Along with being racist and anti-Semitic, the far right has been misogynist for years. It’s partly sincere belief; it’s also a calculated strategy to bring incels and other misogynists on board with the white supremacy. Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist who got to meet with Trump recently, uses the same tactics. At a less overt level of white supremacy and fascism we see Republican leaders such as Josh Hawley embracing male supremacy: ”the deconstruction of America begins with and depends on the deconstruction of American men … 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.”
It’s a perpetual motion machine where using your misogyny creates more misogyny. The more acceptable people like Fuentes become (he was over the moon about meeting Trump), the more mainstream their beliefs become. Having an elected leader such as Hawley complain about a war on men does the same thing. People who feel the same way feel emboldened to speak out; people who don’t may go along, or at least stay silent when someone else is being a misogynist a-hole. It’s the 10/80/80 rule — a lot of people will take their behavioral cues from the way the people around them act. If the workforce are sexist asses and the boss doesn’t speak up, everyone’s going to see what’s considered acceptable and some will adjust their own behavior accordingly.
It’s a similar pattern to the anti-vax movement. First Trump declares Covid is no big deal; his Republican worshippers agree and therefore decide preventive measures — masks, vaccines — are bad. So Republican politicians, having no spine, line up against preventive measures. So we end up with Ron DeSantis shielding doctors who give bad medical advice and a right-wing hatred of all vaccine mandates, leading to a resurgence of chickenpox and measles.
Or consider that North Dakota is now considering a bill to ban litter boxes in schools. The idea that schools are putting down feeding troughs and litter boxes for kids who self-identify as animals is a myth, but right-wingers keep repeating it (here and here, for instance). So now more and more of them are fighting a problem that doesn’t exist.
All of which is kin to Matt Staver telling Christian schools to find legal ways to exclude children of same-sex parents. If kids get to meet same-sex couples they might get unbiblical ideas like “gay people are decent and not pedophiles” and that would kill the religious right’s efforts to demonize them. Keep them in the bubble where they won’t learn any different — which is the same strategy some right-wingers advocate for women. Keep them at home, keep them from getting an education and they’ll be docile and obedient when they’re married off. Or, you know, grow up Nazi and stay that way.
As I wrote in Undead Sexist Cliches, misogynists love to shriek that everything is feminism’s fault. Them getting raped. Men committing murder. Men not accomplishing enough. Left-wing teachers. M&M redesigns. It’s incoherent bullshit (just like the freakout over gas stoves) but for the right audience — guys who look around, realize they aren’t the apex predator in society and really resent it — it’s meaningful. And feeds rageaholic right-wingers their daily dose.
Of course most guys were never at the apex but at least they could look up at the top of the social pyramid and feel kinship with the guys who were. Men ran the country. Men ran big business. The Supreme Court were all male. At one time all the Ivy League graduates were male. Now that’s not true, and even men who never had a shot at any of those roles can feel, as they say, that “their” country has been taken away. They’re wrong — we’re a better country with gender equality — but that doesn’t penetrate the miasma of resentment.
I wish I knew what will. But I take some comfort in knowing slime like Fuentes are still a sniveling minority, even though they’re a threat. Not a lot of comfort, but some.
Undead Sexist Cliches is available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers. Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holders.