*Or Billy Bush
Can’t seem to view women as human beings? Is that psychic club from Cro-magnon Man days weighing you down and holding you back? Well we’ve got 10 easy ways to help you conquer your ass-backward ways. Follow these simple steps, and soon you’ll be striding upright with confidence into the 21st century!
When you’ve grown up privileged thinking the world is your oyster, we know how difficult it can be to realize that you can’t just go around violently prying things open with your sword (Shakespeare’s original meaning of that phrase). On the surface, it’s a funny line, “grab ’em by the pussy” (the ancient 2005 origin of the juvenile 2014 meme “fuck her right in the pussy” perhaps?); a million echoes of the phrase could be heard from dinner parties all across the country that Saturday after the Trump tape dropped, all for a few (million) politically charged laughs. The problem is: there are millions of women for whom it’s not at all funny, because it’s actually happened to them — sometimes by people they knew; other times by strangers — an invasion of personal space that often leaves victims traumatized. Seriously, read this horrible experience a writer shared after the big Trump reveal:
2010, New Orleans. I was in a bar over Halloween weekend, waiting for my boyfriend at the time to retrieve drinks. As I stood near a wall, two men wearing masks moved toward me, blocking me in. One of the men put his hand up my skirt, maneuvered under my underwear, and jabbed a finger so far inside of me that I was nearly lifted off the ground. In an instant, he withdrew and walked away from me, their desire for amusement via my pussy satisfied. He and his friend turned back around just in time to witness the beginning of my panic attack. They laughed, and high fived; my knees buckled, and I insisted on leaving the bar immediately to go back to the house where we were staying.
No matter your celebrity status, your wealth, or your political power, keep your fucking hands to yourself.
2. Don’t refer to a woman as “it.”
We get it: it’s hard to think of women as human beings because they have boobies and vagina dentata and icky periods and the power to grow and give birth to all of humanity. But here’s a little secret: men and women are both human beings! We know, crazy. Men and women actually have much more in common than they have differences: we all have brains and hearts and spines…okay, except for maybe Trump, but you get the point: we’re on the same team.
3. Learn the definition of “sexual assault.”
Illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (as because of age or physical or mental incapacity) or who places the assailant (as a doctor or teacher or boss or billionaire) in a position of trust or authority.
Just because you’re a special little prince doesn’t mean unwanted sexual contact is suddenly NOT illegal (or immoral or unconscionable or unacceptable or disgusting) when you do it.
4. Don’t sexualize women in public and professional settings.
It’s understandable: You have urges. You’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. You’ve committed adultery in your heart many times. Guess what? So has a saint like Jimmy Carter. So have most women when it comes to those they’re attracted to! The difference is that they don’t brag about it to establish dominance, or use power or force to satisfy it. Objectifying women, especially in a circle of men, dehumanizes them (see #2 again) — it fosters illusions of grandeur that perpetuate and encourage environments where sexual discrimination and assault flourish. We can name that crap in two words: rape culture. So don’t talk about how you’ve scored when you get to work with a pretty woman (“Yes! The Donald has scored!”), don’t talk about her as a collection of body parts (“Ooh, nice legs, huh?”) and don’t bring up totally unsubstantiated fever dreams about someone’s imagined indiscretions in what’s supposed to be a serious political debate on policies and social issues (“I don’t even think [Hillary’s] loyal to Bill“).
5. This should go without saying but: Don’t sexualize your daughter.
Even if your daughter is smokin’ and you want to bang her, for the love of all that’s holy, keep it to yourself! Don’t talk about whether or not she could or should be in a nudie magazine. Don’t say that if you weren’t married and, you know, her father, that perhaps you’d be dating her. Don’t tell other men, especially someone with a national radio show like Howard Stern, that it’s okay to call her a piece of ass. Just, ew.
6. If you are an employer, hire (don’t fire) women based on their qualifications rather than their appearance; and pay women and men equally for the same work.
If you’ve had 20 gender discrimination lawsuits brought against you, this is a sign you have a problem. Whether a woman is “fat” or “hot” or “a 10” or “a 4” has no bearing on whether she will be a capable employee: check out her references and her resume, not her ass. Conduct your interviews over the phone if you must. Probably a good idea not to promote beauty pageants, too.
As far as pay goes, just because the Paycheck Fairness Act hasn’t been passed yet — yet! — doesn’t mean it’s okay, or even legal, to financially penalize employees because of their gender. The Equal Pay Act was passed over 50 freaking years ago in 1963 which outlaws such discrimination. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 extended the statute of limitations for suing over such discrimination to a reasonable time frame. And President Clinton is going to do a lot more to close the gender wage gap. So get on the fair pay train or you, sir, could be the one being prosecuted.
7. Don’t hit on married women as a challenge; don’t hit on women if you’re married.
You don’t score extra points on the Masculinity Test by trying to seduce a woman in a committed, monogamous relationship; you either make someone trying to be faithful extremely uncomfortable OR, if successful, you simply prove that both of you are severely flawed human beings with little self-restraint and wonky moral compasses. And unless you have an open relationship that you’ve explicitly negotiated with your partner, don’t pop Tic Tacs in the hopes of future random make-out sessions. Even if you’re not married, don’t try to kiss unsuspecting women, especially those with whom you are working.
8. Don’t gang-up on or sexually intimidate a woman.
The wingman approach to intimidating women into sexual conduct is a time honored tradition among bros, exemplified perfectly by little Billy Bushy’s comment to the woman greeting him and Trump off the Access Hollywood bus: “How about a little hug for the Donald? He just got off the bus.” The line, delivered with cutesy disdain, was meant to shame and embarrass her, make her look like an unfriendly bitch while the cameras were rolling should she decline — it’s an incredibly uncomfortable spot to be put in. Don’t ask for little hugs, or cheek pecks, or back rubs from someone you’re not in a relationship with — otherwise you’re just the hate child of a sexual predator and a pathetic loser who can’t get a date.
As Trump said, “I don’t even wait.” For permission, for consent, for an invitation, for even the subtlest cue that a woman might be interested in sexual contact. If you have not been given an explicit go-ahead, then take a deep breath, count to 10 in your head, jam your hands in your pockets and ask her — if she’d like to be hugged, or kissed, or grabbed in the pussy. Seriously, you never know. And please don’t confuse asking with forcing/intimidating/threatening/shaming/coercing/sucker-punching.
10. When you see or hear men engaging in any of the above, call them out.
Don’t jump in and finish their sexist sentences the way Billy Bush did (Trump: “And when you’re a star…you can do anything…” Bush: “Whatever you want”). Don’t sycophantically giggle, high-five, or punch the air in order to male-bond, gain brownie points, or not appear like a party pooper. Go ahead and take a big, steaming shit on that shindig because it’s not a party worth attending. Would you go to the Nazis Were Misunderstood Party? No. So don’t rsvp to the Women Are Just Holes Party — none of the cool kids are going.
In short, just be cool.
Once you’ve fixed yourself, help fix the world:
10 Practical Ways to Fight Rape Culture