“Because no little girl who gets groped on a bus or in a grocery store or on a subway or in a classroom should ever have to wonder if she did something wrong.”  Columnist Dan Savage, explaining “The Trump Talk,” the term coined by a woman who wrote in, defining the depressing conversation that every parent needs to give their daughters about predatory, entitled men.

Two years ago, I joined a half million people (then) who liked My Stealthy Freedom, a Facebook page that showed Iranian women taking off the scarf in public, as many of them called the mandatory head cover, an offense often leading to arrest.  As I saw more pictures of these women, heard stories of their abuse by husbands, brothers, fathers, and strangers, including acid thrown into their face, I also read support from husbands, brothers, fathers, and strangers.  It took me far longer than it should have to realize that not only were Iranian women being abused, so were Iranian men.  The page now has more than a million members.

The excuse given for covering women’s hair was that it excited men, who could not control themselves around women.  Yep, and that I guess was the reason that 7 year-olds are covered in school.  If a man can be excited by a 7 year-old girl, he’s a pedophile, a predator. The woman writing into Dan Savage had her 9 year-old daughter inappropriately touched by a man while in a grocery checkout line.

The vast majority of Iranian men are not pedophiles, I posted.  Publicly walking without a scarf in an 87 second video did not destroy the country, I wrote.  A few trolls tried to bait me with problems in the US, but I stayed quiet and let my fellow commenters handle them.  So long as women were being required to cover themselves, I realized men were insulted, too.  If the men didn’t see that, it was time they did, I wrote.  Real men control their “urges,” don’t assault women, resist as much as they dare the laws that require women to be covered, and treat their wives as equal partners.  There were many posts of Iranian men who did resist. Some even wore the scarf themselves.  There are many brave, smart and creative men and women in the country.  I’ve helped correct the English in several M.S. and  Ph.D. theses; I was even last author in a meteorological article about Tabriz.

I didn’t realize that my words about insulting men would come back during this presidential campaign, where I have been quiet, only writing about boorishness. Because I’m an old white guy, FB once targeted me with Republican ads.  I put a quick stop to that nonsense.

When Mr. Trump was caught on tape with his vulgarities, where the verb “to grope” was probably learned by many children for the first time, I was disgusted.  But frankly, I thought it would blow over, like every other epithet, crude remark, lie, and insult he has used during his campaign.  If he could get away with insulting John McCain, six bankruptcies, writing off a $900 million loss in one year, saying Muslims shouldn’t be allowed into the country, a Mexican-American judge born in the country was biased, what could he possibly do worse?  Mr. Trump was given a free pass on women.  He was allowed to call them ugly, “how would you like to wake up next to that?” and insulted Ted Cruz’s wife, a professional in her own right, not that it matters. Even using the toilet and menstruation were not off limits to Mr. Trump; no outrageous comment stuck.

So, I could have been forgiven for thinking that “grope” and “pussy” would last a day or two and then disappear.  I mean, I had seen Mr. Trump getting softball coverage as a celebrity and not as a presidential candidate.  I had wondered when the media was going to be as hard on him as on Secretary Clinton.  When the shoe dropped, the final straw in the haybarn of insults turned out to be the verb and the noun alluded to above. I didn’t think what he said was much worse than what he had already said, but as a man, I missed something that women don’t miss.  It’s one thing to leer, to rate women on a 1 to 10 scale, to make fun of their bodies, even if the insulter is overweight, has dyed hair, and constantly glowers.  No, what really changed this campaign was the action, the groping, sexual assault.  That’s courage, by the way, to come forth as a woman who was sexually assaulted, and after which likely initially blamed herself for what she wore, said, or did.

And knew that probably 40% of the men in this country think today she was still in some way to blame.

The “locker room banter” comment significance was missed by me, too, mostly because I haven’t been in a locker room for years.  Athletes came forth en masse, insulted that Mr.Trump would suggest that every man in a locker room would say these things.

And so finally, it came full circle.  Whether it be in the United States or Iran, when women are insulted or physically violated, because a man thinks he can do that, he insults all men who don’t think this way.  When one says it is locker room banter, he insults the men who don’t partake in such banter, who, when given every chance to talk about a woman’s looks, body, whatever, DON’T.

So, I am angry.  I don’t talk to my male friends about women’s looks, bodies, whatever.  That doesn’t mean I give a free pass to all women, because they are women.  I quietly refused a request on a long car trip home last summer to give a ride to a woman who made me feel very uncomfortable. I won’t hike with another for the same reason.  That isn’t sexist.  I’m making a rational decision  based upon actions.

But, I’m with…..Michelle Obama.  She is a national treasure.  Her twenty minute speech, which will be known as the “Enough is Enough” speech, reminded me that attacks on women are attacks on men.  That belittling women belittles men.  That treating women as sex objects is saying that men can’t control their sex drive.  That allowing firearms in the hands of angry men in bad relationships is the major cause of the 3 women a day here who are killed by a man with whom they have or had a relationship.

I’m with Michelle Obama when she says, so truthfully, that we can’t deal with the plight of women in this world if we belittle them here in America.  Our women aren’t forced to wear the scarf, but they are too often treated as sex objects, take less money for equal work, are graded like beef or homework, kowtow to lecherous bosses, and have their looks matter more than their brain.

When Mr. Trump talks about groping, “getting away with anything,” “and finally, “in ten years I’ll be dating you,” to a ten year-old, when he was then 46, he was inculcating dating and pleasing a man as her worth.  By lowering the bar to 10, he is not far away from the Prophet, who in his fifties married young Aisha, consummating it when she reached puberty.  It is ironic that Mr. Trump, who proposed that Muslims not be allowed into this country, was once picking out 10 year-olds for his future.  He was damned close to mimicking The Prophet.

The only suggestion I would make to Dan Savage is that “The Trump Talk” be given to all children, not just girls.

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  1. Sally Wilson Says:

    On behalf of all women, thank you Michael.

    al B[l]og [] Sent: Monday, 24 October 2016 10:57 AM To: Subject: [New post] MY STEALTHY FREEDOM AND “THE TRUMP TALK”

    Mike posted: ““Because no little girl who gets groped on a bus or in a grocery store or on a subway or in a classroom should ever have to wonder if she did something wrong.” Columnist Dan Savage, explaining “The Trump Talk,” the term coined by a woman who wrote in, de”

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