Thanks to progressives, I now need to defend Donald Trump. I do not want to defend Trump. I do not like Trump. I think he is supremely narcissistic, purely self-interested, and likely one of the best manipulators in the world. He plays people, using their interests and biases to entertain himself. I doubt he wants to be the president of the United States. I doubt he intends to follow through should he win. This is all a game to him.
That said, despite Trump’s penchant for making stupid comments, his detractors also have the habit of taking his comments completely out of context. For example, Julia Sonenshein wrote about a three-year-old tweet Trump made about military rape:
Sonenshein is correct that it is a terrible comment. It implies that men are incapable of controlling their actions. While there are certainly some men like this, to assume that men and women cannot work together without the men raping the women is absurd. However, that was not what Sonenshein took from Trump’s tweet. She read a different inference:
Yes, Trump’s comments blame victims in that tired way I can barely even muster any energy to shoot down anymore. And his “reasoning” that rape is the natural end to putting men and women together isn’t just isolated to his own apparent and profound ignorance—it’s what all women and survivors are repeatedly told, time and again.
Except that is not what Trump said. He did not blame rape victims. He did not blame women. He appears to imply that the men are the ones who lack self-control. This is so obvious that the responses to his tweet attack him specifically for that implication. Only Sonenshein and progressives like her draw the conclusion that Trump is blaming female rape victims.
It is also worth noting that Sonenshein plays the gender card despite acknowledging that that reports show that men represent the majority of victims of military rape. That information does not fit into her narrative, so she simply mentions it and moves right back to the false assertion that Trump is victim-blaming female rape victims:
How is a presidential candidate prepared to tackle the epidemic of rape in the military with such raging ignorance? How will he account for all the victims of this ongoing crime? I guess the bottom line is he won’t.
We do not know that Trump is ignorant of the evidence concerning military rape. What we know is that he thinks it is a bad idea to put men and women in the same unit. He also appears to think that men cannot control their actions should this occur. There is no victim-blaming.
How then did Sonenshein reach the conclusion that Trump blamed female rape victims for their own rapes? She did it through the tried and true method of projection:
It was only the year before my assault, in the sixth grade, that our school principal came into our classroom and asked all of the boys to leave. She told us, smiling, gently, that we couldn’t wear our spaghetti strap shirts to school anymore, especially as we started to develop and wear bras. It could be very distracting to the boys. We all laughed and nodded. We understood.
But here we are expounding this theory on a national level: The boys cannot control themselves around you. Boys cannot—nor are they expected to—keep it in their pants. Cover your bra straps. Stay out of the room. Stick men and women together, and you’re asking for trouble. Laugh it off.
In fairness to Sonenshein’s principal, the way teen girls dress can distract teen boys. The same applies the other way around. I watched this happen two days ago. My 16-year-old godson took off his shirt, as he usually does when it is hot. There were a couple of girls crossing the street. They all watched him as he folded his shirt. One of them walked into a fire hydrant. My godson is very attractive, he knows it, and he deliberately exudes his teenage sexuality. Ergo, when girls or gay boys see him, they get distracted. His abs are distracting. His face is distracting. His posture is distracting. If he were a girl, boys and gay girls would have the same response.
It is not sexist to note this.
Sonenshein does have a point that it is somewhat ridiculous to govern what girls can wear because of how boys would react. However, she loses this point the moment she claims, “boys cannot—nor are they expected to—keep it in their pants”.
This is the “rape culture” narrative. Who in our society argues that boys are not expected to keep it in their pants? I attended an all-boy Catholic high school. We never received that message. My godson attends a similar school. To my knowledge, no one tells him that message either. His teenage friends come over all the time. None of them have mentioned it. None of the adults I know, associate with, or work with make these claims. It does not appear in pop culture, in music, in video games, or on social media. All of the things that could and do influence boys resoundingly tell them to “keep it in their pants”. Indeed, boys are far more likely to be told that merely having those feelings are wrong, let alone acting on them.
Yet that ultimately has nothing to do with Trump’s comment. His comment was not that “boys cannot keep it in their pants”. His comment was that if men worked too closely with women the men would prey on the women. He did not imply that men possess high libidos. Rather, he implied that they are essentially predatory.
Again, that is not victim-blaming. It is about as far from victim-blaming as one can get.
Ironically, Trump’s comment is the feminist argument. He takes their core argument — that men will prey on women because “reasons” — and simply excises the nonsense about “privilege” and “The Patriarchy”. What remains is a fairly sexist comment against men, one that paints them all as potential rapists until proven otherwise.
One would think progressives and feminists would have little issue with this statement given that it is their general position. Yet such is their disdain for Trump that even when he agrees with them they must attack him. That means those of us who prefer logic and reason and honest discourse must now defend him.
Thank you, progressives. I did not think I would ever have the chance to defend a walking political hemorrhoid, but here we have it. Now please excuse me while I go and wash my hands.