There are two things that worry me most about Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy and the national, even international, megaphone it gives him. The first is that he’s so outrageous that he makes a zealot like Ted Cruz seem “reasonable”, a terrifying prospect. Second, and equally worrisome, Trump is giving voice, cover, and even legitimacy (in some people’s eyes, anyway) to rampant bigotry and misogyny.
It’s not that a certain segment of Americans weren’t already complete misogynists and bigots. They are. They have just been too ashamed to be public about it because the rest of us would pile on the minute they tried to air their offensive views. Trump and the bigots and misogynists who adore him sneeringly call this “political correctness”. The rest of us call it “not being a complete and utter dick.”
Trump has managed to erase much of that by “saying what people are really thinking”. It doesn’t matter that it’s not what MOST people are thinking. All that matters is that enough Americans hold these disgusting views and opinions that, once they are unleashed, it looks remarkably like this is what America is.
It is not.
One of the most vile examples of all of this showed up on my Facebook stream yesterday. A photographer named Hannah Hawkes from Rosepine, Louisiana put up this hideous image on her Facebook page on Sunday with the tagline, “Finally, Peace on Earth!”:
As you can see, this delightful family has a husband, a wife, a young son, and two young daughters. The wife and two daughters have their mouths taped over and their hands bound. The gleeful young boy is giving a hearty “thumbs up” while the charming father holds up a sign that reads “Peace on earth”, suggesting, of course that, now that the womenfolk have had their mouths sealed and their hands tied, he and his son can finally get some peace.
It is, simply put, a “joke” based on the abuse and degradation of women.
It’s shocking, of course, but what’s even more shocking is that Hannah Hawkes, after receiving a tremendous amount of negative feedback, put up a second Facebook post acting like she was somehow a victim in all of this:
After being silent, now isn’t that ironic, I would like to speak! I have been called every name in the book, and have received some very hateful and vulgar comments and messages. I would like to say that as a female I do NOT and have never promoted violence to women! I do not support abuse, or the degradation of women. My controversial photo was taken by request by the family, and was in no way meant to promote abuse. This photo was taken with humor in mind, and was meant as a comical Christmas photo. I personally know this family, and have known them for many years. They are not abusive to their children in any shape or form. Also, I would like to add that no one was harmed during the process! So everyone have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and MAY GOD BLESS you and yours!
Except, of course, by putting that image up on Facebook, she absolutely WAS promoting violence toward and the abuse and degradation of women. There isn’t anything “comical” about her image unless you find abuse of women to be funny. Period.
In the description of her business, she says that she’s a “newly established, local photographer” who “will do anything from family, to maternity, to engagement sessions and much more.”
When she says “anything”, she clearly means it.
But perhaps the worst thing about all of this is that those who are showing her support in the comments on her two posts are largely women. Like Hawkes herself they simply don’t see anything wrong with this. Even the mother in the photo thought it was okay to put her two young daughters in an image of subjugation and degradation of women. It’s all a clear demonstration of how much “everyday misogyny” we have in our American society, misogyny that is viewed by some, including its victims, as okay and normal.
It’s not okay, of course, and we need to make sure that it’s not ever seen as normal. I don’t give a damn if Trump and his supporters demonize it as being “politically correct”. I welcome their epithets if that’s the best they can do.
Since I took the screenshot above at 6:30 a.m. this morning, Hawkes’ Facebook page is no longer up. Whether she took it down herself or Facebook took it down because it violated their terms of service is irrelevant. The fact is that, despite the new voice Trump has given to those who think bigotry and misogyny is just fine, the rest of us absolutely do not and will not allow those voices to soil how our country is perceived.
So, back to the closet with your hateful racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny and other intolerance. We’re not having it. If we see it, we’re speaking out loudly and immediately. If you refuse to evolve with the rest of society, you’ll have to express your pathetic selves in the shameful darkness of your demon-filled closets where such expressions belong.