By Roxy Augeri ’20
After watching Stormy Daniels talk about the sex scandal between her and recently elected president Donald Trump on “60 Minutes,” I was in shock, and this shock turned to horror. One thing was clear to me; Stormy Daniels is a nightmare for feminists everywhere.
In July of 2006, Daniels met Trump at a celebrity golf match where they proceeded to his hotel room to have sex.
The thing that got to me about this interview was not the issues with the non-disclosure agreement between Daniels and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen. It was the way that Daniels let Trump treat her and the way that she had treated herself.
When asked about why she had sex with Trump on “60 Minutes,” she blamed herself. “I just felt like maybe — it was sort of — I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone’s room alone,” Daniels said. “I just heard the voice in my head, ‘Well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happen, so you deserve this.’”
Daniels is a adult film star, and she was at the height of her career at the time of their meeting. Although I don’t condone this behaviour, it’s her body, and how she chooses to use it is her decision. Her mindset, however, has clearly been altered because of what she has been exposed to in the adult film industry.
This, to me, is a dangerous mindset. Just because she went into his room did not mean that she was obligated to have sex with him. All it would have taken was a simple “no” and a brisk walk out the door.
I do commend Daniels for making it explicitly clear that she wasn’t in any way associated with the #MeToo movement. She stated that “this is not a ‘Me Too’ […] I was not a victim. I’ve never said I was a victim.” Because the #MeToo movement was so important to so many people, I have respect for the fact that she owns up to her responsibility for the events that took place between her and Trump.
However, the fact that she felt so powerless that she felt like she couldn’t walk away from having intercourse with him is appalling. She is now showing the world the fact she couldn’t say no.
What kind of example is this setting? I don’t think Daniels fully grasps how much of an effect she has on people now that her story is being circulated throughout the nation. She has influenced every single person that has seen a headline, read an article or listened to a broadcast of her speaking or seen it with their eyes. She has made an impact on those people who now see a public figure bending to the will of a man because she felt like she had to.
All of the work of women who have fought to be seen as equal, from Gloria Steinem to Tarana Burke, is expelled by the very way that Daniels acted. She gave in. She told herself “you deserve this.” No woman or man should ever feel that they are forced to do anything they aren’t comfortable with.
What’s important to take away from this is that women need to know they don’t have to give in. No matter how much money or how much power, no one controls what you want to do with your body.