For decades, women have been underestimated. Women were undervalued and not given the credit as being competent enough to vote which sparked the American suffragist movement which spanned for almost twenty years. Women were underestimated while men clung to the assumption that women would remain silent and scared following sexual abuse and manipulation. Although these years of silence bent some and broke others, feminism rose from the ashes alongside the #MeToo movement which started trending on social media in 2017.
Unfortunately, women continue to be undervalued. One man found guilty of disparaging women and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, as a result, is none other than our commander-in-chief.
In 2006, now-President Donald J. Trump met adult film star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, at a charity golf event in Lake Tahoe, California. While engaged in conversation, Trump commented that, “a lotta people must underestimate [Clifford],” not thinking that he too would fall into that category. Days before the 2016 election, Clifford received a $130,000 payment on behalf of Trump in exchange for her silence about their affair which began nearly a decade earlier.
Karen McDougal, a former Playboy playmate, claims to have had a consensual, monthslong affair with Trump that existed not only alongside Trump’s marriage to Melania Trump but also at the same time of his affair with Clifford. McDougal is currently suing Trump for the rights to speak of the alleged affair.
Trump hasn’t only underestimated women who profit from their bodies like the playmates, but he also belittled former business-oriented “Apprentice” contestant, Summer Zervos. Zervos is currently suing Trump on the grounds of defamation following 2016 accusations of insinuating professional advancement in a sexual context. Trump expected Zervos to drop the accusations and her lawsuit, but those expectations were defied when a New York state judge ruled that her case is allowed to proceed to discovery.
Alongside these depreciated women comes a highly overestimated lawyer. Attorney Michael D. Cohen pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance law when he authorized the $130,000 payment to Daniels “at the discretion of the president in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election.” This payment, according to the New York Times, “marked an unanticipated feminist turning point” that contributed to the social unrest and outcry otherwise known as the #MeToo movement.
The Daily Beast points out that our president is “still standing after 19 women have accused him of sexual misconduct.” This begs the question of would these stories have been well-received or faded away into tabloid headlines had women’s fury not been made clear? The clarity and volume of the fury behind women’s rage growing louder and louder as the #MeToo movement gains momentum.
Powerful men have been underestimating women for years, women like Clifford or McDougal who are unashamed and unapologetic in regards to their sexuality and make a living off of their sexual confidence and body positivity and women like Zervos, who wanted to demonstrate her ability to compete in the male-dominated world of business.
“I respect all human beings,” Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, states. “[But] I don’t respect a porn star the way I respect a businesswoman.”
Clearly, Trump doesn’t see a difference given the fact that all types of women have an equal opportunity for the President of the United States to “grab them by the p***y.”