Donald Trump is not an American president who will be easily forgotten. There are many reasons why, and most of them aren’t exactly positive.
Insulting the entire continent of Africa by describing Haiti and unspecified African nations as shitholes, is possibly up there as one of his most hideously memorable moments to date.
But perhaps he has, inadvertently, done a greater good for the world in his short time in the White House.
Stay with me here.
Yes, he appears to shoot off his mouth like a petulant child (one addicted to Twitter) without thinking. Yes, he’s the first reality star to enter the White House. Yes, he has no political experience whatsoever. Yes, he frequently describes global warming as ‘a hoax.’ And yes, he has been heard openly boasting about sexually assaulting women in the infamous “Access Hollywood” tapes.
But perhaps it’s this last fact – that the actual President of the United States of America, himself, has been known to degrade and demean women – that a worldwide intolerance to such disgusting behaviour has arisen.
Now this is a leader who is meant to uphold strong moral values. One who, in these modern times, we expect to wholeheartedly believe in equality. Correction, not just believe, but vehemently fight for. And above all, one who is in the highest position of power to make a change, to give the people hope.
So when this very same leader was heard making vulgar comments about women, the world would be forgiven for giving up all hope that this behaviour will ever cease.
But instead, the tide began to turn. The cards were all on the table, so to speak.
If even the most powerful man in the world was at it, we could all finally talk openly about the sexual harassment and abuse which women have been enduring in every corner of the planet, in every kind of workplace, from every walk of life, for years and years.
We’ve all been at the receiving end of it in some way or other, some sadly more harshly than others.
I spent years in a job having my boobs talked to by my boss. Not my face, or most importantly my intelligence – unless my brains had mysteriously transferred themselves to my chest without me realising it – but my boobs. And it wasn’t that my boobs were particularly special. Every female in the office (of which there weren’t many) was forced to question whether their breasts were far more fascinating than the valuable opinions they had to offer.
We’ve all been in jobs where we’ve quickly realised that only the females are being asked to do the menial tasks, the promotion you were going for has gone to your male colleague when everyone knows you’re the better candidate, and if you don’t flirt back with the boss then there’s no chance on earth you’re ever going to get on.
I know friends who have had their bottoms patted on a daily basis, their opinions disregarded after they’ve made it clear that they’re not interested in going for ‘a drink after work’, and endured lewd remarks made towards them. And there are, of course, sadly many far worse stories.
We’ve all been expected to laugh it off and not take it all so seriously. Never mind that it makes you feel like a second class citizen, if you dared risk your career by bravely speaking up, it was highly likely you’d be labelled a trouble maker.
Most men abhor this behaviour too. However, some small-minded ones feel they have the God-given right to use their position of ‘power’ on the ‘lesser sex,’ as we are seen through their tiny eyes.
But along with Trump’s sexist behaviour, this last year has also seen high profile cases such as that of Bill Cosby, where multiple women have brought charges of sexual assault against him.
Perhaps this has given women the strength to finally speak out, knowing that at last they will be heard and taken seriously. They can speak their truth without fearing their reputations and careers will be left in tatters.
So, we can live in hope that by the time our girls are trying to forge their way in life, in whatever paths they choose to follow, they will not have to accept that they are at the mercy of ‘powerful’ men just because they have a different anatomy.
They will never have to put up with the discomfort of having that anatomy scrutinised, or knowing that they will have to fight twice as hard to be taken seriously unless they are willing to go for those ‘drinks after work.’
And as for the US leader, Mr Donald Trump, we can be thankful that his disparaging remarks about women have opened up a conversation that gives us hope that the tide will turn. The behaviour of these brutally powerful men will no longer be tolerated.
Their time is up.
As Oprah says, ‘when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me too” again.’
As featured in Huffington Post.