[Ed. – “Elevating.” Gotta love it.]
While I hate to reward Trump’s perennial trolling, his literal demonization of this woman is interesting because he’s decrying something that should be starting to sound familiar: women who empower themselves and other victims of bigotry by elevating comments made to them in private. In doing so, these women make enemies, but more pressingly, they communicate disturbing realities about their private experiences. (Stiviano’s attorney insists she did not release any recordings to the news media but confirmed the recordings are “legitimate.”)
Take Anna Gensler, the artist who set the Internet ablaze last week with her method of exacting revenge on creepy online predators using the dating app Tinder. Gensler’s approach was to draw nude portraits of anyone who sent her degrading messages, with their sexually explicit comments juxtaposed alongside the sketch. After she published the results to Instagram, her work was picked up by Slate, Jezebel, and the like. The responses from the men she exposed ranged from “really angry” to “a little bit offended,” though nobody has yet accused her of being the “Tinder user from hell.”
Photographer Hannah Price took pictures of men who catcalled her on the street. That photo series was bandied about the Internet under the title “my harassers” but Price has said her intent was more complex than merely shaming these men. …
There are a lot of differences between what these women did and Stiviano’s situation. … But if we set motives aside, there’s an important common thread.
If she is actually behind this tape, as Trump is suggesting, Stiviano managed to draw attention to a powerful man’s unacceptable behavior—behavior that, though its existence was a known quantity, was allowed to persist. Her recording is far cry from art, but it’s going to change the way people think about race and sex and the NBA, and particularly, Donald Sterling.