Recently, I stopped writing about politics and the presidential election mostly because it is cringe-worthy and also difficult to follow. And to be quite honest, the fact that I cannot vote because of a piece of paper is aggravating because the decisions affect me as well. Anyway, as I was searching for a topic to write about, all I saw all over the news was “Hillary this” or “Trump that” or “Kim this” (not that there’s anything wrong with Kim of course (except for the fact that she is somehow pro-Trump now??)). It’s almost as if the media is begging you to follow this bizarre presidential election and in turn I have writer’s block. See how that works out?
One particular story intrigued me as I was forced to watch the debate for two of my classes. It was the story of Alicia Machado. Machado was Miss Venezuela in 1995 and was crowned Miss Universe the following year. Much to her dismay, this was the same year Trump took ownership of the Miss Universe beauty pageant. Soon after Alicia Machado was crowned, she began to gain weight. In an interview with the New York Times (x), she says she asked the beauty pageant for help in becoming healthy again through doctors and a new diet plan. Although the pageant had agreed, the next day, Trump took her to a gym and made her work about in front of the press. When she told him she did not want to do this, he said “I don’t care” and said to the cameras “this is somebody who likes to eat” after he mentioned how many pounds she had gained. Alicia says she suffered from Bulimia and Anorexia for five years after what happened that day and continues to seek therapy even 20 years later.
Alicia has also said that Trump referred to her as “Ms. Piggy” and “Ms. Housekeeping” after she was crowned Miss Universe because of her weight gain and her race (x). When asked about these allegations, Trump told “Fox and Friends” September 26th, "She was the winner and you know, she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem. We had a real problem. Not only that, her attitude, and we had a real problem with her, so Hillary went back into the years and she found this girl -- this was many years ago. And found the girl and talked about her like she was Mother Theresa. And it wasn't quite that way but that's OK. Hillary has to do what she has to do."
This was a response to Hillary using Alicia Machado as a political weapon against Trump in the presidential debate last Tuesday. Alicia Machado has publicly come out saying that she supports Hillary and although many allegations have been made by the Trump campaign suggesting that Machado is being paid by the Clinton team or that she was granted her U.S. citizenship as bribery the Clinton campaign denies them. Trump's campaign team also started to deny the claims the Wednesday after Debate Night in a statement claiming her accounts were "totally baseless and unsubstantiated".
As if that were not enough, many rightwing news outlets such as this one published stories about Alicia Machado being a pornstar, threatening to kill a judge, not knowing who the father of her child is and posing naked for playboy magazine (although Trump posed for Playboy too and starred in a soft-core porn video for them too as seen here. Machado did pose for Playboy, twice but that is irrelevant. She did not appear in a sex tape and speculating about the father of her child has nothing to do with the issue at hand.
Alicia reportedly responded to these accusations saying (http://www.mediaite.com/tv/fmr-miss-universe-machado-on-allegation-she-was-a-murder-accomplice-im-not-a-saint-girl/) “He can say whatever he wants to say, I don’t care… You know, I have my past. Of course, everybody has a past. I’m not a saint girl. But that is not the point now.”
Trump took to twitter to say Alicia was “disgusting” and that everyone should see the sex tape she’s in (there is no sex tape). To which she so eloquently responded with:
Donald Trump once again tries to publicly denounce a woman the same way he did so infamously 20 years ago. It shows nothing has changed and that all it takes for a woman to be defamed is slut-shaming and claiming she is crazy. As Lucia Graves in The Guardian put it, Alicia Machado does not have to be a “saint” in order for her claims to be valid. Her past does not dictate the way we should treat the man who single-handedly publicly humiliated her for her body and her race. In fact, her past is completely irrelevant and in no way overshadows Trump’s actions. Trump’s tweets are his way of saying that what he did is justifiable by the fact that he thinks she is “disgusting”. They are not justifiable. His fixation with female beauty and utter disrespect for women is what led many women like Machado into downward spirals. But Alicia is fighting back and turned her suffering into a weapon against the man who made her feel like she was nothing.