The Women Who Laughed When Trump Mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
In the photo above, a snapshot taken from the video that was broadcast worldwide, women laughed along with Trump as he imitated Dr. Blasey Ford’s voice and cast slurs on her testimony about being sexually assaulted. He did this in an open forum before the FBI probe was finished. He did this only days after declaring Ford’s testimony was credible. But he could not resist the opportunity to appeal to his supporters by using the tactics of a bottom feeder to get the crowd going.
And the women standing behind him in the video laughed. What does this signify?
At first thought, I felt pity for those women. I assumed they so desperately wanted to please, and that they were happy to bask in the presence of their alleged leader. It was a behavior very similar to how women behave in a cult — a “Handmaiden’s Tale” indeed — where moral fiber is less important than behaving the way men wanted.
Yet I felt there was more to it, that something else motivated these women. After all, there is no question how upset Dr. Ford was during her testimony. No one would deny that. Sexual assault occurs against 1 out of 3 women nationwide. I would add that there is likely no woman who has not been harassed in some way by a man, even if it was just verbal. These women in the photo know such facts. Yet still they felt no empathy with Dr. Ford. They felt only a willingness to laugh along with Trump as he skewered the deep pain inherent in Ford’s testimony. So then, what were they thinking?
Did they worry the men in their world would not approve of them unless they laughed at Trump’s tasteless and morally impaired speech? Or was it some grownup version of mean girls? Maybe. Or was it a belief that women who had been sexually attacked were less worthy of respect than men like Kavanaugh?
Or did they laugh because they knew deep inside they lacked the courage not to laugh?
Or were they people like Candace Owens, a bottom feeder who takes the low road by preying on the worst instincts of people and who loves inciting negativity? Candace might actually believe what she says, but most of the time it sounds like grandstanding for its own sake. She would have made a great snake oil salesman in the Old West.
Still, none of the above really explains why any woman would applaud hearing another woman being mocked because that woman had described a traumatic sexual assault. It doesn’t compute. So, again, what is going on?
Here it is. This is what is going on. Women have not had their voices heard for several millennia. Now, they begin to hear each other in ways never before possible. The floor is now open for a change that is massive, a tidal shift into women becoming aware of their own value no matter what anyone says or does. And this is happening at lightning speed, an exponential shift. There is no going back from this rising awareness.
No question that such a thing scares the hell out of a lot of men. But it scares some women, too, because they are the ones who are the force for the shift…they embody it. Some women are more ready than others to allow the shift within themselves. Other women still draw their primary feeling of power not from within but by externally catering to men and male praise. That is the safe path — for some women it is the only path they can accept and allow, because change is frightening.
I would hazard a guess, though, that the willingness of the women in the photo to laugh at the sexual assault experienced by another woman will come back to haunt them.
For a while, some women, even many women, will continue to allow the status quo, that strange, closed-in place where women are denigrated or shunted aside by men who choose to treat them that way.
But not for long. Like the song says — the times, they are a’changing…