Notes from the Locker Room

Last night I made my 4,160th trip to a gym locker room since 1996. (based on my the fact that I have averaged 4 trips a week to my local gym for 20 years). This marks 4,160 times that I heard no discussion of grabbing a woman’s  genitals, no discussion of popping tic-tacs in preparation for kissing a woman against her will, no laughter about “hypothetical” sexual assault.

In my recent experience, these are the topics usually discussed in men’s locker rooms: Job searches, sports, marriage proposals, health problems, workout routines, TV shows.

The election is over and millions of people decided to convince themselves that bragging about sexual assault is a normal topic of discussion among men. This is not normal.

My country has elected a man who blithely normalizes talk of sexual predation. People have convinced themselves that all men are capable of talking this way. I do not want to be associated with this mindset, one that is indicative of a callous, narcissistic soul with no sense of shame or decency.

All men are not misogynists. Trump is a misogynist. Our president-elect would have us paint all men with this broad and disgusting brush. I reject this outright. It is the mindset that encourages sexual violence, the oppression of women, and the revocation of a woman’s right to live her life as a respected peer to the men around her.

Voters who disregarded or explained away Trump’s misogyny should be ashamed of themselves. Trump has no sense of shame, but most Americans do. They need to own this for the next 4 years. Don’t explain it away as locker room talk. It simply isn’t true.

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