Josh Hawley, the Man
Terry H. Schwadron
Nov. 9, 2021
From the strange-but-true file this last week, there was Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. Jan. 6 fist-bumper and all-around Donald Trump fan club leader, blaming Liberals for attacking masculinity.
In a speech on the “future of the American man” at the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando. Hawley prodded conservatives to stop liberals from creating a nation of “idle men” who watch pornography and play video games instead of working and raising families.
OK, I feel better about my masculinity than about whatever Senator Hawley thinks my country’s expressed values are, but what’s the Liberal part here? For that matter, why are we listening to Hawley of all people on the state of our gender identities? This is the guy who was publicaly encouraging insurrectionists of any gender to take over the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Hawley said public policies and statements from politicians and psychologists alike should drive a return to traditional gender roles, whereas liberals are “attempting to give us a world beyond men” and to “deconstruct America,” through critical race theory, economic socialism and doing away with the concept of gender altogether.
“The Left want to define traditional masculinity as toxic. They want to define the traditional masculine virtues — things like courage and independence and assertiveness — as a danger to society,” Hawley said, and America’s men are withering as a result. . . This is an effort the Left has been at for years now. And they have had alarming success. American men are working less, getting married in fewer numbers; they’re fathering fewer children. They are suffering more anxiety and depression. They are engaging in more substance abuse.”
Hawley wants to be president of the United States, though he will bow before Trump, should The Former Guy want to become The Next Guy Again.
What Is He Talking About?
Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman argues that Hawley’s remarks, which he calls “preposterous” underscores that the Left really is winning the culture war. Hawley wants to defend “traditional” manhood, but he can’t come right out and say what that is, said Waldman.
Waldman notes that Hawley does not oppose policies requiring women and men to be paid equally for the same work or that women should not serve in the military or that only men be appointed to leadership positions. Hawley does not excuse sexual harassment or domestic violence. Generally, we would all classify all of these are “liberal” causes.
Hawley did speak out for men raising families. He was silent about women doing so. Hawley was also silent about women who suffer anxiety and depression, which may or may not be the fault of liberals.
Hawley did support generous family leave and adequate childcare or child tax credits, but he has voted against federal dollars to do so — possibly because they were packaged by, well, liberals.
Waldman adds that Hawley’s arguments “leave him in an awkward position: He wants to be a liberal-hating culture warrior, but about all he’s left with is telling men to build families. I wonder what he thought when Tucker Carlson mocked Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for taking paternity leave, saying Buttigieg must have been “trying to figure out how to breastfeed.”
So, is Hawley really scratching a discontent among young people exploring new gender norms, or reacting to changes in the economy that have left only 477 of the world’s top 500 companies as men, or about the dominance of computer geeks as among the nation’s leaders rather than military heroes in the image of a next Trump?
Let Men Be. . .
The senator cited a recent Wall Street Journal article that reported men are abandoning higher education in record numbers and lagging behind women. It also quoted the American Psychological Association for targeting effects of a macho culture that too often treasures “negative traits such as violence or over-competitiveness or being unwilling to admit weakness,” as its president told a reporter.
In 2018, the APA issued guidelines about what it called “traditional masculinity.” Pressuring boys and men to conform to such a “traditional masculinity ideology” can lead to higher rates of suicide, violence and substance abuse, the association warned, It defined that ideology as “a particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.”
Oversimplifying, conservative Fox News host Laura Ingraham said in 2019 that “traditional masculinity seems to be, in this report at least, conflated with being a pig or a creep.”
Of course, the APA also said that masculinity “also has positive traits — courage, leadership, protectiveness — the report includes both sides.”
Hawley called for conservatives to fight the “attack on men” and push for “a revival of strong and healthy manhood in America.”
Perhaps this is the same liberal War on Christmas or part of the Leftist cult to slip Pulitzer Prize winning books into school libraries to inculcate unaware students into thinking that a country that welcomed slavery, Civil War and fought against Civil Rights has something to do with them.
Maybe we should just welcome Hawley to the same century the rest of us inhabit.