What I Learned When Donald Trump Visited the Club Where I Stripped: A Message to Undecided Women
Women of America—Trump wants you now only because he needs you. You will be quickly abandoned. We do not need him.
Trump's affinity for strippers shouldn't come as any surprise.
These days, watching Trump on television spirals me back into depression, anxiety, and feelings of powerlessness just as I felt years ago.
I remember one night in the early 90s at an upscale "Gentlemen's Club" in New York City's Upper East Side when Donald Trump visited. A buzz permeated the dressing room as strippers hurried to prep and primp themselves. I had no desire to try to get near Trump while he chose the women that met his standards. He would not have liked me—a stripper with an attitude.
I remember the other strippers talking about how if he chose you for the backroom, you were rewarded handsomely. The club was packed; I saw Trump's hair-bubble bobbing up and down inside a sea of sequins and tassels.
He is the kind of man who thinks his wealth can plow over everything and everybody in its way. In a strip club, the Trumpers sit up tall, bark drink orders at waitresses and grab women's body parts as they please. Trumpers act entitled to treat strippers like garbage and talk crap about women in general. For the most part, strippers play along because they are there to make money and defending women's rights rarely goes over well with a drunk dude in a strip club.
And now Trump is trying to woo women? Like he's got our back and knows what we want? I am now one of those suburban middle-aged women whose vote he is begging for, but I do not have a husband who needs to get back to work. I am divorced with three children. What about me? What about the women you picked like cows at an auction from the stage at Score's? Do you remember us? Because we remember you.
Trump is every customer who flaunted his wealth in strippers' faces and acted as if that meant we should bow down to him, and that is exactly what Donald Trump is trying to do to the world—turn us all into his harem.
He brags about his wealth and takes no shame in admitting that all he cares about is his family and his well-being. He does not care about others, just as the customers who came to me in the strip clubs only cared about their sexual satisfaction. They didn't care about how they hurt me with names they would lob at me when I was not the woman they wished me to be.
Whenever I tried to talk back and stand up for myself, I was talked over, ridiculed in front of a room full of men.
And now we have this strip club male attitude being encouraged all over our country by Trump. We see men and media who look up to him, because they wish they could be so rich and powerful that they could stand up and be so sure of themselves.
When I was younger, I did not go begging at Trump's table, but I also didn't do anything to change the problem. I felt powerless at the time.
That so many Americans find Donald Trump palatable to be president at all confirms to me that many people continue to want to live in a strip club version of the world, believing that women are only there to serve their needs and desires, and if and when we step out of those boundaries, we become less than human to them.
Trump continues to wave those dollar bills in front of us in hopes we will dance naked onstage.
He's not promising us that money. He's only dangling it like a carrot, drawing us in so that he can puff up his own power and make himself larger because he will never be satisfied.
I was once powerless, voiceless and scared. I did not have enough money and I felt a need to do things I didn't want to do. I danced after that magical dollar bill. I allowed customers to call me the kinds of names that Trump throws around.
The strip club belief gives men space to see women just as a means to an end. Trump is trying to perpetuate that atmosphere in the greater world, where anybody in power can say anything about anyone with no repercussions.
I have my voice now, and this country is not a Gentlemen's Club. I am no longer begging for money; I am standing on a different platform and saying, I get to choose now, with my vote.
Women voters of America: President Trump wants you now only because he needs you. You will be quickly abandoned. We do not need him. Do not let his many misdeeds toward women go unanswered.
Use your voice. Use your vote.
Tell him this strip club is closed.
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