There are two very interesting and important things going on in the world at the moment. Each one is, I believe, inextricably linked with the other. The first is that, in Donald Trump, we have the most openly misogynist president we’ve seen in our lifetime, and that’s saying a lot if, like me, you’ve lived through Lyndon Baines Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Richard Nixon. The second is the recent #MeToo movement, begun when powerful women like Asia Argento and Rose McGowan swallowed their fear and exposed Harvey Weinstein as the revolting predator everyone really already knew he was. This movement is gaining momentum, decimating the careers of other powerful sexual abusers and threatening to explode our millennia-old rape culture wide open. The proposition that I would like you to entertain for the moment is that the second phenomenon is happening, not in spite of the first, but because of it.
First, the president. Donald Trump fears and despises women. His supporters, particularly the female ones, have decided to bury their heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t true, but we all really know it is. He has thrown wildly sexist and inappropriate insults at everyone from Rosie O’Donnell to Bette Midler to Kristen Stewart to Megyn Kelly to, of course, Hillary Clinton. Then there are the many women who have accused the president of sexual harassment, assault, and rape. There are at least 17 women who have accused Trump to this point, and with what is currently going on in Hollywood and with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, I wouldn’t be surprised if those accusations make a comeback in the very near future. He has bragged considerably about what he claims is his sexual prowess, famously referring to his sex life in the 1980s as “his Vietnam.” He even confessed his true nature in the now infamous Access Hollywood tape that his followers have somehow been able to justify (at least to themselves) as merely “locker room talk.”
“I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f**k her. She was married. I moved on her like a b***h. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony t*ts and everything. She’s totally changed her look. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the p**sy. You can do anything.”
Then there is the #MeToo movement. Argento, McGowan, and other brave women, with the help of Ronan Farrow and his landmark New Yorker article, have been very successful in completely destroying the career of Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, if not the entire world. Ten short years ago, this simply would not have been possible, and the multitudes of women who have been abused and destroyed by the preponderance of male power, not only in Hollywood but in every single profession that can be imagined, knew this in their bones. Now, the Weinstein effect is becoming a wave that is sweeping away at least one new powerful and famous man in its tumultuous tide every single day. This is not going to end soon either. You would be making a very safe bet if you put money on hundreds of other men who have abused their power joining Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., and Judge Roy Moore before this thing is finished. Gal Gadot announced just today that she would only perform in Wonder Woman II as long as Brett Ratner and his production company were removed from the film completely. Rarely, in the scope of human history, have there been examples of women wielding this kind of power.
What I am suggesting is that it is not merely coincidental that these two phenomena are occurring at the same time. The #MeToo movement would not be happening if it wasn’t for the Trump presidency. The last thing on earth that Donald Trump would ever want is for the patriarchy, that has benefitted him and his ancestors and sons so enormously, to crumble and disappear because of him, but that is what is happening anyway. The Trump presidency could very well be the last and dying gasp of white, male power in the world. The nationalist and misogynist movements spearheaded by Trump and Steve Bannon look very much more like the pathetic end of something than it does the beginning of anything. And we should rejoice that it is.
There is a revolution happening and it’s one we should welcome with open arms. The brutal, cutthroat competition model of male power has brought us to this point in human history, but does anybody really think it’s going to take us any further? We stand on the brink of the abyss, with animal species dying off at an unprecedented rate, climate change driven super hurricanes and other natural disasters happening several times a year now, and this planet that we depend on becoming unlivable at a far greater speed than we would have ever imagined. The people who support Trump have chosen to close their eyes and not believe these things are true, but nobody with any level of real expertise in a scientific field who is not beholden to corporate power will deny what is happening. We simply cannot continue as we have been. The species will not survive. If human beings are to continue, we will need a radical paradigm shift and to find some way forward other than rape. We’ll have to stop raping women, raping each other, raping the planet, raping our and our children’s future.
This isn’t the way anyone expected things to happen, with Donald Trump opening the door to female empowerment, but it could quite possibly be what happens anyway. It’s as simple as this. We change or we die, and this might very likely be the way we begin to change. It will not be easy and it will certainly not be painless but I believe it is necessary, and that all us, men and women alike, will be the better for it when it happens. Well, the predators who are destroyed along the way might not be better for it but I am okay with that.
Donald Trump is, without a doubt, the least likely and most unwitting and unwilling feminist icon we could ever imagine. If things go the way they could, however, he might just end up becoming one by accident.
[Featured Image by John Minchillo/AP Images]