Masculinity for Dummies
Republican men are being told "manliness" is something to shop for or strap on, not develop from within
“Manliness” is all the rage in MAGA and Christian Nationalist men’s circles.
January 6th sprint champion Josh Hawley is so worried about “masculine virtues” that when he’s not shitting his pants running from insurrectionists, he’s writing a book about “Manhood.”
Russian State TV star, climate change denier and famed anti-masker Tucker Carlson is so concerned with white boys’ balls that he’s finally found a sliver of science he’s willing to embrace: “testicle tanning.”
And high-pitched homophobe Ben Shapiro is so keen to prove his “Alpha Male” bona fides that he’s literally bragging about acquiring a small piece of wood.
And that’s not all.
When he’s not posing on tree stumps or defrauding MAGA rubes, Donald Trump, Jr. is using a coward’s baiting techniques to illegally shoot bears.
When he’s not driving women down dark country lanes, Madison Cawthorn sometimes enjoys punching small trees.
“Punching down,” whether your targets are trees or the weak and the vulnerable, is of course the antithesis of “manliness.”
But how else do you keep your incel audience entertained?
“Christians” now reject the qualities of a “true man”
In the good old days (circa 2019), American Christians might have said that in looking back on the life of a real man, you might say: “he was strong, took responsibility for his actions, served and provided for others. He watched out and cared for the weak. He spoke truth faithfully and gracefully. He demonstrated integrity in all he did…. He stood up to and called out the powerful when necessary. He was the highest example of humility, moral strength, self-control and compassion. Finally, he gave himself completely and fully for others.”
In fact, that’s the way the fundamentalist Christian ministry Focus on the Family still decribes Jesus Himself. In their telling, a true man’s strength comes from within. He inspires others because his word can be trusted. And his actions back them up.
But as the new Christian Nationalists now tell us, Focus on the Family has it all wrong. Jesus was weak. He was a loser. He should have been more like Rambo.
MAGA Jesus carries a gun.
Ever since Donald Trump began distracting people from his tiny hands by clutching very strong and very powerful rifles, every Republican worth his thoughts and prayers has gone out his way to pose with increasingly terrifying killing devices.
These days, you can’t even pose your “pro-life” MAGA family for a Christmas card unless you make them hold enough weaponry to launch a domestic terror attack.
Even in the aftermath of Uvalde, a day in which “good guys with guns” failed kids and teachers in the most cowardly way possible, Republican men are doubling down on the idea that guns are the ultimate proof of manliness… while America’s daily mass shootings continue unabated.
As Shannon R. Watts tweeted:
Oklahoma Gov. Stitt and a bunch of men cosplaying with guns inside a school for a photo op tells you everything you need to know about why the US had more gunfire on school grounds last year than ever before, and guns are now the leading cause of death for children in America.
As Oklahoma Governor Stitt’s latest nonsense proves, Republicans from Trump on down are still embracing the Putin style of performative masculinity.
Meanwhile, Putin’s weakness and fragility are being exposed day after day by the true courage and leadership of former comedian, now President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy—and the inspirational bravery of the Ukrainian people.
Mentally feeble, morally bankrupt and totally childish
In the age of Trump, Republicans have rejected a definition of masculinity based on truth, integrity, humility and compassion—and all the other “masculine virtues” they were taught in the Boy Scouts or at Sunday School. Instead they are embracing the “virtues” of a spoiled brat who faked bone spurs to send another “sucker” in his place to fight (and maybe die) in Vietnam.
Outside the GOP, the world recognizes Cheeto Jesus for what he is: an aging pervert and pathetic clown.
But within the GOP, he’s inspired a new generation of grifters—from Matt Gaetz to Ted Cruz to Ron DeSantis—to imitate his cruel and devilish ways.
It is ridiculous that any MAGA Republican would still consider the whiny, lying, narcissistic, self-serving, bullying and relentlessly criminal Trump as “manly,” but many apparently do.
In the process, they reveal themselves to be as mentally feeble and morally bankrupt as he is—with a totally childish view of “masculinity” to match.
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Someone was saying that one of Trump's major accomplishments was to point out to America just how many stupid and gullible people there were littering the country - I retorted that it wasn't really an effort on his part as the devil knows his own.
Great post, Richard. None of this is new, of course: see Joe L. Dubbert, A Man’s Place: Masculinity in Transition (1979, later revised) deals with the history of masculinity in America including the masculinization of Jesus during the Little Lord Fauntleroy era. What is so pathetic now is the avidity with which some young people are absorbing these beliefs. Isn’t there such a thing as a phallus that is too big?