As I mentioned last Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. has a er, unique defense of Daddy possibly swiping documents with nuclear-weapons information: “By the way, for the record, I’d say that if Donald Trump actually still had the nuclear codes, it’d probably be good …Our enemies might actually be like, ‘ok, maybe let’s not mess with them,’ unlike when they look at Joe Biden and they say, ‘you know what, we should attack now.’”
This, of course, plays into the classic Republican pretense that they’re strong manly men who will keep this country safe where Dems are the “Mommy Party” that wants nurture and care for people — i.e., girls. It also plays into a delusion I’ve seen multiple times over the years, that the United States just comes off too soft. Pundit Thomas Friedman, for example, once argued that to negotiate with Iran, Obama needed to be more like Dick Cheney — a crazy mo-fo who might blow the shit out of Iran if they pissed him off (“you want Tony Soprano by your side, not Big Bird”).
Let’s have a history check, shall we? The United States in the last century overthrew the governments of Iran, El Salvador, Chile, Panama and Guatemala, none of which had attacked us — we just didn’t like who they elected. We supported death squads in El Salvador and genocide in Guatemala. We broke Vietnam into two nations so we could keep South Vietnam as our puppet state. In this century we invaded Iraq and broke it into pieces on the grounds of Saddam’s non-existent WMDS. We’ve tortured people for supposed terrorism and locked several hundred innocent people up in Gitmo without trial.
I honestly don’t think anyone outside the US imagines us as a soft teddy bear who’s easy to push around, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.
I think Junior’s remarks also tie in with the broader right-wing obsession with manliness, machismo and toughness. The thought of being weak or not tough enough terrifies them; that, in turn, has led them to redefine masculinity to include lots of bullying and dominance — in short, the kind of behavior rational people classify as toxic. Madison Cawthorne, for example, says “If you are raising a young man, please raise them to be a monster.”
Similarly, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says the military’s “woke culture” is destroying toxic masculinity: “I would think toxic masculinity would be a number one requirement.” Sen. Ted Cruz’ response to one Army recruiting ad was that spotlighting a woman soldier raised by two lesbian parents was a sign the military were becoming “pansies … Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea” as it clearly can’t compete with the brutes Putin might throw at us.
Part of this, I’m sure, is that a military open to women, gays and POC doesn’t fit well with a Republican Party that embraces straight, white, male domination. But it’s also about the conviction real men are violent brutes. In the words of Jesse Kelly at The Federalist (no, I’m not linking to their bullshit), “part of men was made for violence and their instincts draw them to it. We cannot suppress human nature.” A man who doesn’t fit a macho, alpha-male mode isn’t a real man. And if our military isn’t composed of Real Men, how can anyone respect them, let alone fear them?
You can read more on this brand of misogyny in Undead Sexist Cliches, available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers. Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holder.
3 responses to “The yearning for toxic military masculinity”
Why am I reminded of Newt Gingrich’s assertion that men are genetically programmed to hunt giraffes and women shouldn’t be in combat because they get infections every month?
Much in the same spirit, yes.
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