Why does it seem like there is a double standard when it comes to which men we see as innocent “boys” and which we see as threatening men? Because there is. As Kveller favorite Jennifer Weiner cleverly pointed out in a blistering op-ed in The New York Times, the Trump scions like Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner have been called “good young men” by their defenders even though they’re all in their mid-thirties to early forties.
Um, what? That isn’t exactly “young.” Nor does it excuse bad behavior.
For instance, 39-year-old Trump Jr. who is a father of five, was characterized as an “honest kid,” despite the fact that he agreed to “meet with a Kremlin-connected lawyer” who had dirt on his dad’s opponent, as Weiner pointed out. How is that honest? Weiner put is best:
Women receive no such benefit of the doubt. Remember that time Brock Turner raped a woman, only to serve three months? Because a college student, who is an adult, doesn’t understand that a woman’s body isn’t his to do what he wants with? His dad wrote a letter to the judge saying, “He will never be his happy-go-lucky self.”
What about his victim?
Women are never given that much generosity–as if any mistake is an irreversible stain. For instance, Kathy Griffin’s poorly executed Trump joke got her fired–and yet Bill Maher is still employed despite saying racial slurs on TV. And while the two incidents are different, the outcomes suggest a lot about double standards. Let’s also not forget Trump’s pussy comments that are apparently OK–despite that he’s been an adult for a long, long time:
“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there, and she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything.
I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Saying “I don’t even wait” is basically as good as saying consent isn’t important to get if you are powerful enough–or just don’t feel like waiting. So when Trump says that his son is a “good kid,” how can we even take that as fact?
And then there’s the racial element of whom we treat as boys vs. men. What about 17-year-old Trayvon Martin or 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who were killed for being seen as threats? What about the grown men who killed them, who got off free? They were young and they died. Unlike Trump Jr, they can’t make excuses for themselves anymore–or say anything at all. As Weiner notes:
In his assertions that Donald Jr. is “a good boy,” “a good kid,” President Trump and his camp are invoking potent precedent about how we’ve been taught to see whiteness and maleness and when — if ever — we expect boys to become men. People of color, of course, never receive the leeway that “good kids” like the 39-year-old Trump son seem to get.