. And they’re doing tremendously in business, they’re doing tremendously in so many ways, and people are starting to see that. Now, you’re always going to have marches, and I guess the march was a lot smaller than it was last year…
PM: But do you agree with their basic principles, which are gender equality and safety. When it comes to safety, women want to feel safe, particularly in the work place. Do you sign up to that?
DT: I do, but I also think they want to feel safe at the border. I think they don’t want people pouring into their country. I think they want to see our military get much stronger. I mean women, you know, families, they want to see strength at the border. They want to see a strong law enforcement. I’m a very much law and order person and candidate when I ran. The uniformed services, the military – there’s nobody better than me on the military. I’ve increased the budget, we’re going to have a budget, $700 billion this year. The Democrats were not going to have anywhere near that. I think women really like that. I think they want to be safe at home in many different respects…
PM: A lot of the women I spoke to about this, they said it would be great to hear the President, given some of the more disrespectful things that have been out there, and the way you’ve spoken about women, would you acknowledge that you had said things that perhaps you wouldn’t say now? That you have also listened – as many men are listening right now – that you’ve changed, you’ve changed as a man?
DT: Well I think we have to evolve. If we don’t evolve, there’s something missing. But I have tremendous respect for women, and I think you know that very well because you know me, and you’ve spent a long period of time with me. You see all of the women I have working around me and working with me. Tremendous respect for women.
PM: You have a lot of strong women around you. Melania, and your team here, the press team. Do you identify as a feminist? Are you a feminist?
DT: No, I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist. I think that would be maybe going too far. I’m for women, I’m for men, I’m for everyone. I think people have to go out, they have to go out and really do it and they have to win… And women are doing great. And I’m happy about that.