Josh Hawley’s “Virtuous Men” Should Grow Up

A recent headline at Buzzfeed News tells us that Murder Is A Leading Cause Of Death In Pregnancy In The US. It turns out this isn’t new. I found a WebMD article from bleeping 2001 that said the same thing:

Given all the risks associated with pregnancy, it’s easy to imagine that expectant mothers are vulnerable to illnesses and even to death. But shocking new information shows that these women actually are more likely to be murdered than to die from any complications of pregnancy — or from any other cause for that matter.

“We found that homicide was the leading cause of death among women who were pregnant … and accounted for 20% of deaths among that group, compared with 6% of deaths among nonpregnant women of reproductive age,” says author Isabelle Horon, DrPH, from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, who conducted a study that looked at pregnancy-associated deaths from 1993 to 1998.

Fast forward to the Buzzfeed article of four days ago:

A woman in Houston who showed an ultrasound to her boyfriend, a mother of five who was carrying a sixth child, and a pregnant woman coming home from a baby shower were all recent victims of homicide, a top cause of death for pregnant people in the US.

Pregnant people are more than twice as likely to be murdered during pregnancy and immediately after giving birth than to die from any other cause, according to a nationwide death certificate study. Homicide far exceeds obstetric causes of death during pregnancy, such as hemorrhage, hypertension, or infection.

Pregnant women “face a risk of being murdered 16% higher than women the same age who are not pregnant, the recently released Obstetrics & Gynecology journal study concludes.” The article goes on to say that most of these deaths result from domestic violence.

With that in mind, let us skip over to New York magazine, where Sarah Jones writes about Josh Hawley and the New Anti-Feminism.

The conservative movement believes men are in trouble, and they know who to blame. “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,” the Republican senator Josh Hawley said during a recent speech. Thus besieged, men are retreating into pornography and video games, abandoning their traditional responsibilities, he added. …

… Hawley’s anti-feminism isn’t novel, but he is responding to a new moment in modern American politics. Conservatives have always argued that by muddying gender roles, feminism harms men and women alike. Yet in recent years, this rhetoric has acquired an even sharper edge, pitting men and women against each other as if greater freedom for women comes directly at the expense of men. For Republican politicians and their supporters, Trump’s unapologetic misogyny further expanded the borders of the possible.

Trump has a long history of associating with men accused of abusing women. More recently, he has endorsed candidates like Sean Parnell and Herschel Walker, also accused. See also Domestic violence, sexual abuse: A number of Senate GOP candidates have to answer for ugly allegations by Amber Phillips in the Washington Post.

That an ugly backstory is no longer immediately disqualifying in Republican politics is arguably a sign of how much Trump has reshaped the GOP in his likeness. Trump won the presidency in 2016 despite being accused by more than a dozen women of sexual harassment and weeks after it was revealed he bragged about grabbing women’s genitalia.

“Politics has changed,” said one Republican operative, speaking on the condition of anonymity to be candid. “What’s seen as acceptable has changed.”

Josh Hawley complains that manly virtues like courage and independence and assertiveness are no longer valued by lefties. I think lefties would argue that courage, independence, and assertiveness are just dandy, but we want men to stop engaging in domestic violence. And if y’all could put a sock in the mass shooter thing, that would be swell.

Seriously, righties, what’s with all the tribes of violent, threatening, politically extreme men these days? Some of these groups appear to be explicitly male — Oath Keepers, Proud Bois. WTF?

Virtuous but underappreciated men? Or thugs? You decide.

Women do take part in some of their activities, but in an auxiliary role. It’s traditional. But then there are also more openly misogynist tribes, such as the Gamers and Incels and men’s rights activists. These are tribes of men who blame women for why their lives suck.

During the Trump years a number of social psychology studies documented that men who support Trump tend to suffer from “fragile masculinity” or “precarious manhood.” See, for example, “Precarious Manhood” and Voting for Trump from Psychology Today, November 2020.

Precarious manhood refers to the fragile nature of traditional masculinity.

Traditional masculinity, as a form of social status, is “hard-won and easily lost.” A real man cannot simply be: He must repeatedly prove his masculinity.

In the U.S., Knowles and DiMuccio note, masculinity is associated by many with behaviors like “avoiding the appearance of femininity and homosexuality, seeking status and achievement, evincing independence and confidence, taking risks, and being aggressive.”

And threats to (or doubts about) masculinity often motivate hypermasculine behaviors, such as risk-taking and aggression.

The Psychology Today article also notes that these same men score high on the right-wing authoritarian scale. See also How Donald Trump appeals to men secretly insecure about their manhood.

Several decades ago, Joseph Campbell warned that American men were not being properly taught to be men. He was writing about the Greatest Generation, mind you. Boys didn’t get enough time with their fathers and older men as they were growing up, he said. They were getting their ideas about masculinity from movies, not real life.

I’ve read that this problem is something that’s been growing since the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism. Before the 19th century, the theory goes, most men were either farmers or independent artisans of some sort, and boys grew up working alongside their fathers on the farm or tanning hides or shoeing horses or whatever. Changing economic models took men out of their homes and made them employees who were gone most of the time. Succeeding generations of fathers became less and less involved in the lives of their children, and this has been especially hard on boys.

Since then, things haven’t gotten better. I’m not seeing Josh Hawley’s Three Masculine Virtues — courage, independence, and assertiveness — in the guys who abuse women, join private militias, need an assault weapon to go out for a sandwich, and throw temper tantrums when asked to wear a mask or get a vaccine. I see bluster, tribalism, and aggression, not to mention authoritarianism. Most of all, I see immaturity. Too many men seem stuck permanently at the emotional age of fourteen and permanent adolescent rebellion mode. They’ve got Mommy issues, and Daddy issues, and they blame everybody but themselves for whatever they don’t like.

