Josh Hawley Must Take Personal Responsibility For His Own Masculinity Issues
Josh Hawley has been on one the last week or so about how the left has cruelly murdered masculinity, forcing young men into sullen, meaningless lives filled with porn and video games. It's nothing new. Unfortunately, the world is filled with fragile men crying that the political left won't let them be macho or whatever.
In a speech last week, Hawley complained that potentially macho men were being driven to porn and video games because the left has decided that "traditionally masculine" traits like "courage, and independence, and assertiveness" are bad. I'm not sure where they got that, but perhaps that is what they hear when we say, "Please check to make sure someone has given you their consent before you attempt to penetrate them." Hard to say.
Yesterday, he defended that speech to Axios, digging the hole even further.
When asked why masculinity was his new big issue, Hawley responded, "Well, I think what the left is doing is attacking America. They're saying that America is systemically oppressive and men are systemically responsible." So the fuck what? Is his masculinity truly so fragile that it can't handle that discourse? People can't have conversations about things because it might make Josh Hawley feel less manly?
Conservatives say they believe in personal responsibility, so if they want to do whatever it is they think "traditional masculinity" is, they are going to have to manage that themselves. I'm sorry, but this is not my circus, and these are not my monkeys.
Asked during the "Axios on HBO" interview to paint a picture of his ideal man, Hawley said:
—"Well, a man is a father. A man is a husband. A man is somebody who takes responsibility."
Challenged on whether his assertions are based on data or mere hunches, the senator said millions of men had been idled in part "because jobs have dried up in many cities across America and rural areas, too."
—"I think you put together lack of jobs, you put together fatherlessness, you put together the social messages that we teach our kids in school, I think we've got to confront that and its effects," he added.
While Hawley really could not come up with much outside of "Well, liberals are talking shit about masculinity and it's making us sad and then we all have to watch porn and play video games," he eventually landed on "deindustrialization" and lack of jobs as a reason. Super weird, then, that he is such a big fan of anti-union right-to-work-for-less legislation.
The problem with the Josh Hawleys of the world — or, I should say, one of the many problems — is that they can't just go and be themselves without everyone else's approval and praise. It is not enough for Josh Hawley to be whatever his definition of macho or masculine is, the rest of us need to stand around him and tell him what a great job he's doing and agree that his performance of masculinity is the best of all possible masculinities.
I could not possibly give less of a fuck how toxic Josh Hawley's masculinity is, so long as he isn't hurting anyone with it. He can prance around like Charles Atlas, railing about 90-pound weaklings for all I care, he can drive a truck and engage in arm-wrestling contests all across the country, or just be a total cafone at his own dinner table. If he is so fabulously macho, other people having discussions about toxic masculinity should not touch him.
Conservatives, almost by definition, prefer conformity. They talk a lot about "individualism," but in a way that applies only to economics and guns, not to religion, gender roles or even personality types. They want people to conform to them and their ways, and for those ways to be rewarded with social currency and acceptance — and for those who divert from that path to be punished. They want not only to be rewarded for performing "traditional masculinity," they want those who fail to perform it to their satisfaction to be chastised until they do.
I can't help Josh Hawley with his masculinity issues, and it is not my fault or anyone else's if other men dedicate their lives to watching porn and playing video games. Frankly, as long as they are not hurting anyone and that is what makes them happy, more power to them. Everyone needs a hobby, and perhaps Josh Hawley might consider getting one of his own.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse