Locker room talk, barber shop talk, bar talk–whatever you want to call it–men do it and have done it since the beginning of time. It’s sort of a rite of passage stepping into manhood, so to speak. And the topics? I’m sure you can guess, because it’s no secret: money, women, and sports; but not necessarily in that order.
Donald Trump calls his recent perversive comments about women he encounters “locker room talk,” although I doubt he’s ever been in a locker room as an athlete. First of all, Trump and I differ on what we consider locker room talk.
Here are some things you would say or hear in the locker room with the fellas: “Man, did you see what Brandi had on today? Man she’s fine, bro. I wouldn’t mind getting with that.”
It goes on and on, along with sexual innuendos being thrown around. Yes, some men brag about their sexual exploits with women to their boys and even embellish at bit. Would one of the fellas take it a little bit too far? Yep, too many times to count. But, there was always one voice of reason that would say, “Hold up bro. You’re crossing the line,” and then the talk would either continue or move on to something else.
Men cross the line with some of their actions because of their status and power. It’s not right, but it’s the reality we live in. Which brings us back to Trump. The things he said about women while being interviewed by Billy Bush for Access Hollywood back in 2005 about grabbing women by the p**** is not locker room talk. That’s straight up sexual assault, misogynistic, disrespectful, and predatory. To have another man co-sign this behavior and chime in is B.S.
First lady Michelle Obama commented on this behavior Thursday while campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, but it wasn’t your typical “rah rah” speech. It wasn’t even about politics. Mrs. Obama said, “This wasn’t just locker room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior and actually bragging about kissing and groping women.”
Journalists also have challenged Trump and his supporters. For example, during the second presidential debate earlier this month, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said, “You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”
Trump joins Bill Cosby as a symbol of power and status that affords him a pass for sexual impropriety. Should Trump be brought up on charges as Cosby has? Should the Republican Party force Trump to step aside? This political season is already divisive and this adds fuel to the fire. Trump says the women are lying. This is often the case when men are caught: They blame the victim. I always say, “Where there is smoke, there is fire.” Trump is known for crossing the line with women. That’s no secret. So what do we do with men like this? Tackling this issue of misogyny and toxic masculinity is going to take men to man up and start holding men accountable for their behavior.
Think about it. Trump has been exposed as an alleged sexual predator. More stories surface and more women come forward. Unfortunately, there are many more like him walking the streets, in boardrooms, and yes, maybe even locker rooms. But the locker room isn’t the blame, Mr. Trump . You are.
Just my thoughts,
Kendrick Henderson is a news and sports videographer, editor and writer. Kendrick hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and attended Tyler Junior College.
Have a question or want to suggest a topic for Kendrick? Drop a comment below.