Editorial: FEMINIST GIANT Does Not Wish Donald Trump Well
The feminist argument for withholding sympathy and saying "Fuck Trump"
Donald Trump and his wife Melania have tested positive for COVID19. I do not wish them well.
I have zero sympathy with a white supremacist fascist fuck who is the human equivalenet of a superspreader for a pandemic he repeatedly denied existed. He was happy to deny the existence of a pandemic that killed more than 200,000 people in the U.S.--and to do nothing to curb its spread--because it disproportionately affected Black, Indigenous, and people of colour, as well as disabled people, and elders.
That is white supremacist patriarchy at work.
Trump not only refused to wear a mask, he taunted those he did. Just a few days ago during that clusterfuck of a presidential debate, he belittled his Democratic rival Joe Biden for wearing a mask.
That is toxic masculinity at work. Trump is its patron devil.
Save your sympathy, comrades. Fascists kill the people we love and want us to sympathize with them when they themselves begin to hurt from the very same thing they killed the people we love with. The father of the man I love died of COVID19 in May. Even if someone I cared about had not died of the coronavirus, I would not waste my sympathy on Trump.
My sympathy is with the familiesTrump and his criminal negligence have destroyed.
My sympathy is with Black families disproportionately affected by COVID19
My sympathy is with families caged and separated at the border.
My sympathy is with families he destroyed with the Muslim Ban.
Fuck Trump and his facist fuckery.
I refuse to be polite or civil about this. I refuse to allow those who don't recognize my full humanity to expect politeness of me. It is imperative to understand how civility, decorum, manners, and the like are used to uphold authority—patriarchy, whiteness, other forms of privilege. We are urged to acquiesce as a form of maintaining that authority.
I am on record as vowing that if they go low, I will fucking come for them.
When Donald Trump was elected, many truths that white Americans were oblivious to—willingly or naively—were forced onto their consciousness. It was impossible to deny that racism was a driving force behind his election, and yet analysts and pundits insisted it was the “suffering working class” (read: white working class) and “economic anxiety,” as if people of color who were working class were immune from suffering or economic anxiety.
Many white Americans exclaimed, “This is not the America I know,” precisely because they had refused to or had never had to come face to face with that racism, and Trump’s shameless expression of racism and bigotry finally forced some of them to see that America. Those of us who are not white and who have experienced that racism all too well have long known that America.
Moreover, those of us who insisted on calling racism what it was, rather than by a series of euphemisms, were urged not to call a racist a racist, and we were instructed to be civil when arguing with Trump supporters. For the sake of unity, free speech, and healing, civility was held up as paramount.
The obsession with civility, no matter what, was at times bipartisan, as when both Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, and Congressman Steve Scalise, a Republican—both of whom are white—criticized Maxine Waters, a Black Democratic congresswoman, for encouraging her supporters to protest Trump administration officials in public wherever they saw them.
But paramount to whom? Who does civility serve?
Whether we are urged to be civil to racists or polite to patriarchy, the goal is the same: to maintain the power of the racist, to maintain the power of patriarchy.
Racism is not civil. Racism is not polite. And yet here were all those people lined up to insist that we be civil when talking about Trump and his supporters. Those people lined up to insist on civility were, of course, white. For white Americans who have no experience of racism, it is a concept, a theory, an idea to be debated, and not a lived reality to be endured or survived. Fuck that.
Those who insist on civility in the face of its very opposite are those least affected by the incivility that Trump represents.
They are more upset at my saying “Fuck Trump” than at what Trump has done that kills and destroys the lives of so many. Whether we are urged to be civil to racists or polite to patriarchy, the goal is the same: to maintain the power of the racist, to maintain the power of patriarchy.
It is instructive that in the era of Trump—a man who has torpedoed the notion of civility, a man who has been credibly accused of sexual assault and misconduct by more than 20 women—I or any other woman are still expected to be polite and demure.
Trump has boasted that his celebrity lets him “grab [women] by the pussy.” He has used a host of epithets to describe women, whether they’re journalists, political opponents, or TV hosts.
In the era of the white supremacist patriarch aka Trump, profanity is an essential tool in disrupting patriarchy and its rules. It is the verbal equivalent of civil disobedience. In January, I recorded this in front of the White House as my act of civil disobedience against its occupant.
I say “Fuck Trump” because profanity is an important tool in defying, disobeying and disrupting patriarchy and its rules. We are not fighting on an equal battlefield. The shock and the offense profanity causes are necessary and important. Surely, Trump’s misogyny and the violence it visits upon our bodies are more offensive than words.
What would the world look like if the energy spent policing language, especially female language, was invested instead into policing the very real harm of patriarchal violence?
To socialize us into an obedience aimed at maintaining its power over us, patriarchy forces us to swallow our rage and to spit out sympathy for its devils, even when its devils dance to the tune of our pain as they receive the best care that will shelter them from harm.
I wrote a chapter on the importance of profanity as a feminist weapon in my latest book The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls. I begin every event where I speak, in the before time when we used to be in the same hall and on webinars where we talk to each other via our Zoom or Crowdcast boxes, this way:
My name is Mona Eltahawy and this is my declaration of faith: Fuck the patriarchy.
I could say, “Dismantle the patriarchy.” Or, “Smash the patriarchy.” Or use any number of verbs that signal urgency, but I don’t. I am a writer, and I understand how language works. I understand how audiences—and readers—react to the language I use. I know exactly what I am doing. And I say, “Fuck the patriarchy,” because I am a woman, a woman of color, and of Muslim descent. And I’ll be fucking damned if I jump through your civility or decorum hoops any day, especially today.
To socialize us into an obedience aimed at maintaining its power over us, patriarchy forces us to swallow our rage and to spit out sympathy for its devils, even when its devils dance to the tune of our pain as they receive the best care that will shelter them from harm. Trump will receive the kind of medical care denied to millions of Americans. He will not be forced into unemployment or evicted from his home. We will not see him sitting in a wheelchair, abandoned on a street corner in the rain. He will not despair over how he can feed his family. He will not stare across the table at his children, knowing he cannot make dinner appear magically tomorrow night. Nor will he wonder if he must choose between calling an ambulance if he struggles to breathe or toughing it out at home because the bill for that ambulance alone will bankrupt him. He will not stare from his bed in the darkness and die alone.
I do not wish Trump well. Fuck Donald Trump.
Mona Eltahawy is a feminist author, commentator and disruptor of patriarchy. Her first book Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution (2105) targeted patriarchy in the Middle East and North Africa and her second The Seven Necessary Sins For Women and Girls (2019) took her disruption worldwide. Her commentary has appeared in media around the world and she makes video essays and writes a newsletter as FEMINIST GIANT.
FEMINIST GIANT Newsletter will always be free because I want it to be accessible to all. If you choose a paid subscriptions - thank you! I appreciate your support. If you like this piece and you want to further support my writing, you can like/comment below, forward this article to others, get a paid subscription if you don’t already have one or send a gift subscription to someone else today.