Like a particularly unpleasant onion, Donald Trump continues to reveal new, deeper layers of bias and repugnancy. As a man who jump-started his political “career” through the birther movement, Trump has unsurprisingly run on a platform of barely concealed racism. And while Donald’s disdain for Mexicans, refugees, and “inner cities” is well-documented, he has reached new lows by adding a serious serving of misogyny to his campaign cocktail of white tears and xenophobic fears (but seriously, ladies—don’t drink a Donald Trump cocktail).
The recently released tape of Donald Trump bragging about groping women has non-consensually inserted itself in the national political discourse, introducing us all to some new phrases we wish we could forget. In addition to forever changing the way we look at Tic-Tac’s, Trump’s brags about grabbing women “by the pussy” and kissing them without permission have reignited the conversation surrounding sexual assault. In past election cycles, this issue has been discussed primarily as a concern on college campuses—or worse, not at all.
If Trump’s “locker room talk” has a single silver lining, aside from increasing pepper spray sales and decreasing the televised presence of Billy Bush, it’s a heightened awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual assault and sexually predatory behavior. As America’s first female almost-president, Hillary Clinton is uniquely qualified to steer this traumatic tape towards a crucial conversation. Clinton understands, more than any major presidential candidate before her, that women aren’t just wives and mothers. They’re people whose concerns are just as valid as the other half of the population’s. And they’re also voters.
In a new video produced by the group Hillary for Humanity, the Clinton campaign centers these consistently underrepresented voices through compelling video testimonials. The spot intersperses women’s stories with egregious sound bites from the Republican nominee himself. Donald Trump’s hateful speech, which has made so many people’s lives harder, is an undisputed boon for the masterminds tasked with producing Clinton’s viral content. In the age of receipts, former Secretary Clinton has an oversized purse full of ammo just waiting to take down her competition.
The video begins by focusing in on Trump’s leaked conversation. In and of itself, this noxious bravado has been enough to convince many undecided voters and registered Republicans to reconsider their approach to the ballot box. Next, Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus (What Happened, Miss Simone?) gives the mic to women, who share personal stories that range from street harassment to sexual assault. These women, like Donald Trump, don’t shy away from vulgar language—of course, in their case, it’s used to illustrate how “locker room talk” routinely seeps into the real world in the form of threats, cat calls, and sexual violence. While these stories vary in topic, snaking along a spectrum from routinized harassment to rape, they share the same tone of fear, anger, and futility.
From Donald Trump’s tapes to the normalization of rape and everything in between, these women speak to the constant reminder, blaring from our streets and our television sets, that our bodies are not our own. In the world of politics, Trump’s disgusting statements mark a new nadir. But in the world of female experience, this brand of banter and the actions that often accompany it are all but universal. As actress Amber Tamblyn, one of many featured female celebrities, explains, “I think people like Donald Trump will never understand the correlation that women understand between words and actions. Especially when you’re a man in a position of power, and you talk that way publicly, and you say those things. You are telling the world, you are telling everyone that it’s ok to behave that way.” Another woman flashes onscreen: “It’s not just words, it happens every day. It’s happened to me more times than I can count.”
As voters continued to be triggered by the callous brags of a proud groper, team Trump decided to go on the offensive. The Hillary video samples clips of the toxic candidate dismissing allegations of sexual assault, proclaiming, “They’re pure fiction and they’re outright lies.” Of course, this approach was anything but reassuring to survivors, who are accustomed to having their experiences mocked and dismissed. Fittingly, we hear women recall times when they were not believed; when their voices were silenced and their attackers were found innocent. Unfortunately, Trump’s non-apology tour isn’t the first time we’ve heard a man shame victims and vilify women in an attempt to deflect blame.
The video closes on another one of Hillary’s strengths—A-list celebrities. In addition to the usual high-profile suspects, the clip highlights the words and experiences of stars who have been particularly vocal on the issue of sexual assault. It features Rose McGowan, who just called on Hollywood players to blacklist abusers, as well as Amber Tamblyn, who came forward as a survivor in the wake of the Trump tapes controversy, and Amy Schumer, who recently opened up about her own sexual assault in her funny and poignant memoir. These famous faces are just a few of the thousands of women who have recently spoken out about their own sexual abuse, fighting back against a history of silence and shame.
At the end of the clip, stars including Lena Dunham, Meryl Streep, and Whoopi Goldberg join forces against sexual assault and harassment, insisting that “It’s not ok.” It’s a compelling catchphrase, capturing the strange mix of intense backlash and exhausted futility that’s characterized the culminating months of this surreal campaign.