You have to treat ‘em like shit. This, according to New York magazine, is Donald Trump’s guiding philosophy on women. Like pick-up artists’ repugnant practice of “negging,” it reduces the fairer sex to anxious objects constantly striving for male validation—this despite the fact that women vastly outnumber men on college campuses, hold more advanced degrees, and have higher IQs. And, over the course of The Orange One’s 69 years on this not-so-green earth, he’s established himself as one of the world’s foremost misogynists, a man who’s done everything from sexually harass his reality show contestants to be accused of “rape” by his first wife to, in his book Trump: How to Get Rich, opining, “I believe we’re all equal except women still have to try harder and they know it. They will do what they have to do to get the job done and will not necessarily be demure about it.”
And yet, despite all this awful behavior—as well as the candidate brushing off his campaign manager’s alleged assault of a female reporter—many women still support Trump. A Washington Post analysis found that Trump had 47 percent male support versus 28 percent female, which, when you consider how badly he’s steamrolling his opponents in the GOP primary, accounts for quite a lot of women.
On Friday night’s edition of HBO’s Real Time, host Bill Maher sought to get to the bottom of why women are supporting a boorish, bellowing women-basher who used to have sex with his mistress while Ivana took their three young kids to church.
“That is an amazing book in itself: How Trump Is Successful with Women Voters, because it’s not like he’s not, and—sexist alert, I know people are going to object to this, but sorry—women like confidence,” said Maher during the “Overtime” segment, to groans from his panel.
“I think men like confidence, too,” Marina Konnikova, author of The Confidence Game—who knows a little about this sorta thing, since she wrote an entire book about it—responded.
“It’s not equivalent,” Maher shot back. “Women and men are different, come on. Men, they like tits…and they like beauty, and they like ass, and they like new. Ashley Madison, when that was hacked—this was a cheating site for married couples—37 million men, 12,000 women. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know…” “They want new—they want strange,” Maher said of women, “and they’re getting’ it with Trump.”
Maher will undoubtedly defend himself as an equal opportunity offender, but his blind spot as a comedian is in his treatment of women. When the news broke some years back that reality star Tila Tequila was assaulted by NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman, he said on his program, “New rule: Stop acting surprised someone choked Tila Tequila! The surprise is that someone hasn’t choked this bitch sooner.”
And then, in addition to the thousand or so times he’s referred to Sarah and Bristol Palin as “bimbos,” there was this:
While it isn’t on the level of the Trumpian mantra you have to treat ‘em like shit, saying women support Trump because they’re drawn to confident men comes from the same reductive school of logic—one that posits women as intellectually inferior beings whose decision-making abilities are governed primarily by psychosexual impulses.
The reality is that women can be just as gullible and xenophobic as men—and that’s why so many are supporting Trump.