Why a Trump Presidency Could Affect Our Sons as Much as Our Daughters
In the past week, we’ve heard plenty of daughter talk. Politicians have taken a debatable moral high ground to protect their daughters against an out-of-control misogynist candidate. But, as a mother of a young son, most of my time I wonder how the next presidency will affect him.
I’m disgusted by Trump but I’m also appalled by a culture that shrugs his comments off. A female friend of mine shook the tape off with an “all men are gross” and a relative said, “That’s just locker room banter. It doesn’t mean anything.”
Here’s the thing. It means a lot.
I know men like Donald Trump. All women do. I’ve felt the chill go up my spine walking home late at night, the embarrassment of men making kissy noises at me on the street, I’ve felt the awkwardness of a come-on from a boss at work. After experiences like this, after a tape like this emerges, you begin to wonder, is this how men talk when they are alone? Is this how men talk at work?
But, no, I can’t wonder this. Or maybe I won’t. I’m a feminist. I’m also wife to a good man and mother to a son.
So what do I believe? I believe there are male coworkers that truly see me as their equal – not their property. I believe there are men who aren’t disgusted by Trump because they have a daughter they have to protect but because they believe in human decency. I believe that misogynistic goons should be held accountable for their “locker room talk.”s
We need to raise our sons to respect all people. We need them to recognize offensive behavior when they hear it. We need them to know that terms like “locker room banter” are used to gloss over rape culture - as if boyish mischief could mask a 59-year-old man bragging about sexual assault. We need them to know that you don’t climb the ladder by putting other people down. We need them to know that words matter.
I can’t believe that all grown men bond in the dark corners of the office by objectifying women. I can’t shrug it off, like my friend, with, “All men are gross.” I can’t because I know decent men. I am raising one.