I am a political person. I hold teacher certificates in History and Political Science and has volunteered for many campaigns from local races all the way up to President. Yet, I try to avoid political discussions here or on our Daily Duranie social media. Fandom is supposed to be focused more on fun. Plus, I recognize that not everyone agrees with me and I would never want to alienate anyone because of that. (Heck, my partner-in-crime doesn’t always agree with me.)
The latest big new story about Donald Trump’s statements about sexually assaulting and objectifying women really has me thinking, especially since part of his statement in 2005 surrounded fame and celebrity-ness. According to the article from the Guardian, which you can read here, “…a tape emerged of the Republican candidate bragging about using his fame to try and “fuck” women and groping them without waiting for their consent. ‘When you’re a star they let you do it,’ Trump says in the recording, which was obtained by the Washington Post and released on Friday. ‘You can do anything.’ Does fame really give people or men, specifically, a free pass to commit sexual assault? Then, I wonder what would happen if I ever found out anything close to this about Duran Duran. Could/would I still support them?
Unfortunately, Donald Trump is probably not the first, nor will he be the last celebrity to make statements like this. I think there are some celebrities out there who do believe that their fame gives them the opportunity to do whatever they want to whomever they want. I’m not naive as I’m sure that for some people, fame is a turn on and they would gladly jump into bed with whatever celebrity they can find. Of course, that is not what is going on in this situation. This is about the lack of consent. It isn’t about someone thinking a celebrity is hot simply because he is famous. No, it is about the assumption that Trump felt (feels???) like fame means that he does not need to wait for consent. He didn’t need to wait to get permission before acting in a sexual way towards someone.
In my world, consent does not change depending on who is the person giving or getting the consent. Every person, every woman, has the right to say no. Every person must get consent before acting sexually. According to the Department of Justice, the definition of sexual assault is, “Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.” Based on this definition, sexual assault is sexual assault. Trump’s statements on tape indicate sexual assault. His fame is irrelevant other than the fact that fame could create more of a difference in power. Therefore, in my eyes, fame does not excuse sexual assault. It just makes it worse.
The next question is more challenging. Would I be able to support Duran Duran if one of the band members was accused of something similar? I’ll be honest. I didn’t like Donald Trump before this. (Actually, that might be an understatement.) Therefore, this news did not change my thoughts or feelings about him. My negative thoughts about him were just reinforced with this revelation. Obviously, Duran is the opposite. I have been a passionate fan of theirs for decades. Finding out something even remotely similar to this would crush me. Luckily, I can’t imagine anything so horrible to be true of my favorite band.
Yet, I have to acknowledge that they aren’t always or haven’t always been pro-woman. The video for Electric Barbarella is pretty dang sexist, in my opinion. The woman is designed to just clean and be a sex toy for the band without actually having or using a voice of her own. Does that kind of sexism equal what Trump said and did to women? I don’t think it does for a really big reason. A video is fiction. It isn’t real. It is made up. All of the people are acting. I still don’t like it (understatement) but it isn’t the same as sexual assault.
Donald Trump wasn’t playing a character in that tape from 2005. He was being himself. I have never heard one story about a member of Duran Duran treating, thinking, or talking about women in such a way in their personal lives, in their real lives. Instead, I hear them speaking highly of their wives, their daughters, their mothers as well as the women who work with them and women in the public eye.
What would happen if I did find out something horrible about a band member? As I stated earlier, it would crush me. I could not continue to be a fan or support someone who advocates assaulting women. It is a line in the sand for me. They could disagree with me about how best to approach countless political issues, but they could not be hateful of women like the Republican nominee for President.
As I continue to process this story and what it means for this year’s election and politics in general, I’m thankful that I am a fan and a supporter of a band, made up of men, who may not be perfect in their treatment of women over their careers but who, personally, have demonstrated nothing but respect for women in their lives and women in general.