Why Trump's Comments Aren't Locker Room Talk
Politics and Activism

Why Trump's Comments Aren't Locker Room Talk

Men should not be able to casually discuss sexual assault and be excused

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Why Trump's Comments Aren't Locker Room Talk

Trump's comments which surfaced recently, dating from several years ago, have been well-circulated and there has been a wealth of opinions regarding what he said. The tape in which he insinuated one can do anything with a woman by grabbing her by the genitals has caused quite a stir that has even Republicans and his own running mate unable to defend him. However, there is a lot of referral to these comments as "locker room talk." Trump himself called the remarks that, and I have seen many on social media label the conversation as the same.

This is a big problem. Trump's words openly condone and brag about sexual assault. He says he has done it, implies it's okay, and encourages it as a means to exert one's power as "a star." He finds it amusing, like a hobby, and is seemingly amazed at what he can force women to do just because he is famous. This kind of casual sexism has never been and should never be acceptable. Writing it off as "locker room talk" is to write off the millions of women sexually assaulted at alarming rates in this country and in the world. Regarding this arrogance and entitlement to women as normal behavior and topics of conversation for men to have, to encourage sexual assault among each other as okay, is to foster men like Brock Turner--- men who are convinced it's all right and simply "being a man" to coerce a woman to engage in sexual acts because they believe they have an inherent power over women and should be sleeping with women whatever way possible. Who see a woman and think they can have that woman, regardless of her opinion on the matter. Furthermore, his expression of being unable to control himself around attractive women should insult men at large. Men are not animals who cannot control themselves, nor should anyone be able to cling to that excuse and get away with it.


The common phrase "boys will be boys" has the same effect as "locker room talk." It fails to hold men accountable for what they should very well know is unacceptable, and no amount of masculinity excuses it. It implies that no one has any place to condemn it because it's just expected and average language for men to use when they are expressing masculinity. This is no healthy way to express masculinity. It is toxic. Trump's words are no more "locker room talk" than Brock Turner's assaulting a woman was "20 minutes of action." The way we discuss and use language to articulate such violence as Trump's sexist comments matters. It can either preserve and perpetuate a system in which women's bodies and consent do not matter, or it can challenge it.

Merriam-Webster defines the "locker-room" modifier as "depicting or referring to sexual matters in a way that is unacceptable in polite society." Trump's comment are in no way simply discussing "sexual matters" impolitely. Sexual assault is not sex, for one, it is a violent crime perpetrated for power and violation, and his words go far beyond anything considered "unacceptable in polite society." It is unacceptable period. His words do not even fit into the concept. Labeling them as such is furthering rape culture; it is saying that condoning and boasting about sexual assault is simply not polite, something that should just be done privately, it is saying that sexual assault is a part of "sexual matters," that grabbing a woman by the p*ssy and forcing a kiss on her is a sexual matter. A normal sexual behavior. Instead, it should be said that it should not be done at all, and that speaking positively about such actions is despicable and there is no setting for it.

In this country and in others, violence toward women and sexual assault of both men and women remains to be an epidemic. Women particularly experience sexual assault at a very young age. And it's usually not the last time. They become familiar with the ways in which men feel they can violate women and "weaker" men at a very early age. This is why many women reject the notion that Trump's comments were harmless in any way; we know his comments and suggested behavior all too well. We see right through it, and it is not "locker room talk."

As for Trump's apology, well, it's not good enough. Until his campaign stops involving sexist and racist comments, until he proves that those comments of the past are from an entirely different Trump and he's changed, until he apologizes for the behavior he insinuates and brags about in the tape and not just for saying it, until he acknowledges that women are human beings deserving of respect and equality, until he admits that outrage over his remarks are not simply part of a "distraction" given the rates of sexual assault and rape and the fear women face of both in daily life, until he stops pointing at another man's violent words and behavior toward women to excuse his own, an apology will not suffice. In the meantime, we as the public can cease calling it "locker room talk" and say outright what it is: disgusting, sexist, violent and shameful.

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