Monday 19 February 2018

The fact we don't even bat an eyelid, never mind burn a bra, at ogling Trump's 'normalised' perverse comments is worrying and disheartening

Donald Trump is greeted by Brigitte Macron in Paris Photo: MICHEL EULER/AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump is greeted by Brigitte Macron in Paris Photo: MICHEL EULER/AFP/Getty Images
Fionnuala O'Leary

Fionnuala O'Leary

Groper-in-chief Donald Trump's unsolicited opinion on Brigitte Macron's physical appearance was bad enough.

The ageing pervert had another brain fart which we've all become accustomed to, or even fatigued by.

And that's the problem - it's normalised, it's nothing special and we don't even bat an eyelid, never mind burn a bra.

Old lecherous uncle Don had rolled up at a special occasion and created the usual insulting boorish behaviour that we've all become accustomed to.

But the fact that he compounded the "compliment" by nodding at her husband and commenting "Beautiful. She's in such good physical shape" was worse.

Brigitte had become an extension of Mr Macron and the French President was to be congratulated on having such a fine filly in his possession. It was akin to the compliment you'd pay a fellow dog owner in the park - "she has a lovely glossy coat, what breed is she?"

And the fact that Brigitte and Mr Macron stood awkwardly and smiled uncomfortably as they endured the misogynistic, narcissistic behaviour of a man who represents the mind-set of a lot of people from both genders should be a concern for us all.

In the Hollywood version of this event, Brigitte would have turned on her heel and refused to engage with such an ignorant ass.

Mr Macron would have followed his wife and cancelled the visit. Dinner in the Eiffel Tower would not have happened.

But, of course, this is real life and we all must endure the sycophantic and patriarchal behaviour which envelopes the vast majority of business and politics and get on with the abject harassment for the good of the greater issue.

It was reminiscent of two weeks ago when RTÉ's Catriona Perry stood in front of an ogling Mr Trump as he near congratulated Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on having a journalist with "a nice smile on her face so I bet she treats you well".

The inner Catriona probably wanted to tell Mr Trump where to go. The professional Catriona was forced to endure it and inwardly pray for the awkward moment to end.

For any right-thinking woman to cause a fuss, will instantly label her a hysterical feminist and incur the wrath and attention of a wider group.

And speaking of the feminist label - Mr Macron himself has previously declared himself one. But even he, the charismatic president of France, the self-proclaimed "proudly feminist" leader, has to grin and bear the ogling of his wife because to cause a fuss is just not worth it.

As I sat among an online news conference with a team made up of mostly young women, I was disheartened to see the lack of anger Mr Trump's latest misogynistic antics have stirred. "That's just the way he is, there's nothing you can do about it." "He's said worse, it's just the way he is, we don't take him seriously." "Sure Bill Clinton probably said the same."

These are young, bright, ambitious women in their 20s who are fatigued into apathy by the behaviour of a man who tells the world it's OK to judge a woman on looks alone and judge another man on the appearance of his significant other. It's a worrying level of acceptance. And before this gets perceived as a feminist backlash against any compliments by men towards women, that's not what it is.

Her shape is not your business, Mr Trump, and her shape is certainly not her husband's achievement.

Irish Independent

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