Pornographers love Donald Trump. There are already over two dozen erotic e-books, three porn parodies, a blow-up doll, and a butt plug. The ever-growing Trump pornographic oeuvre has been widely ignored in the media, and when it has been noted, it is dismissed as a mere curiosity. It shouldn’t be. Porn may be the only media that can take down Trump. Political satire through sexual means can be a shockingly effective antidote to demagoguery.
To be sure, Trump isn’t the only presidential nominee getting enshrined in sex memorabilia. Hillary Clinton’s likeness has also been placed on butt plugs and blow-up dolls. Sadly, Bernie has only garnered a “Feel the Bern” condom. Trump wins this contest hands down. There is far more pornographic merchandise devoted to Trump than to Clinton, a reflection both of Trump’s oversize personality and the outrage generated by his xenophobic policies.
Using sex to parody politicians is neither new nor uniquely American. Political pornography played a part in the French revolution, helping delegitimize king Louis XV by depicting him with a limp dick. According to historian Robert Darnton, portrayals of Louis XV as impotent “drained him of his charisma and emptied the power from the symbolic apparatus of the monarchy…. Instead of a divine monarch, they spread the idea of a ‘feeble tyrant.’” (165)
While virility was a mark of political strength in France, in America it is the opposite: a sign of weakness. We want our politicians happily married and monogamous. Bill Clinton’s wandering penis got him impeached. Trump’s pride in his sexual conquests and his bragging about the size of his penis are seen as prime evidence that he is unsuitable for the Oval Office. But mainstream media critiques of Trump’s sexual braggadocio have fallen flat. Attacking Trump’s sexual persona requires more suitable media, media as crass, unapologetic and id-driven as he is: the worlds of pornography and novelty sex toys.
So instead of portraying Trump with a flaccid penis the Donald Chump Love Doll portrays him as perpetually erect. His vinyl penis, although of average size, seems at odds with the doll’s nude, hairless, feminine body. Yet somehow the mismatch seems appropriate, as Trump is made both virile and emasculated at the same time.
But the sex doll is merely an empty vessel for its packaging, where the true political critique occurs. Emblazoned on the box are a series of Trump endorsements from the likes of A. Hitler (“He’s mein kind of guy”) and David Duke. Smaller print lists Stalin, Mussolini and the Ku Klux Klan as Trump supporters. A wall cut-out spray-painted with “No Immigrants” adorns the back of the package. The parody is neither subtle nor sophisticated, but neither is Trump. He is the only presidential candidate whose policies can be fully explained on the back of a blow-up doll package.
Yet only in porn can Trump’s persona be fully taken down. Trump’s xenophobia and misogyny are not cloaked in euphemism, which makes his prejudices perfectly suited for a parody. And in these porn parodies, at least in their trailers, the political critique is front and center, the sex secondary. Consider the trailer for Hustler’s The Donald, which first shows Trump fully clothed, reading Mein Kampf for Dummies. Even when his half-naked female advisors appear, the policy critique continues. Trump proclaims that he is going to “destroy the middle class” by “fucking it hard.” Similarly, Donald Tramp: A XXX Parody focuses more on Trump’s misogyny than the sex, with Trump spouting lines like “I love women—just not the fat and ugly ones.” Even when sex is front and center, the political message is inextricably intertwined with the sex, as in the female-directed Make America Gape Again. In the Gape trailer, the director intersperses footage of Trump’s vitriolic campaign speeches with the key scene of the film: a woman clad in an American flag being gangbanged by five men in Donald Trump masks. The porn may turn you on, but you will never forget it’s a metaphor for Trump’s danger to America.
Although the satire may be crass, the political message is serious. The director of Make America Gape, Maitresse Madeline Marlowe, told adult industry website XBIZ, “We didn’t want to show Trump as a comic figure; we wanted to show him how we see him — as a powerful but frightening force…Of course, the truly scary thing has been his rise to power. Even a five-person gangbang can’t compete with that. At least a gangbang is consensual.” And the producer of The Donald is Hustler founder and free-speech activist Larry Flynt, who has compared Trump to Mussolini.
Pornography can be a more effective media to critique Trump than a “serious” news source. Like Trump, pornography is assertive, loud, and appeals unapologetically to basic human drives. His policies are driven by emotion, not logic. They are grounded in our base emotions: fear and a desire for safety. This is why serious critiques that wonkily parse Trump’s policies fall flat. They can only be properly critiqued in a format that is also based in reptilian emotions: pornography. You may not like pornography, but it may be the only thing standing between us and Trump for president. Thank God the First Amendment protects this form of speech. That’s what really makes America great.