Is it acceptable to laugh at Donald Trump’s mushroom?
Weigh any guilt over enjoying Stormy Daniels’s revelation against Trump’s hurting of women
Not so super Mario? An artist’s impression of Little Donald. Photograph: Nintendo
I see Stormy Daniels has a book out and everyone’s talking about a certain aesthetic judgment she makes. Is this really where we are now: judging how penises look? James, by email
Yes. So, for anyone who has been living under a rock for the past week, Daniels has indeed written a book in which she describes Donald Trump’s penis as “smaller than average – like the mushroom character in Mario Kart”. Try to enjoy your Nintendo Switch now, people.
This, of course, is not the first time we have had cause to discuss the president’s genitals. Marco Rubio started this in the 2016 election when he made some crack about Trump’s “small hands”. Trump, doing the United States proud, excitedly seized on this and used a Republican nominations debate to assure the American people there “is no problem, I guarantee”. Honestly, it was like the Founding Fathers all over again. Write a musical about that, Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Adorably, Rubio was last seen on Twitter, complaining “sign of our times ? the F-word is now routinely used in news stories, tweets, etc. Who made that decision???” The same guy who decided it was totally fine to talk about penis size in a presidential election, Marco.)
Is it right that the world is now laughing at Trump’s penis? He made a fortune from Miss Universe, which is all about reducing women to their anatomical parts
But back to Trump. Is it right that the world is now laughing at his penis? Given that Trump made a fortune from Miss Universe, which is all about reducing women to their anatomical parts and judging them accordingly, this all feels like a rather pleasing O Henry story. No Mr America crown for you, Mr President. Only men with penises shaped like Luigi get that accolade. And there is some poetic justice in the world now laughing at Trump’s penis when he is currently trying to get Brett Kavanaugh on to the supreme court, primarily – as far as I can tell – to overturn Roe v Wade. You want to control women’s vaginas, Donald? We’ll laugh at your penis. Men are afraid that women will laugh at them and women are afraid that men will kill them, as the Margaret Atwood quote goes. And given that banning abortion, as Trump wishes to do, will end up costing women’s lives, it seems fair enough that we get to laugh at him. It’s not exactly a quid pro quo, but it will do.
Shall I go further? I think I shall: when I hear men – a gender that has spent the past, oh, several millennia, explicitly discussing the appearance of women’s breasts, butts, legs, etc – suddenly affecting horror at the idea of a woman laughing at a man’s penis, I hear a certain music on the wind, and that music is a tune played by the world’s smallest violin. (Any man who wishes to write in with a #notallmen-type complaint is welcome to write it down on a piece of paper, roll it up tight and stick it in any aperture on his anatomy where the sun does not shine.)
But enough of him (and little him). Let’s look at Stormy Daniels herself. I am currently listening to a podcast (so zeitgeisty, me) called Slow Burn, which examines the Bill Clinton impeachment scandal. If anyone out there needs a reminder in how women accused of having affairs with male politicians are traditionally treated, then Slow Burn will provide it. “Cheap”, “trashy” and “slutty” are just some of the words used about the women Clinton was accused of harassing or sleeping with – and that was just from the ostensible good guys. The New York Times’s Maureen Dowd described Monica Lewinsky as “the girl who was too tubby to be in the high school ‘in’ crowd”. Erica Jong famously snarked: “My dental hygienist pointed out that she has third-stage gum disease.” You see, guys? We are not only mean to you. We’ve been horrible to women for almost as long as you have.
Much has been written about Daniels’s refusal to be shamed. But what is really remarkable about her is how she has turned the whole narrative around. Not only will she not be humiliated; she will humiliate him. And why not, damn it? She wasn’t the married one. She is not the one with the power to ruin women’s lives by banning global abortion funding and defunding Planned Parenthood while having bragged in the past how, when you’re a star, you can grab women “by the pussy”. He is. We may well live in a postshame era, but Daniels knows how to hurt Trump. And given how much Trump is hurting women, I think this is one instance in which we can indulge in some guiltless body-shaming. Go get him, Stormy. – Guardian