Women judged unfairly for sexuality

Hillary Clinton is just one example of a woman in the world of politics.

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Hillary Clinton is just one example of a woman in the world of politics.

Maria Maroko

In the world of politics, one thing is clear – if you’re a woman, your sexuality can and will be used against you, regardless of its relevance to your argument.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump went on a late-night Twitter rant Sept. 30 about Alicia Machado, the former winner of the Miss Universe pageant.

Machado, a Venezuelan immigrant, was the first woman to win the Miss Universe pageant under Trump’s leadership. Machado endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton and said Trump would often insult her body size, calling her fat or ugly, according to press reports.

Trump did not react well. He called her “disgusting” and urged his supporters to find a sex tape he said she made, to prove she was a bad and untrustworthy person. The sex tape has yet to be found.

But whether or not the sex tape exists, it was brought up to discredit Machado. Why should sexual activities impact the public’s perception of her character, or make her statements  less valuable or true?

Trump’s comments are part of a larger mindset called “slut-shaming,” the act of shaming someone for their real or perceived sexual behavior, whether that includes wearing skimpy clothing, having sex or, according to some far right-wingers like radio host Rush Limbaugh, even using birth control. This epitomizes the double standards concerning gender.

Let’s go back to the Limbaugh. When Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown student and activist, fought her school to get free birth control, Limbaugh dismissed her on the radio as a “slut.” Using birth control would imply that she may have had sex without wanting children, which would imply that she might have even enjoyed sex by itself. Limbaugh said the idea “makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute … she’s having so much sex that she can’t afford the contraception.”

Machado’s and Fluke’s experiences are just two of countless instances in which women’s sexuality is used against them. People like Trump and Limbaugh perceive any alleged accusation of a woman being “slutty” as grounds for questioning their validity and morality. Yet, when other men engage in sexual activity, including statutory rape, these same men are silent.