Trump's words a small symptom of America's unhealthy sex culture
© Getty Images

This sickening political season reached a new low last week with the revelations of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE’s vulgar, nauseating, and lewd comments about women and the reminder of Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonObama, Clinton reflect on Mondale's legacy Polls suggest House Democrats will buck midterm curse and add to their ranks Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones calls on Breyer to retire MORE’s serious sexual sins.

While Trump and Clinton certainly deserve censure for their behavior, the media’s focus on the women’s issue through the narrow prism of the election misses the broader, more important point that their behavior is a reflection of our unhealthy sexual culture.

ADVERTISEMENT

Our culture values a woman’s bust more than her brains, her body over her moral fiber, her sexual nature over her soul and spirit. I don’t want my six daughters to feel that they are nothing more than the sum of their body parts.

America must wake up and examine the ethos that produced these attitudes. Our society sexually exploits women and portrays them as the libidinous man’s plaything. Women are objectified to sell beer, cars, and every other product under the sun.

Madison Avenue and the fashion industry have created an artificial standard of beauty that puts a premium on a woman’s waist size. Women, often from the time they are young girls, are told they must stay thin and the pressure leads many to develop eating disorders. How can we expect men to change as long as our culture sends the message that form is so much more important than substance?

Flip on the radio: Women are bitches, hos, and gold diggers, at least if you listen to the rap lyrics pumping out into our mass consciousness. And female pop stars — like Madonna and Britney and Miley — have pushed the envelope past provocative into near pornographic. 'Tween girls across the country follow their lead, and standards for how women should be treated plummet.

The way women are treated in video games, social media, advertising, television and movies, teach men from the time they are boys to disrespect women. Too often in TV and film women are the targets of violence — sexual assault, disfiguring, murder. An entire TV show, “Law and Order SVU” is devoted to the subject. While the premise of the show is that these acts are evil, and each episode is devoted to bringing perpetrators to justice, the audience is subjected to horrific stories and images.

One “SVU” episode dealt with the issue of campus rape and sexual violence, which has become an epidemic on college campuses in part, because men are encouraged to seek as many sexual encounters as possible rather than meaningful relationships. Their peers reinforce their behavior by glorifying the number of conquests.

Pornography used to be available primarily in sleazy book stores and theaters, but today it is accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Women in this industry are used and abused. They are treated as pieces of meat to be devoured by the hungry eyes of licentious men.

Explicit sex is no longer limited to pornography. It’s there even in outstanding cinematic TV, like Game of Thrones.

In our Jewish tradition, women are viewed as a reflection of the divine countenance. Each Friday night, on the Sabbath, I recite King Solomon’s “Ode to a Woman of Valor,” the time-honored tribute to a wife of excellence.

The corollary is the view that men behaving as gentlemen is an anachronism. While some women are stereotyped as preferring “bad boys,” I believe that most would welcome the attention of a refined gentlemen. Such men treat women with respect and try to please them inside and outside the bedroom.

In this misogynistic age where rough sex and abuse is glorified in songs and movies, there is still a place for, passionate man who believes in making love rather than just engaging in a sex act. It is the existence of such men and women who appreciate them that gives our culture hope.

If the negative stereotypes do not stop, however, they will become so ingrained in the public psyche that they will be permanent. Maybe it is too late already. Perhaps the only redeeming aspect of the disclosure of Donald Trump’s lewd discussion on the Access Hollywood tape was that it shocked many people into the realization of how vulgar and debased our culture has become.

If this leads to a change in the culture, the person who leaked the tape will have unintentionally done us all a great service.

I fear, however, that the disgust with Trump’s comments will be quickly forgotten just as Bill Clinton’s indiscretions were by his apologists.

Boteach is “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America.” He is the international best-selling author of 31 books, including “Kosher Sex,” “Kosher Lust,” and “The Kosher Sutra.” The winner of the London Times Preacher of the Year competition, he will publish “The Israel Warrior” this September. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


 

The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.