On the surface, it looks like a good time for women. Victims of rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and men’s creepiness in general seem to finally be listened to, granted headlines and airtime and taken seriously. But why now? Why are men deciding to talk about this – with a heavy accompaniment of their own clear moral condemnation and disgust – now?
It was hard not to admire Louis Theroux for fully embracing his journalistic shortcomings in his documentary-length investigation into his previous documentary on Savile. He placed his moral competency in the limelight and did his darndest to finally come at this from the right angle. The right angle has, of course, been from women who were raped and abused by him. And also women who had heard the rumours. And from women who had been raped and abused by other men and saw all the same mannerisms in him. This is a lot of women. This is a lot of leads to the right angle. Savile is suspected of raping and abusing at least 500 (and as many as 1000) women and children. These are dots which join together to paint a big picture of a big problem that Theroux really failed to look into in his self-examining documentary. Why do women feel that they can’t speak out? Why don’t we listen to women? Why do we only believe it when there is over 500 womens-worth of evidence of it? Why can men not see the signs of such a abhorrent creature?
These questions are so wide – they concern men as a whole, and women as a whole. They are concerning society – they are going to need answers that talk about how men and women are socialised and conditioned. This is going to be about feminism, but this kind of feminism is really not sexy at the moment. It would not have been cool and sexy for Theroux to have talked about women being raised to doubt themselves, to only build men up and never rip them down, and to embrace being sex objects. Or, to talk about how men are raised to think the world is there for their plucking, women included, of all ages, subdued for them, there to reflect their sparkling personalities and feed their egos. How else did Savile grow an ego so big he thought he could touch paralysed girls, and girls feel just as violated by speaking out about it? And furthermore, how else could us women across the country recognise that familiar cross-sex dynamic?
Enough rhetorical questions. The answer is that men don’t listen to women and Louis Theroux didn’t either. When I saw footage of Savile grappling like a racoon in the rubbish at a young woman, I knew. When Savile had his PA be his mother and then throw her away, I knew. When I saw that he wears nothing but disgusting tracksuits while expecting women to be gorgeous, I knew. When I saw him dominate every conversation and look smug at being ‘mysterious’, I knew. When I saw that fat cigar in his mouth all the time, I knew. Theroux decided to take an entire documentary to look into it all, bless him. All we really needed to see was the final interview, in which Sam, a woman who was molested by her grandfather and then abused by Savile as a young girl, talks about how her reasonably formed belief that this is just what men are like, naturally meant she did not bother telling anyone that Savile was like this too. Before telling Louis, she warns him it won’t sound nice and the camera lingers on his face. When she says that she still has to keep the good from her abusers because otherwise she would have had no goodness in her childhood, Louis notes that he too deals with the fact he thought Jimmy was his friend. But he didn’t know. Finally, she says “to me, it was really obvious”. He says, “it’s like quizzes, it’s only obvious if you know the answer”. Dear men, a demographic which is over half the population have the answers to the quiz.
So the outrage from men concerning Trump’s comments about forcibly kissing women and grabbing them by their pussies, seems comforting, because it seems like men are suddenly taking women a bit more seriously. It seems like after all, they do want to know the answers to the quiz, despite being friends with men who publicly degrade women, insisting that they’re ‘nice guys really’. For some reason, how men treat women shouldn’t be indicative of their character. The fact that Trump was friends with paedophile and rapist Jeffrey Epstein, is being charged with raping a 13-year old girl, calls women ugly and fat, induces eating disorders in women he works with, and can only see women – including his own daughter – as sex objects, had us women worried that they were going to keep the world comfy and welcoming for the likes of Trump and therefore didn’t give a shit about us. Honestly, I don’t know why this latest comment has been the tipping point. It seems to be that the wind has blown just the right way and the right moment for this to become an opportunity men are seizing to display with vigour their moral disgust at such comments and the misogynistic attitudes they convey. In place, I suspect, of actually checking and changing their own ways. Women knew, a long time ago, and we could have done with some solidarity from you, a very, very long time ago. If you are shocked at these revelations and think voicing your condemnation is the least bit interesting so far down this path to hell, you are not listening to women and you are not particularly helpful to us. Trump is the epitome of one of ‘those men’, he is a narcissist in the classical clinical sense, he is delusional regarding his abilities and power, his entitlement is off the scale, he lies, he is insecure, he is nasty to his core. Listing his shortcomings and offensive views would be a boring exercise in excessive use of the comma. If you couldn’t see it in him, then God help you, you blind puppy.
So try to properly see this from women’s point of view – try it, you might like it – and think about how discomforting this world is. Trump, ultimate lad from university, treating your close fellow women like sex dolls and ripping whatever he wants from the world and giving nothing back, has a hole for him in this world. And it’s very president-shaped. It’s a shape with the most power in the world. Trump’s latest stunt of placing the spotlight onto rape victims of Bill Clinton, churns my stomach and boils my blood until I hear a whistling in my ears, because he using the most incredible strongest women, torn apart and then glued back together like Kintsugi pottery with their own wisdom and insightfulness into something even more beautiful, to get his dangerous destructive hands wrapped around the world. There is no compassion from Trump or the men using this as an opportunity to flaunt their disdain so as they are not studied as scrupulously themselves, here.