I’m not shocked by Trump’s “locker room talk”

By now, I think everyone in North America has heard about the recently released footage of Donald Trump’s conversation with Billy Bush. A lot of people are outraged that a man who could be the next president of the United States would say such things, and they’re right to be. His words are disgusting and reprehensible, without a doubt. But am I surprised by the things he said? Am I shocked? No.

I’m not shocked because I’ve heard it all before. I’ve heard it while walking down the hallway of my school, while out with my friends at the bar, while reading comments on the internet. I’ve heard it from old men, young men, men of all colours and creeds. I’ve even heard it from women.

I’ve heard it so many times that it has ceased to be startling. Words like the ones we all heard on tape no longer give me pause. Yes, they’re sickening, offensive, intolerable, whatever adjective you want to pull out of your thesaurus. But they’re hardly surprising. These sorts of comments have become normal, accepted, even celebrated by some. It’s normal for a man to say and think that he can have any woman he wants, whenever he wants, because that’s how society still portrays women. We are seen as objects intended for male gratification, or as weak-willed and fickle, willing to go to whoever is the biggest “star”. Or else we are seen as coy, playing games with men by pretending that we’re not interested when we really just want them to be more forceful. This is the cultural mindset that led to “locker room talk”. It’s the same one that leads to 3 months in jail for “20 minutes of action” — but that’s a discussion for another time.

So to everyone who’s now crying foul on Donald Trump, I’m in complete agreement with you, but you can’t tell me you’ve never heard it before. I hope that next time you hear this kind of thing from someone who’s just joking around, you call them out — because otherwise, offensive, misogynistic, braggadocious comments about sexual assault will always be “locker room talk”.