The world is talking about Donald Trump. Again. But this time it has got nothing to do with his anti-immigrant policies, his bizarre tweets, or his threats to North Korean leader Kim Jong. The recent media frenzy is with the size of the US President's penis.
It all started when Stormy Daniels, a porn star who has alleged the President of having an affair with her in 2006 when his wife Melania Trump was pregnant with their son, revealed details about Trump in her aptly titled book 'Full Disclosure'.
Among other details, the book contains a description of Trump's penis which Daniels calls “smaller than average … like the mushroom character in Mario Kart”. While the damning revelation - published recently in The Guardian - may have ruined Mario for many fans, it did not take long for the inane detail to become part of the ever-increasing list of pejoratives that some segments of the media and his dissenters use to attack Trump.
Calling this now: Trump’s mushroom dick is gonna be a big Halloween costume this year.
— Barry Petchesky (@barry) September 18, 2018
Because with Donald Trump, you do not 'discuss', or 'critique'. You attack. You attack him the same way he has so far attacked every one of his political opponents, critics and naysayers. Frustrated at logical, carefully directed criticisms not meeting their mark, Trump's dissenters often have to resort to besting Trump in his own game - name calling and personal shaming. He has been doing it for ages. Body-shaming, in fact, is Trump's forte. He has not shied away in the past from calling women like Rosie O Donell and many others "fat pig", "dog", "slob" and worse. He has criticised Miss Universe contestants for gaining weight, he has tried to dismiss Megyn Kelly's aggressive questions by blaming her conduct on her periods. The "grab them by the pussy" comment continues to make feminists, rather human beings across the world, uncomfortable. It is easy to understand, therefore, the relish with which media, both social and legacy, would pounce at this saucy piece of information about Trump. People finally had something scathing enough to meet their opponent's adamant refusal to let anything get through his aggressively guarded defence of denial and ignorance. But does it really justify body-shaming to exact revenge on the President? Nope.
What are the odds that Trump tweets a dick pic in an attempt to refute #StormyDaniels claim that he’s got... an itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie Super Mario mushroom peenie. Wait for it… Wait for it… pic.twitter.com/oRhOIaFFEV — Billy Baldwin (@BillyBaldwin) September 19, 2018
Is it okay to body-shame someone, even if they are evil? Because let's face it, Trump is currently being body-shamed. He is being laughed at for the size of his penis and his alleged lack of performance in bed. His policies are being slammed on the basis of the size of his penis. Not only does this neutralise the political onslaught around Trump's questionable actions, reducing all criticism down to slander, it also promotes unhealthy body-image stereotypes that go on to justify and strengthen the very traits of hyper-toxic masculinity that everyone hates in Trump.
The fact that having a small penis is an insult for a man is nothing but a projection of toxic masculinity that demand physical strength and virility as hallmarks of a strong, attractive male. It rejects men who do not meet the mark of 'not real men.' So when Trump's opponents try to bring him down by slamming his mushroom, they are only reinforcing his brand of mud-slinging and name-calling and normalises it when he does it again to another woman or man.
The second problem with body-shaming Trump is the fact that he is not actually the one getting shamed. Trump may not be reading every editorial being written at his cost, he may not know of all the memes and tweets ridiculing his penis. But what about those with real body-image issues? They are definitely exposed to this content and may not be relishing as much. Penis size is often a source of much anxiety for men. With the society putting a higher premium on the physical strength of man, the penis is often seen as the proud sign of this manhood. The size is believed to be in proportion with a man's valour, strength and prosperity. And that's plain wrong.
I've never been a fan of Trump, and I find it hard to relate to him or defend him on anything, but there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with a fat man off the telly having a TINY PENIS SHAPED LIKE A MUSHROOM!!! OK? pic.twitter.com/2fZvZWHCCe
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) September 18, 2018
The attacks on Trump's penis may come off as okay, considering his own history of body shaming and the bad taste it brings to many a liberal's mouth. But imagine for once that this were a woman in question. Would we be as comfortable slamming a description of her vagina or her breasts? Is this not selective outrage against sexism?
Also, would Trump being more generously endowed than what is being claimed (or even less) change any of the policies that his administration is being criticised for? Not really.
It's the same as when his Republican rival Mark Rubio had mocked Trump for his 'small hands' and his spray tan. It did not stop him from winning the Presidency. Neither did the comments Trump made against women or Rubio himself (Trump called him 'little guy', thus prompting the attack).
As Americans jokingly (almost) wait for the first Presidential dick-pic from the White House to refute Daniels' stormy claims, dissenters need to take a minute and understand the gravity of politicising body-shaming. It is attractive to be aggressive and insensitive with an opponent that shows no remorse or tact whatsoever in his dealings, body shaming and sexism is surely not the answer as it is never an attack limited to just the target but rather an attack on all those who have suffered or have been bullied for looking or physically being a certain way.