As you’ve probably heard, during last week’s presidential debate, Clinton brought up that Donald Trump called Miss Universe Alicia Machado “Miss Piggy” (she put on too much weight after she won!) and “Miss Housekeeping” (she’s Latina). As LGM points out, while Trump consistently denies saying the things he just said, he didn’t deny this one — in fact he took to Fox News, brought up the topic, and claimed his remarks were right: Machado was a fatty! And that’s such a big issue with Trump that managers of Trump properties had to hide staffers who weren’t sufficiently sexy when Trump visited, otherwise he’d want them fired.
I think this is a good example of what makes sexism so tough to beat (not that racism is a cakewalk, as the past couple of years have shown). As I’ve mentioned before, it’s still possible to construct a life with minimal contact with blacks or Latinos (for example) except in securely subordinate roles (though as Obama shows, it’s not as easy as it used to be). Most sexists don’t want to construct a life without women. For many men, women are essential because that’s how you prove your manhood — Trump, for example, defines his by his supposed sexual prowess and the hotness of his women, whether his wives, mistresses, daughter or subordinate. They’re hot, he’s in charge, so he’s thereby one hell of a man.
Part of that manly superiority is his right to judge their worth, which means judging their physical assets. And women who don’t measure up are not fit to be part of the greatness that’s the Trump empire; keeping non-hot women around reflects badly on Trump and the Trump name that he merchandises so much. Similarly, although Trump has announced he’s going to go after Clinton by bringing up her husband’s infidelities, his criticism of Bill C. back in the 1990s wasn’t that he cheated, it was that the women weren’t hot enough. Which made Bill a loser, while his wife is a loser because she wasn’t hot enough to keep him interested (which I imagine is the subtext of why Trump thinks it’s a relevant attack).
And I don’t think Trump’s alone in that kind of belief. Some years back, the creator of the old Girls Gone Wild video series said that he much preferred filming women he had to talk into performing than women who liked the idea — presumably because the latter are women acting on their own agency, the first group are women he’s been able to seduce with his awesome charm.
Of course, Trump has no reason to think being a pig will hurt him. It hasn’t so far; and plenty of right-wingers are, of course supporting him, including Newt Gingrich, the Daily Caller (their take: OMG, did you know that slut Machado appeared topless in Playboy?), and Jonah Goldberg. After all, to the white male Trumpites, he’s saving them from Clinton, who will take the country away from its real owners.
Unfortunately as Trump’s unlikely to give up the national stage even if he loses, we’ll be seeing his sexist crap for a while to come.