Did Donald Trump Make His Biggest Mistake Yet by Fat-and-Slut-Shaming Alicia Machado?

Yes, he went there.

Trump’s latest 3 a.m. Tweet rant is revolting, but not at all surprising, given what we know about his rabid, incessant sexism. Last night, four days after Hillary Clinton wiped the floor with him in the first debate of the general election, Trump began wildly tweeting about former Ms. Universe Alicia Machado, his latest archenemy.

The backstory: On Monday night, Hillary Clinton handily humiliated Trump by besting him on every single question, succeeding in making him look like a small, stupid man. But key moment in HRC’s big win – the moment she crushed him and basically handed him his testicles – was when she told Alicia Machado’s story.

Machado won the Miss Universe competition in 1996, and shortly after gained some weight. Trump consequently trotted her out in front of dozens of media outlets at a private gym, forcing her to work out in front of cameras. She was nineteen-years-old at the time, and has said that as a result of this, she suffered from years of psychological distress and eating disorders. She also says that Trump called her “Ms. Eating Machine” and “Ms. Housekeeping” because she is Latina. That sounds like it’s straight of out the racist, sexist Trump handbook. No surprise.

Let us not forget that if we look at photos and videos from that era, Machado appears to be a perfectly average woman, weight-wise. Yet Trump said she gained an “immense amount” of weight earlier this week.

Trump, in the wee hours of Friday morning, with unfettered access to his phone (we know that his weirdest, most unhinged Tweets appear when his campaign managers cannot restrain him) wrote this:

Even after everything we know about Trump, his long and storied history of hatred toward women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and more, we should pay close attention to what Trump is saying now. If there was ever any question about what he thinks about women – this answers it. In the Trumpiverse, women exist solely to service him. If they do not fit his standards, if they do not comply, if they question his authority, they are “disgusting.”

Who cares if Machado made an alleged sex tape? Surely not women — 51 percent of the population going to the polls this November. We live in our bodies, whether they are fat or thin, whether they are up to patriarchal standards of beauty or not. We live in our bodies no matter how many sexual partners we’ve had. We live in our bodies if we’ve committed adultery or our spouses did. We live in our bodies if we are teachers, sex workers or housewives. We live in our OWN bodies, and we maintain agency over those bodies. We live in our bodies and we vote.

Let’s get this straight – no matter what Machado has chosen to do with her body, she should not be shamed. Not for her weight in 1997, and not for her sex life, private or public.

We already know that this man seems to relish calling woman pigs, rating them based on their breast size and admitting that he simply doesn’t respect them. This man has committed adultery and has five kids from three different wives, yet thinks it’s perfectly fine to talk about the sex lives of woman he feels threatened by. We might also recall that prior to a divorce settlement, his first wife, Ivanna Trump, accused him of marital rape.

Imagine if a woman who’d just won the GOP nomination trotted out their five kids from three different marriages on the convention floor. A woman with a past like that couldn’t even make it through her first primary.

We need to have a national discussion about women as autonomous beings with agency — we can be any size we want to be, and we can have sex with whom we want to, without being judged by the likes of Trump or those who admire him.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and the festering wound of misogyny has been exposed for all to see. Could this election help to end antiquated, harmful, dangerous double-standards? Donald Trump just inadvertently blew a huge hole in the patriarchy, and it’s time to finish the job.

Stefanie Iris Weiss is a New York City-based freelance writer who writes about sexuality, politics and subcultures. Her most recent book is “Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable” (Random House/Crown Publishing).

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