An organization called Indecline installed nude Trump statues in cities around the country, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle. The statues show Trump as fatter than he is, with a “very small” penis, and no testicles.
There has been a lot of controversy about whether or not it’s ok, since Trump is so terrible, to revel in the shaming of him that these statutes are intended to create. I’ve received hundreds of requests asking what I think about it. I have very strong feelings about this, and I want to be clear that, as always, I can only speak for myself.
Let’s start with the fact that I am adamantly against fat shaming, body shaming (including genital shaming,) and transphobia. It therefore follows, for me, that I don’t want to participate in fat shaming, body shaming (including genital shaming) or transphobia.
That being the case, no matter how much I hate Trump’s behaviors and beliefs, no matter how much I’d like to take every opportunity to hate him, I have to be honest with myself that these statues (from premise, to installation, to much of the behavior around them) are fat shaming, body shaming (including genital shaming,) and transphobic as hell.
But don’t take my word for it, let’s look at what the artist has to say about them (and the criteria he was given) for this piece called “The Emperor Has No Balls.”
The criteria was he had to be naked, they wanted it to be pretty life-like, they wanted him to be chubbier than he is in real life, not that we were fat shaming him in anyway, you know he’s not that fat, and I’m not a skinny guy. He had to be in a regal, presidential stance. He had to have absolutely no testicles, and he had to have a very small manhood. There were a couple little things I personally put my artistic twist into and that was the saggy man bum, I was very proud of that ass, and the mason ring.
Explain to me why, if you’re not fat shaming him in any way, making him “chubbier than he is in real life” was part of the criteria? If you’re not fat shaming him in any way, why is this guy so proud of making his ass “saggy”?
Let’s move on to the blatant transphobia and cissexism: Not all men have testicles or penises. The existence and/or size of testicles and penises don’t define men or manhood, and the size of them should never be used to shame anyone – not outright, and not as a metaphor, not in any way. Not ever.
And how about misogyny? Not all emperors are, or should be, men, and sex organs should have absolutely nothing to do with who is qualified to be a political leader.
There are people who look very much like that statue. If I shame the statues, I shame those people as well and I model to other people that they should do the same.
The cyber bullies and harassers who attack me and others often use the excuse that we deserve it because they disagree with us. If I suggest that it’s ok to shame Trump for his appearance because I disagree with his views, I am making the same argument as internet trolls (certainly not the kind of company I want to be in) and I am lending legitimacy to that totally bullshit argument.
I cannot credibly make an argument that fat shaming, appearance shaming, misogyny, and transphobia are wrong…unless it’s in the service of ridiculing someone I don’t like, and then it’s totally fine and should be encouraged.
From my perspective there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that Trump could do that would make it ok for me to shame him for his size, his appearance, or his genitals.
Maybe his privilege protects him from the worst of it, but it doesn’t protect the people who I hurt by taking part in this, nor does it protect me from the reality of being a hypocrite, and that’s exactly what I feel I would be if I participated in this – I can only imagine my complete outrage if someone did something similar to Hillary Clinton.
To be perfectly clear, I’ve definitely taken part in this kind of snarky shaming behavior in the past, it’s entirely possible that I’ll make those mistakes again. I can only realize and admit my mistakes, and try to do better moving forward.
There are so many things to criticize about Donald Trump – he is a racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, misogynist, anti-queer, anti-trans liar who actively incites violence and hatred in an attempt to gain attention and power. How is that not enough to criticize? What the hell does it matter how big his dick is? Who cares how he looks?
Even if it wasn’t hurtful to others (and I know that it is, because people are saying so,) why would I want to cheapen my arguments against him by participating in body shaming? Why would I want to distract from the actual horror of a human being that he is, and the nightmare that his Presidency would be, to engage in the very behavior that I speak out against every day. Why would I want to take the chance of making him into a sympathetic figure?
It’s Say Something Sunday, so I’m taking this opportunity to say, as clearly as I know how, that I am against fat shaming, body shaming, and transphobia. No fat shaming. No body shaming. No transphobia. Not even once. Not even Trump.
THE FAT ACTIVISM CONFERENCE:
TOOLS FOR THE REVOLUTION!
This year we have a kick ass line up of speakers talking about everything from “Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. This is a virtual conference so you can listen by phone or computer wherever you are, and you’ll receive recordings and transcripts of each talk so that you can listen/read on your own schedule. We also offer a pay what you can afford option to make the conference accessible to everyone. The Conference will be held September 23-25, 2016
Click Here to Register!
