Donald Trump hasn’t got the greatest track record when it comes to respecting women, to put it mildly.
And so, 15 hours of recorded chat between the former reality star – now President of the United States – and notorious ‘shock jock’ Howard Stern was never going to include nuanced takes on feminism.
What it does include is much discussion of women as if they’re objects existing solely for the judgement of men, with ratings handed down on the appearances of several high-profile female celebrities.
Much of the discussion revolves around sex and women’s looks, including those of his wife Melania, the contestants in Miss Universe, and a number of actors, as well as his general preferences (“hair is my thing”), with Trump agreeing that a TV show where he judged women’s looks “may be the best idea of all”.
As Washington Post reports, he declares his love for Halle Berry’s “upper body… I think her skin is beautiful.
He adds: “What I hate about Halle Berry is that there’s always, like, drama around her. It’s always like fighting automobile accidents. You know, fistfights, boyfriends, fighting ex-husbands, fighting for the child.”
Discussing Angelina Jolie, he is quoted as saying: “I don’t think she’s got good skin. I don’t think she’s got a great face. I think her lips are too big, to be honest with you. You know they look like too big. She’s a seven, but a seven is not a 10.”
Trump seems preoccupied with complexion – a 2005 recording transcribes Trump as asking, “Who wants a chick with acne?” and going on to say “You only tolerate acne. The only time you want your chick to have acne is if it's because she's a teenager.”
On Anna Nicole Smith, he states: “She had the best body. She had the best face. She had the best hair I’ve ever seen.”
At one point, responding to Stern asking if he had “banged some of the greatest beauties on the planet”, Trump replies, “True. Some of the greats in history.”
The patronising tone continues with pronouncements on Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain. Of Hathaway, he reportedly says: “She lived in Trump Tower. I like all people that live in my building. Anybody that lives in my building, even if they’re really unattractive, I consider them to be beautiful […] I wasn’t a fan at all, but she’s grown on me.”
And of Chastain, he’s quoted as saying: “She’s certainly not, she’s not hot.”
In a 1999 recording, Trump appears to discuss intimate details of his first night with Melania, first bragging how other supermodels consider her the “most beautiful” before saying: “I didn't do well with her the first time […] it was not working. The whole thing was not working the first night.”
And in the previously mentioned 2005 recording, when Melania was five months pregnant with the couple’s son Barron, the website’s transcript reveals Stern encouraging Trump to discuss her pregnancy body. Trump describes her changing figure as a “blimp” but says she won’t take long to get back into shape.
After Stern says “that last four months are a girl’s worst enemy [for weight gain], Trump replies: “I've known many, many pregnant women […] And I've seen them all types, I've seen beautiful women that for the rest of their lives have become horror. You know I mean, it's been a very tough life for them, okay?
“You know they gained like 250 pounds. It's like a disaster. And I've seen some women where they have a little bit of a problem. And I've seen a few women, not too many people like this, but where they just spring right back and we will see that, where they spring.”
The pair then reference model Heidi Klum, whom Trump says “sprang back pretty good” but “I looked at her the other day and it’s off. There's no question.”
Of course, Trump – with his pussy-grabbing ‘banter’, his stance on women’s reproductive rights, his documented preoccupation with women’s perceived attractiveness (as evidenced by several on-record misogynistic remarks) – discussing women disrespectfully will no doubt come as little surprise to anyone.
But it bears repeating and getting outraged about each and every time, because when we don’t object to the leader of the free world discussing the opposite sex in this fashion, it further embeds damaging ideas and normalises the idea that women are not as important as men, that women are somehow lesser.
In 2015, Stern said he wouldn’t release recordings during the presidential campaign, as it would be a “betrayal”, given that Trump “did the show in an effort to be entertaining and have fun with us”.
Images: Rex Features