“Women are very special”

Dear President Trump,

There is really no good reason to closely parse anything you say since you don’t ever pay close attention to anything you say and pretty much everything coming out of your mouth is an empty platitude or a dog whistle. But I can’t help myself today. In their coverage of the press conference where you said that because Roy Moore is denying having sexually assaulted teenage girls you are supporting him, NPR reported that when asked about the recent flood of disclosures by women of sexual harassment and assault you led with “women are very special” and went on to say “it is a very special time, a lot of things are coming out and I think that’s good for our society and I think it’s very very good for women and I’m very happy these things are coming out.”

Your abhorrent, self-serving willingness to give Moore a total pass just ’cause he says he didn’t do it and the inarticulate good for society comment are both troubling, but it’s your assessment that “women are very special” that bothers me most. On the surface, it is just a plain weird thing to say. Are all women special? That’s what you said, but is it what you meant? Also, women and girls make up half the world’s population so the definition of special having to do with being different from what is ordinary or usual doesn’t fit at all. I also don’t think you mean to invoke the definition of special having to do with being better than, outstanding, or unusual.

I think it was a telling throw away phrase. I think it was a way to condescend and distance yourself from women, to make clear you think we are “other” — we are different from the norm as defined by men, we are in some entirely other, different category of beings, fragile and delicate, best on a pedestal or in a cage. I know you didn’t say anything direct about fragility or delicateness, pedestals, or cages but this was the sick, gut punch feeling I got when I read the quote. “Women are special.” Different. Other. In need of protection. Quaint; oh, look what they are saying now. They aren’t like us. They aren’t normal. We don’t have to take them seriously.

In an effort to correct your special bias, here is a blessing for us all:

May we all be safe in our ordinariness.
May we all be happy in our ordinariness.
May we all be healthy in our ordinariness.
May all our lives unfold and intersect as ordinary equals.

Tracy Simpson


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