Like this blog? Here’s more cool stuff:
Check out the Body Confidence Blog Carnival! Eleven days of awesomeness
Like my work? Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. Click here for details
Book and Dance Class Sale! I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!
Book Me! I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!
I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com
If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.
27 thoughts on “Those Trump Statues”
I’m so glad you spoke up about this as you did. I was very disappointed this week to see how some other FA bloggers have handled this issues.
I, too, have been disappointed by many who normally are size accepting and speak out about many social justice issues but somehow think the subject of these statues is fair game. He is not the one being hurt by this.
I also have to say that the timing on this was bad. It ends up generating sympathy for him. Now, I would sooner vote for a literal bucket of sewage, but there might be people on the fence who will see these statues and feel sorry for The Rump.
To the intelligent folks who have pointed out the Emperor’s New Clothes aspect of the statues, I have come to agree with you. That aspect is clever. However, there’s too much else that I find wrong with the project for me to feel that it’s a good idea.
I totally agree with you. What’s even the point in shaming Trump for his looks? To compete with him in being an awful person? Shaming others for their looks is exactly what he does when someone criticizes him, so why would someone go down to the same level when they dislike what he does? Doesn’t make sense to me.
I also think that these statues cement our narrow ideas about what is “manly” and support toxic masculinity. A manly man has to have muscles, a big penis and huge balls, right?! (irony!)
No, there are plenty of things we can legitimately criticize Trump for and you named the most obvious already. I don’t care what he looks like, he does and says awful things, and they would be just as awful if he’d look like a Calvin Klein model.
I 100% agree with you. I’m no fan of Trump either, but these statues are ridiculous. To me, they almost produced the opposite reaction as what the artist intended… when I first heard of them, I thought whoever made them was trying to show Trump as more human, vulnerable, “just a regular person,” etc. In other words, cast him in a more positive light, vs. shaming. And I can totally see the depictions being taken both ways. At any rate, why is it that we always have to come back to people’s bodies? Honestly, Trump has a lot of issues, but his body isn’t one of them, nor should it be.
Thanks so much for this – I agree completely.
I am not a Trump supporter, but if this is the best they can imagine as a critique against him as Presidential material, they’re on rather thin ice.
The flip of this, as always, is how would the artist and the commissioner of the piece feel about a similar display aimed at their preferred candidate, whether that was Hillary, Sanders, Johnson, Stein, or whoever? Should Hillary’s qualifications for President be based on the fact that she doesn’t have a Victoria’s Secret lingerie model figure? Would nude statues of her, designed to make her look fatter than she really is, and with added sag on various parts, be well-received as just “political commentary/satire”?
I’ve said it about Facebook posts on both major candidates in recent weeks. If someone cannot present a fact-based case either for their candidate or against the other candidate, then it’s probably better if they simply keep their literal or figurative mouth shut.
I’m not concerned with the size of Trump’s penis, the size of ANY political candidate’s penis, or any other characteristics of any candidate’s genitals. I would hope for the whole world’s sake that a President executes the duties of their office using their brain, not their sex organs.
I agree completely with you. The Trump statues and the fat shaming, all the shaming was very, very, wrong. Thank you for sharing this. I am not a fan of Trump either but shaming in any form is wrong no matter who is being shamed.
I’ve been supporting arguments about this for the past couple of days, and I’m happy to support yours. I think Trump is a vile and awful human being, but we don’t need to stoop to his level in order to prove this. In her DNC speech Michelle Obama explicitly said, “When they go low, we go high.” Body-shaming is one of the lowest blows of all. It’s an unnecessary ad hominem attack that I expect Trump himself will continue to use and attempt if he dares to meet Hillary in a debate. I refuse to use the same fallacious tactic as someone I abhor for valid reasons.
Yep, exactly. I feel the same way and I’ve been very outspoken about those feelings on social media. I hate Trump, but this is not okay.
I’ve been wondering what you would have to say about this. Thanks for the usual common sense.
I have been acutely aware of the shame campaign of dealing with people we wish to bring down a peg or ten because we find them to be so offensive, uncouth, worthy of shaming; especially strong is the desire to insult someone who has been so laboriously insulting and shaming towards others in the past.
It seems somehow one counter productive: in a “Oh yeah, well your a ninnie doo doo head!” sort of way but it is also scary to be the image picked to deride said object. Donald Trump has shown himself to be tacky, vulgar, racist, sexist, Islamophobic and an all around jerk pretty much every time he opens his mouth. But the best we have here to counter someone being a bullying bigoted asshat is to call him fat. “Fat” is the greater insult?
