Donald J. Trump just keeps on proving that he is the complete opposite of a ladies’ man.
During his campaign rally in Grand Rapids, MI on December 21st, he sprang a series of attacks on Hillary Clinton that could only be construed as sexist. First, he speculated as to where Clinton was when she arrived to the stage a few seconds late following the commercial break during Saturday’s Democratic debate.
“What happened to her?” the business mogul and Republican frontrunner repeatedly asked the audience. “I know where she went last night, it’s disgusting…I don’t want to talk about it.” Trump intimated that Clinton was using the bathroom during the break, and was apparently shocked that women perform the same bodily functions that men do.
The sexist onslaught didn’t stop there. Later in his speech, he drove a vulgar dig into Clinton about her defeat against President Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary elections. “She was favored to win, and she got schlonged,” he practically roared with glee. For the uninitiated, a schlong is a penis. A large one. Essentially, losing a primary election is equivalent to getting railed by a big ol’ dick.
It is easy to dismiss Trump’s comments as boorish (at best) and ignorant (at worst), but there is something more insidious lurking within his sexist rhetoric.
By using images of biological functions and processes, Trump is evoking his fear of the abject, whether he realizes it or not (my guess is no). Coined in 1982 by Julia Kristeva in Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, abjection means that humans are scared of anything that disturbs the social order, puts us at risk for being cast off, or makes us question a potential breakdown between “ourselves” and “the other.”
Basically, human beings have a subconscious fear of that which makes us confront our “corporeal reality.” It explains why most people are grossed out by blood, vomit, urine and waste. The sights, sounds and smells are just too real for comfort. The fact that we are barely one evolutionary step away from copulating and crapping in the woods is unnerving to us, whether we realize it or not. Anything that remotely reminds us of that is automatic grounds for revulsion and rejection.
Abjection has long been a feminist issue. In Managing the Monstrous Feminine: Regulating the Reproductive Body, Jane M. Ussher explains how the “fecund female body” has been regulated, revered and reviled in medicine, mythology, art and culture throughout history. Barbara Creed also draws on Kristeva’s work in The Monstrous Feminine, which explores how women are vehicles of abject terror in horror movies.
This is not the first time that Trump has reduced women to their “gross” bodily functions. He ignited outrage when he commented that Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly “had blood coming out of her wherever” after the GOP debate this past August. This was in response to Kelly questioning him if his comments that women were “fat slobs, dogs, pigs and disgusting animals” (his comments about comedian Rosie O’Donnell) constituted appropriate commentary for a president to be spouting.Although it is widely held by feminists that PMS is mostly a social construct, one aspect of menstruation that isn’t constructed is the shame and stigma surrounding PMS and menstrual periods. Girls are taught very early that periods are gross and hormones will turn you into a shrieking banshee during “that time of the month.” These attitudes are suggestive of abjection of the female form.
Trump’s comments, then, must really underscore how he views women. I don’t want to put words in Trump’s mouth, but does he really see women as raging she-beasts barely in control of their bodies? More importantly, should a guy like this be holding the highest office in the county? For Trump’s sake, he better not have any women in his Cabinet at the White House if he becomes president. Otherwise, he’ll have to fire them or they’ll wind up shitting and bleeding all over the carpets.