A Trump Exposé: Stillman's "I Cherish Women"

by Nadya Okamoto 

Read after watching the above video:

Last November, Donald Trump was elected as our 45th President of the United States of America after a campaign trail filled with dialogue that shocked our country’s constituents for its sexism and bigotry. When the “locker room” talk tape was released, fear of such language and treatment of women being normalized spread rapidly, and many of looked at each other with denial that our country could elect someone who would ever suggest grabbing another “by the pussy.”

Judith Lynn Stillman, an award-winning composer and filmmaker, and the Artist-in-Residence at Rhode Island College, recently created an emotionally-charged music video which features singers from the Metropolitan Opera and Juilliard, and a group of female activists, artists, and grassroots organizers reciting the degrading and objectifying words spoken by Donald Trump over the past year.

Judy reached out to me last month to be a part of the music video after learning about my work to engage young people after the 2016 Presidential Election with the nonprofit I co-founded, E Pluribus, and my run for Cambridge City Council this year. E Pluribus is a post-partisan media platform that engages youth in sharing their ideas and reactions to issues that they truly care about, with each submitted post connected to a tangible action item or organization to get involved with.

She arrived at my house around 9pm, after my campaign team returned from our daily canvassing trip to speak to Cambridge constituents around the area. It was dark outside, so it made the ominous lighting in my apartment a perfect complement to her cameraman’s lighting to accentuate the mood of her video. She handed me a script, and I embarked on the challenge of repeating words, all of which have been said by President Trump.

Initially I giggled at some of the words, feeling nervous repeating these words with such seriousness in front of the entire campaign team. Yet, within one minute, an intense sense of sadness and anger came over me as I realized the seriousness of the problem at hand — that phrases like “fat pig” and “miss housekeeping” were actually said with composure and genuineness by President Trump. By the penultimate quote on my script, I had tears in my eyes, my hands were balled up in fists, and I had a renewed motivation within me to maximize our #resistance.

I share this story with you because I feel that this perspective and experience is quite common amongst Americans today — we hear what is happening in the news and read through Trump’s tweets and we laugh at how absurd it is to have such bigotry in the Oval Office. It is important to truly listen to what he is saying, and acknowledge the fear, belittlement, and anger that it is causing as well — both on a domestic and an international level.

For more information: icherishwomen.com

Nadya Okamoto