Somehow, to point at him and his actions say: My God you are an ignorant, incompetent jerk who seems to have no bottom of the barrel of truly asinine crap to lob at others. Do you really believe all the moronic crap that comes out of your mouth or are you just being sarcastic?”, is not the nastiest thing we can do. I know, lets call him fat. Lets make him look fat. It is like the way worst-est thing a person can be, be called, be associated with…”
Unfortunately in today’s social climate about the worst thing anyone can say to r about another American is you’re fat. More than sad, it is scary (and it is going global). Consider all the crap blaming one group of people for the worlds problems is covering for, all the issues people have in life and they feel they can just lump it all in and drop it down on fat people (and hope we run away with it for good).
I do consider myself somewhat of an alarmist, yes, but honestly, is America priming itself for a future fat – holocaust? I mean that literally. Despised group, shunted to the outskirts of society, reviled, blamed, dehumanized… Where does that sort of behavior usually end up?
If this does come to pass, there really won’t be much difference between marginalizing/removing/killing a group of people for God or for their own good.
Yes, I am crazy to think like this. I know. And yet somehow a rich, white guy spewing all kinds of hate, bigoted bile and suggesting Draconian measures against the very liberty rights of fellow human beings is nothing like so bad as all that…I mean he is at least not fat.
“is America priming itself for a future fat – holocaust”
I wouldn’t put it past them. Have you Googled the word “GROSS” lately? They have literally changed the meaning of the word to now be a synonym for “FAT”. I kid you not.
I wish we could ditch body shaming altogether and when we have a problem with a person’s way of thinking, just address that instead.
There ya go! Let’s deal with the issues! Let’s deal with the thinking behind them!
I’ve made similar arguments about those who want to tear down Hilary Clinton for her choice of pantsuits. PANTSUITS. When one hardly ever hears critiques about what men wear.
Challenge beliefs, form intelligent arguments, and be open to LEARNING stuff. But ripping ANYONE apart for how they look is a sure sign of a small….mind. 🙂
Most of us are way better than that, ya know? And this sort of criticism does NOTHING for gender equality.
In other words – Rah Rah, I agree!
I agree 100%.
I agree with Ragen and all the comments totally. Body shaming is an attempt to demean someone physically and unfairly. It is not acceptable to use it even against a character like Trump.
Thank you for this! I’m no Trump supporter either, but body-shaming him is soooo not okay. There are plenty of reasons to dislike him, but the shape of his body is certainly not one of them.
“…why would I want to cheapen my arguments against him by participating in body shaming? Why would I want to distract from the actual horror of a human being that he is, and the nightmare that his Presidency would be…”
This, absolutely this! I recently saw an interview with a person I USED TO greatly admire who was speaking out against Trump – but while doing so spent half the time making fun of the way he looks. Really? REALLY!? Why, with all that there is to make fun of Trump about, would you spend your platform time making fun of his appearance? When there are actual important, and legitimately wrong, things about him to talk about. It, as you said, makes him into a sympathetic figure.
Even if we where to (and lets not) ignore the fact that making fun of someone’s body or appearance is not right, stooping to making fun of someone’s appearance makes one sound like a bully. The person I USED TO admire sounded like a bully – and that GREATLY detracts from the issues about Trump we should be talking about and makes Trump seam sympathetic.
too right, Ragen!
We should shame bad behavior, bad actions, and even character flaws. But we should not shame something about which people have no control, such as their bodies, or their heritage.
Also, I hate it when people call a penis “his manhood.” Nope. Manhood is a state of being. Penis is a penis. The two are completely different things, and when people refuse to use the correct term, penis, it fetishizes the word, and makes it shameful to say, and then we wind up with these ridiculous euphemisms that just confuse people. Using “manhood” to refer to penis makes male people with small penises feel utterly emasculated. And that’s just rotten.
Besides, lots of people actually prefer their sexual partners to have small penises, because they feel more comfortable, being small, themselves. Large penises can be downright painful, and how does that make it good for the partner? The whole idea that man=big=good, even if it hurts the partner, is another rotten thing in our society.
They even went there with the “he’s not that fat” statement that is so problematic, as well.
And the “I’m not a skinny guy” and “not that we were fat-shaming him or anything.” Crisis averted, everybody! Trump’s not that fat, the sculptor’s not that thin, and the people responsible SAID it wasn’t fat-shaming (we all know how saying your hurtful actions aren’t hurtful makes it true)! They forgot to whip out the roll of Mentos at the end, though.
Good analysis of the situation.
Frankly, I find the statues just plain disturbing. Wish I could ‘unsee’ them.