Before the election, I kept pointing out that the mainstream media based in Manhattan, particularly The New York Times, was hopelessly off in the way it was simplistically viewing Trump as a classic troglodyte misogynist. I certainly saw in Trump the entire Playboy aesthetic, including the glitzy world of casinos and beauty pageants. It’s a long passé world of confident male privilege that preceded the birth of second-wave feminism. There is no doubt that Trump strongly identified with it as he was growing up. It seems to be truly his worldview.
But it is categorically not a world of unwilling women. Nor is it driven by masculine abuse. It’s a world of show girls, of flamboyant femaleness, a certain kind of strutting style that has its own intoxicating sexual allure — which most young people attending elite colleges today have had no contact with whatever.
I instantly recognized and understood it in Trump because I had always been an admirer of Hefner’s sexual cosmos. I can certainly see how retrograde and nostalgic it is, but at the same time I maintain that even in the photos that The New York Times posted in trying to convict Trump of sexism, you can feel leaping from these pictures the intense sizzle of sexual polarization — in that long-ago time when men were men and women were women!