Last night I read an NPR article “Trump Has Weaponized Masculinity as President” It brought up a lot of things that — as a single woman who’s been encoupled and married — I’ve thought myself.
What is this “masculinity” thing, anyway? The article gives a kind of explanation:
Trump’s overt hypermasculinity was a defining feature of his candidacy in 2016, whether he was talking about his testosterone count or his penis size or shrugging off the infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which he talked about committing sexual assault as “locker room talk.” That macho approach went on to define his presidency as well.
I remember Trump looming behind HRC in the debates and how that brought up a kind of PTSD I have from my relationships abusive men who acted the same way. It also made it easier to vote for HRC whom I really didn’t like, even though I thought she was by far the better candidate.
The model of masculinity embodied by Trump is not my model of masculinity. I guess the ideal man, in my mind, is a combination of my dad and my Uncle Hank. Someone smart, soft-spoken and competent, with a sense of humor, who likes women as people; who likes me. He’s not a bully and he’s not a lot of talk. He’s just good at what he does and takes pleasure in it. He’s open minded, curious and fair, able to admit when he’s made a mistake.
Trump’s relentless belittling of women infuriates me. I’ll say here that as a strong, intelligent, brave and formidable little female person life hasn’t been easy out there in the world of men. A really wonderful man I knew said once, “You’re an intelligent, sophisticated, physically attractive woman. Life in academia couldn’t have been easy for you.” That was like a voice yelling, “THIS!!” He was right. It’s OK. I did fine anyway.
Women have a (to me) inexplicable effect on some men. I can’t explain. I don’t get it, but it’s there. I hear it whenever Trump shuts down a female reporter.
… President Trump seems to have a gendered pattern to his put-downs: He tends to belittle male opponents as weak, saying they are “cryin'” or “little” or “low-energy,” whereas he often insults women’s looks or casts them as hysterical. Not only that, but he has a pattern of attacking women of color. (NPR)
When I see the opportunities open to women now vs. when I was starting out, I’m happy, proud, of the progress human beings have made. And, while Kamala Harris’ perspective is naturally turned toward race, I was moved when she answered the 60 Minute interviewer saying that being a candidate for VP:
“…helps change the perception of who can do what, because that is still part of the battle after all…” https://cbsn.ws/31CrToz
Trump, of course, called Harris a “monster.”
The NPR article goes on to explain how the kind of masculinity Trump parades requires enemies and he’s managed to make enemies everywhere to fuel his image as the “tough guy who gets things done”. The price, according to the article, is “…a sense of a larger common good.” The result, the divisiveness in our country, and general political dysfunction here and in our international relations. No Macho Man can compromise.
One consolation is that this seems to have become his theme song. Listen to the words and imagine applying them to that massive excrescence that is 45. Ew. I doubt he even knows the history of this song, of this band, anything. At least he’s his own parody. You can see in this video where he learned his little “dance.”