My Son, Donald Trump, the Green Nail Polish, and Feminism
A few weeks ago, when we found out that Donald Trump talked aboutwell, to be fair, promotedsexual assault, the world was aghast. Or at least the part of the world that has access to information. This is a man who has called women pigs, dogs, and cockroaches. (Actually, one of those isnt true, but really, does it matter?) People were shocked. His own party was outraged! They turned against him! He has daughters!
Even Mitch McConnell (Mitch McConnell!), the Senate majority leader, spoke out: As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize directly to women and girls everywhere. And other fellow Republicans: I wouldn’t want anyone speaking about my wife, my daughters, or any woman that way (U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo). I am disgusted by Mr. Trumps words about women: our daughters, sisters and mothers (U.S. Senator John Cornyn). Then Mitt Romney: Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters. Hear, hear!
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Truth is, I didnt want to think too much about thisit was too troubling, too unfathomable. But it stuck with me over the past few weeks. I mean, of course. I have a daughter. She has called herself a feminist since she was five years old. Womens rights are human rights. All of it. But that actually wasnt the troubling part.
See, I also have a son.
By virtue of the fact that hes a human with a penis, raising him to be a feminist is even more crucial. As the executive editor of the worlds biggest beauty magazine, I have, over time, transformed our home into a fairly girlie place. Its not exactly sparkly, but there are a few thousand ways to smell really good in my house. I see it as an extension of my job to ensure that there is not a single room that doesnt have some kind of beauty product. The hand cream in my daughters bedroom. The lip balm in my sons. You could say that my sonhes five, by the wayhas been made aware of the trappings of femininity since he was a zygote.
Stick with me on my clich for a minute: I took great pride in surrounding him with girlie stuff. I used to paint his nails. (Chanel Nail Colour in meraude, if youre curious.) He loved dressing up as a princess. Occasionally hed go for a spin in my high heels (this usually didnt end well). Then something happened. He started coming home with Blue is for boys. And he will never pierce his ears because thats for girls. (I wasnt offering, by the way.) The world moved in. Stereotypes found him.
And isnt thatat least partlywhat happened to Donald Trump? Clichs, stereotypes, and ultimately misogyny twisted his brain?
This is about men seeing women as Halloween candy to grab as they want. Its toxic. And its a message that was put out there by the guy who may be PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, the closest thing we have to a superhero in this country (which of course isnt realistic or healthy itself). And hes saying it in the most overt, disgusting, dehumanizing way, a way that denies that women are equal partners who have a say in our own bodies. Our sons, even more than our daughters, need to be raised feminists. They need to know that girlieness isnt weakness. That being effeminate has no bearing on strength. That womens rights are human rights.
Or, as one five-year-old would see it, that girls nail polish is human nail polish.
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