Grow a Pair and Grab ‘Em By the Pussy

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

We are not writing to express our surprise that recent tapes revealed your proudly describing how you go up to women and start kissing them without even waiting (for consent) and how you “grab ’em by the pussy.”  This does not shock us at all, given your relative power as a rich white man living in a rape culture.

But what does that mean, rape culture?  Rape culture refers to that set of attitudes and beliefs about men, women, and sex that presume that men are going to aggress against women and that women will, at best, be OK with it or, at worst, don’t matter anyway.  Rape culture includes the way we speak about men and women.

When we describe someone brave and assertive, we say that person has “got balls.” If we want someone to be more courageous, we say they really ought to “grow a pair.”  This makes logical sense in a culture that associates manhood with the ability to assert one’s will.  When we describe someone who is weak, fearful, or otherwise wimpy (you know, “not man enough”), we say they are a “pussy.”  This is not at all coincidentally also a slang word for female sex organs.

These associations were in full play in the sign carried by one of Trump’s supporters, which declared “Better to grab a pussy than be one!”

The issue, as many have pointed out, is not the use of the term “pussy” to describe women’s genitalia, or even the use of the word “pussy” as a pejorative and emasculating slur. The issue is Trump’s assertion that pussies, and by association the human beings who have them, are there for his taking.  Yet they, and we, are not.

Self-defense training teaches women that there is nothing about having a pussy that makes us pussies of the Trumps of this world.  And self-defense training teaches us that resistance comes in many forms, and that there is not just one moment in time for resistance.  Resistance can happen when we see the threat coming a mile away, when the threat is right in front of us, and any time after an assault, be that minutes or decades.  In fact, the willful act of standing up to the Trumps of the world, verbally and/or physically, courageously telling one’s story about these Trumps, and civil disobedience are all forms of resistance to the rape culture.  We only fully challenge the rape culture when we challenge the belief that women have no power to resist men, and the accompanying belief that men can, because of either social or physical power, just waltz up to women and grab ’em by the pussy.

Because you can’t, Mr. Trump.  And this is what resistance looks like.

pussy-grabs-backRead more about this image at http://www.wnyc.org/story/pussy-grabs-back-movement/

 

 

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