I’m not saying this applies to all men. Most men I know personally don’t fit this description at all. But then, most men I know personally don’t own assault weapons or wear “Hillary for Prison” T-shirts.

Daddy issues, you say? They want Trump to be their daddy, because in their eyes he’s a real man.

There’s something so sadly pathetic about putting Trump’s head on Rambo’s body. Trump must be the least masculine man to ever sit in the Oval Office. He’s a spoiled, pampered punk who never held a job or faced a real physical challenge in his life. But some men are so desperate for a daddy they’ve turned him into one, projecting all their twisted notions about manliness onto his flabby frame.

And Scrawny Josh Hawley is a private prep school brat who never met a principle he wouldn’t betray to further his ambitions. Masculine virtues, Senator? What would you possibly know about masculine virtues? Or any other kind of virtues, for that matter?

I started this post with something I’d just learned about homicides of pregnant women. Women don’t exactly rule the world yet. The pandemic has hurt women economically a lot more than men. There’s still a pay gap. Even before the pandemic women, but not men, found a lack of affordable child care a barrier to employment, and it’s worse now. We’re still underrepresented in government and business. But Hawley’s “virtuous men” resent us anyway. That’s just pathetic.

Real men grow up.

8 thoughts on “Josh Hawley’s “Virtuous Men” Should Grow Up

  1. At least some of these vocal "Christians" must have read Paul's words regarding becoming a man and putting away childish things. There are plenty of hard things that need doing; seems like a perfect outlet for masculine energy. 


    My junior (was there ever a more fitting title?) senator is the starkest example of a man wasting his time and energy. 

  2. What Senator Joke (sic) Hawley knows about "manhood" could be etched inside of Tom Thumb's thimble.

    BTW: No one brought up the subject of masculinity, Sen, except you, you pencil-necked geek. 

    And you've shown us what kind of "man" you are.  You are – a word that rhymes with "masspole!"

    Me-thinks the Senator doth protest just a bit too much, no?


    As a non-Fascist American male, I welcome our Female Overlord(s? esses?).  It'll be up to you, ladies… Wome…  Whaaaatever you decide!

  3. Good ol' boy Josh is a graduate of Stanford and Yale.  He's as ambitious as Lucifer himself and has as much integrity. IMO, it's a huge mistake to underestimate his strategy. If you accept that Josh wants to inherit Trumpism, think back to the day AFTER Trump was inaugurated.  There were more women in Washington DC to protest Trump on Day One, than there were supporters for Trump's swearing-in. 

    I want to emphasize that. More WOMEN protesting than supporters of Trump total! The four years for Trump people in that part of DC, Maryland, and Virginia were punctuated by a deliberate, "Not Welcome" mat rolled out by women who would not even consider dating a Trumpster. 

    It was before my time, but how did women get voting rights when the amendment had to be approved entirely by men?  There's no hard evidence, but I suspect/believe that wives and girlfriends and mistresses told their lovers what to do with their hardness if they weren't going to vote to approve women's right to vote. (If anybody has a better theory, I want to hear it.)

    Hawley can see what's happening in TX will be a lightning rod for female activism in 2024. And to put it in the simplest terms, you either sweet-talk women voters or you take them by force. Sweet-talking has been rejected. Women who do not think they are breeding stock will be out in force, working to sway other women. This block can't be ignored and Hawley is going to make uppity women the face of evil liberalism. 

    I think there's a bad calculation here. Josh may think women, being the 'weaker sex' will be easily intimidated, (not to mention seriously impressed) by real men. Women will swoon, be silenced, and run to the kitchen. 

    Of course, the GOP has its female leaders. They're revolting, hateful, vicious caricatures of women. They impress the hell out of shallow men with their gun-toting and belligerent rhetoric. Personally, I wouldn't touch them with an 11-foot…. never mind. I can't say that here. 

    But Hawley is gonna try. I think he's a hundred years too late. But we shall see.

  4. Hawley is still wet behind the ears. He needs to get himself some life experience before he starts philosophizing on what constitutes being a man.. Aside from the dishpan hands I'm more than happy being an effeminized left leaning male.

     Hey, Hawley.  You know, one of theses days your lips are going to get worn out and you're going to have a brand new asshole!

  5. You really nailed it with this one!

    It touches on a few things that have fascinated me lately, especially the roots of evil in the "innocence" of childhood.  I wish I had something of value to add, but, you've done too good a job.

    I might just say, that courage, independence and assertiveness are just dandy, and how curious that people on the right can't appreciate these virtues when they are manifested in women.  I guess it's just another example of precarious manhood, a fear that they might be comparatively less courageous, less independent and less assertive than a woman half their size, and she might not need body armor and a weapon!  

    I have the luxury of being old and retired, without much to prove and no one to impress.  I have to admit that as much as I disagree with white male privilege, racism and sexism, I benefited from them, perhaps unwittingly, as if that were a decent excuse.  That's not a threatening realization for me now, but, it might have been, thirty years ago.  It's also not much benefit to anyone, unless I can pass that insight along to someone for whom it might be threatening. 

    That seems like a difficult thing to do.

  6. Fauci and Cruz reportedly traded a few barbs today.  It seems their world views got on a collision course again and no one would yield the right of way.  

    Cruz, Paul, and Hawley the Three Stooges of the Senate.  They dabble in slap stick politics at best and play to a similar audience as the three stooges of old.  

    One is poor comedy, the other a tragedy.


  7. I have an app in my brain that changes the words in those types of pictures to "Inadequate Men."


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