The Political Power Of The Pussy

Vaginas have taken over politics, but not in a fun way. Pussygate (which is the only appropriate term for the Donald Trump tape leak) did not introduce fannies into the 2016 election—there were always there. And though Billy Bush helped to bring them to the forefront, twats have been running the show for over a year.

When discussing the 2016 election and vaginas, it’s important to get one elephant in the room out of the way: only one of the candidates has one. But the previous lack of lady caves in the political process has never stopped Congress and pundits from obsessing over vaginas. Abortion, birth control, and the quest to defund Planned Parenthood are regular facets of the GOP platform. The 2015 Republican primary essentially turned into a race to see who could pull Planned Parenthood’s funding the fastest, which in turn launched “female issues” into the headlines. “Female Issues” here meaning vaginas. Because we cannot forget that everything is about vaginas.

In hindsight, we should have seen pussygate coming. The first warning sign was when Trump weirdly decided to allude to Fox journalist Megyn Kelly’s supposed menstruation (“There was blood coming out of her eyes. There was blood coming out of her…whatever.”) Then there was the (quickly killed) question of whether his ex-wife Ivana was describing rape when she wrote in her biography that her husband “violated” her during a scene depicting a harrowing domestic dispute. In the aftermath, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen insisted that someone can’t rape their own wife, legally. For the record, marital rape is definitely illegal.

It’s not surprising, then, that the campaign season has devolved into Ana Navarro yelling the word pussy at Scottie Nell Hughes live on CNN. The campaign season has turned into nothing but pussies: who has one, who is one, and who controls them.

The Trump campaign has tried to take his verbal description of sexual assault and paint a different picture—that his words were bad, but describing sexual assault is nothing to actually assaulting women. Which is how a group of women who claim to have been sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton were then paraded into a room, forced to sit across from their alleged abuser, and watch as his wife (and loudest defender) waged battle with a man who also has a series of sexual assault lawsuits against him.

Although Bill Clinton isn’t running (by the way, did you know we already elected him in 1992?) his history has put us in a strange situation. The 2016 handbook for sexual assault says we need to provide the victims with the benefit of the doubt—even if in doing so, we are casting aspersions at Billy, our new favorite silver fox. Then there’s the uncomfortable truth that Hillary Clinton was actually vicious in her treatment of some of these women. So we’re forced to deal with two narratives: one which shows Hillary as the wronged spouse, defending herself and her family against her husband’s affairs. The other is Hillary as the enabler, further victimizing women who have already suffered at the hands of a powerful sexual predator.

A crucial part of this narrative is contextualizing the era. Clinton’s “progressive” standards in 1992 make her appear archaically conservative by 2016 standards. The way in which we as a society approached and discussed sexual assault in 1992 was different. Clinton’s scandal launched the topic of sexual assault into headlines, placing it (possibly for the first time) within the realms of kitchen table discussion in American homes. As a result, we began looking at sexual assault more closely. Around the same time, Katie Koestner’s 1991 TIME magazine interview launched the concept of “date rape.” The dialogue was changing, the definition of assault was evolving, and we became more aware of the victims and impact of our words and actions. A lot changed between 1996 and 2005—which is when Trump was caught on camera bragging about his ability to sexually assault women because he’s famous.

But because of Trump and Bill Clinton, the vaginal tone of the 2016 election has shifted—we’re no longer discussing what women can do to with their special flowers. Now it’s about what men can do to them.

***

Sexual urges and presidential politics go hand-in-hand. Trump’s bid is not the first presidential prospect that could hinge on a vagina. By now, all of America is aware that Founding Father and political bae Alexander Hamilton dashed his hopes of a presidency on the shores of Maria Reynold’s hurt locker, effectively taking him out of the running for the 1800 presidential election. In my (selective and very narrow) interpretation of history, the most constitutionally important election, and subsequent presidency of Thomas Jefferson, is due to these circumstances. Really, Louisiana should be thanking Mrs. Reynold’s snatch.

Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Warren Harding (to name a small few) had well known affairs while in office, often with married women. Ronald Reagan posthumously became the subject of an assault accusation, and Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with his slave Sally Hemings is infamous and deeply unsettling to think about. And let us not forget John F. Kennedy, whose prolific sex life is extremely well documented and may have bordered the lines of sexual assault. JFK—who had his own tryst with a White House intern—never saw any political blowback from his multiple affairs, leaving Bill Clinton the envious position as the only sitting president (publicly) brought to his knees by vaginas.

See Also

Unfortunately for Bill, the timing of his affairs was just badly planned. In 1987, Democratic presidential hopeful Gary Hart saw his campaign ruined by his extra-marital affair. As a result, Hart suspended his campaign and cleared the way for Michael Dukakis to lead the party in his charge against George H.W. Bush. As you might have noticed, he lost. But the reverberations of Hart’s scandal impacted more than just the Bush legacy—he opened the door to a new era of political reporting, in which nothing was hands off, and affairs could no longer be dismissed.

***

In this election, we have feared the vagina voters, the mythical league of women who will only vote for Clinton because she is also a woman. We have lampooned identity politics, blamed them for the rise of Clinton, Obama, and their ilk. But 2016 has become nothing but identity politics—or pussy politics, if you prefer. “Women’s issues” are not the most important problems facing the American electorate. Yes, when women succeed, we all succeed, but empowerment and equality won’t fix our debt, improve our education, overhaul our criminal justice system, reinvigorate our economy, or take down ISIS.

But 50.4 percent of our country is female, and the other 49.6 percent of the population like to remind us that because they also have mothers and daughters and sisters, they are equally offended and hurt by Trump’s sexual assault banter. Under that rational then, the treatment, discussion of and disregard for vagina-bearing individuals is possibly the only issue that impacts all Americans equally.

Perhaps this is inevitable. Maybe we’ve been heading down this path since the 1920s, when women won the vote and began a (sometimes) quiet and relentless revolution. The political sphere has been fighting Roe v. Wade for 40 years. We’ve been arguing over birth control for longer. Sexual assaults and extramarital affairs are being dragged out into the sunlight, re-examined and evaluated. Sex—the action of, and the biological classification—has dominated our modern political platform for decades. Let’s not forget that 2016 was the year that we dragged high schoolers’ genitals into the headlines in a debate over where they were allowed to use the restroom. There’s a saying that “the future is female.” Perhaps this means a female president, or perhaps it’s a broader scope—that the future dialogue and discussion will be female. That we will shift the narrative, and power will stop being defined by what’s between your legs, or who’s grabbing it.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll To Top