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Rebecca Onion on Donald Trump and Women

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) October 31, 2016: Rebecca Onion, who holds a Ph.D. in American Studies, discusses Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party's 2016 presidential candidate, in her online op-ed commentary "No Girls Allowed" at Slate Magazine (dated October 28, 2016).

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As a follow up to my own OEN op-ed commentary "Trump and Women" (dated October 24, 2016), I'd now like to comment of Dr. Onion's piece.

For my OEN piece, see

Dr. Onion focuses on Trump's boastful comments to Billy Bush of Access Hollywood about women in 2005. But her point of departure for her commentary is Melanie Trump's recent joking dismissal in an interview with Anderson Cooper of the Trump-Bush exchange as "boy talk." Taking a hint from Melanie Trump, Dr. Onion promptly proceeds to characterize Donald Trump (born in 1946) as "a boy child."

Donald Trump manifests the playBOY lifestyle that emerged in the 1950s with Hugh Hefner's magazine with that name. In the playBOY lifestyle, women are sexual playthings. Of course certain young women have to play along with being sexual playthings.

In 1969, a lot of young men and young women pursued drugs, sex, and rock'n'roll at the Woodstock Festival in Woodstock, New York. Nevertheless, out of the antiwar protest against the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s, second wave feminism emerged as the women's movement that Hillary Rodham Clinton (born in 1947), the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential candidate, exemplifies.

In her article Dr. Onion surveys certain themes in American studies. She concludes, "The love of boyishness, and distaste for the civilizing, feminine strictures that bring boyishness in line, run deep. It's one of our favorite ideas, and it's not going away anytime soon."

No doubt Dr. Onion is correct on each count in this shrewd concluding assessment.

But I'd like to explore our collective American "love of boyishness," as she puts it. Why are we Americans collectively hooked on this? And why is our collective American love of this quality somehow accompanied by a certain kind of "distaste for the civilizing, feminine strictures that bring boyishness in line," as she puts it?

In the book King Warrior Magician Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine (HarperSanFrancisco, 1990), the Jungian theorist Robert Moore (1942-2016) and Douglas Gillette identify and outline what they refer to as Boy Psychology (pages 13-42). According to Dr. Moore's Jungian theory of archetypal growth and development, Boy Psychology continues to flourish in contemporary American males.

Concerning Jung's thought about our inner psychic developments, see my essay "Understanding Jung's Thought" at the UMD library's digital commons:

However, if Boy Psychology accounts for the persistence of boyishness in contemporary American culture, Boy Psychology in and of itself does not fully account for our collective American "love of boyishness," as Dr. Onion puts it.

Moreover, what accounts for the persistent "distaste for the civilizing, feminine strictures that bring boyishness in line," as Dr. Onion puts it?

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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