“She couldn’t satisfy her husband.” —Donald Trump speaking about Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump has spewed plenty of cringe-worthy, even disgusting, statements thus far in his presidential campaign, but one of the most bizarre was when he challenged his rival about her sexual desirability and blamed her for her husband’s affairs. Since the time I first broached this theme in my blog in January, the sexual politics of this campaign have only become more intense: women have been called names and bullied, and even a reporter and protesters were assaulted. But maybe he’s done us a favor by putting on the national stage how women are held to a standard that men are not.
Does Blaming Women Make Men Look Strong?
A man who blames a woman may think he looks more powerful. For men like Trump, power is in their ability to direct responsibility elsewhere; if there’s someone else to blame then they are less culpable.
Why Blame Women?
There are probably many answers to this question, but the simplest one is that men still feel they can blame women for their own poor behavior.
But that isn’t the full story. There are still enough women who accept this blame.
Why? Because societal messages have been drummed into their heads with the message that while women are weak, they are nevertheless responsible for anything that goes wrong. Interesting paradox, isn’t it? Being powerless while having the power to make everything go wrong.
Simple Solutions—Why Women Blame Themselves: Girly Thoughts
Blaming another is a simple solution to the complexity of many problems. So I’ve come up with a simple antidote.
This is why I’ve developed the term girly thoughts. Women blame themselves for just about everything, and I wanted a term that captures these negative feelings so they can stop. Wouldn’t it be interesting if women stopped blaming themselves for their husbands:
- having an affair.
- drinking when he comes home after work.
- not being sexually attentive to her needs, only his own.
Perhaps when women stop taking responsibility for the actions of the men in their lives they will encourage the men in their lives to step forward and learn to say a phrase that women use way too readily and some men seem allergic to: I’m sorry.
We can learn to hold other men responsible for their actions instead of making excuses for them and blaming ourselves instead. We need to call Trump out on his disrespect of all women, including:
- his accusation that Hillary was responsible for her husband’s poor actions.
- attempting to humiliate Hillary by inviting to their first debate of a woman with whom her husband had an affair.
Blaming ourselves for the actions of others is one way we perpetuate our own girly thoughts, which only serve to disempower us, and in a funny way also disempowers men because they don’t learn the ramifications of their own actions.
Now repeat after me: Yes, I will!
And please . . . VOTE!
You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my two latest books, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power and The Resilient Woman: Mastering The 7 Steps to Personal Power.
Patricia A. O'Gorman, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice. She is noted for her work on women, trauma, and substance abuse and for her warm, inspiring, and amusing presentations that make complex issues accessible and even fun. She has served as a consultant to organizations across the country in preventative and clinical strategic planning. Dr. O'Gorman is a cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, and she has held positions ranging from director of a rape crisis center to clinical director of a child welfare agency, and director of the division of prevention for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). She is a veteran of numerous television appearances, including Good Morning America, Today, and AM Sunday and is the author of eight books including: The Girly Thoughts 10 Day Detox Plan (2014), The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (2013), and Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting (2012) 12 Steps to Self-Parenting.