Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

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February 24, 2024

"Locker room talk" perpetuates rape culture

Access Hollywood tapes from 2005 have revealed Donald Trump making comments about being able to kiss and grab women without their consent because “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
Following the release of the tapes, Trump apologized for the lewd comments. However, everything he said afterwards completely canceled out any sincere sentiments. He says, “Let’s be honest, we’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today.”
This was, however, not the most shocking part of the ordeal. When he was asked about these tapes during the second presidential debate, Trump apologized and then dismissed his comments again as mere “locker room talk” before quickly changing the subject.
It seems like Trump is all too willing to make misogynist comments about women, but is not willing to take responsibility for them. By labeling his words and his actions as simply “locker room talk,” Trump is perpetuating ongoing rape culture in the United States. The way he flippantly dismissed his comments shows that he does not find sexual assault to be a serious issue for women, and more so that comments about sexual assault are nothing serious; they are merely “locker room talk.”
Phrases like “locker room talk” show women that their bodies, vulnerabilities, and boundaries will not be respected, but will rather be made fun of and taken advantage of. Women and their bodies should not be degraded to “locker room talk.” Such a phrase seems to imply that sexual assault is not a real issue, but rather something men talk about amongst themselves and do not act upon.
Sexual assault is an inexcusable crime, and there are men who will act upon this “locker room talk,” (especially now that Trump has excused it). Trump believes that he can take advantage of a woman, and this reflects the way many men have taken—and will continue to take—advantage of women simply because they believe it is permissible.
Furthermore, Trump’s comment about focusing on “real issues”  was absolutely absurd. Growing rape culture in the U.S. is a real issue. The issue is in the name itself. The fact that rape has been labeled as a culture in the U.S. is absolutely despicable. The fact that women have to be afraid of walking by themselves at night, or that they have to constantly be conscious of what they are given at a party, or even that young girls are told to cover up because their skin is a “distraction” to the boys in school, is absolutely absurd.
Though Trump claims to be a changed man, it does not excuse the fact that he insinuated that sexual assault was a “distraction” from the “real issues” facing America. Sexual assault is a crime, and even more so, powerful men who have sizeable followings are ignoring it.
In an interview with CNN, regarding the phrase “locker room talk,” Ben Carson said, “Call it whatever you need to call it to make it feel good to you” and later goes on to tell the anchor that part of the reason why people are reacting to the phrase “locker room talk” so negatively is because they haven’t heard a lot of comments that sexualize women.
Carson’s comments illustrate the abominable way men—specifically men in power—have come to view women in this country. Sexual assault cannot be justified. It should not be something that needs to be renamed in order for others who are guilty of such a crime to feel better about themselves.
Let me get a few things straight. Rape is not a culture. It is not a “distraction” from the “real” issues. It is not excusable because “boys will be boys” and they are just taking part in “locker room talk.” Rape is a crime, and it is inexcusable. Women are human beings and should not be taken advantage of because men feel entitled to women’s bodies or because women haven’t heard inappropriate comments before.
Donald Trump has gotten away with the horrendous way he treats women, and this makes two terrible things clear to the American public: one, that women and their bodies are not important because the man taking advantage of them are “stars”; and two, that making lewd comments about women and acting on them is okay because “locker room talk” cannot be taken seriously.
Sexual assault is a crime, and when affluent and powerful men like Donald Trump diminish it into trivial “locker room talk,” we see that women in this country have a lot more to fear and a lot more to fight against.

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"Locker room talk" perpetuates rape culture