In a Washington Post story, turns out that men who are insecure about their own masculinity support Trump, big time. I know –DUH, right?
Trump’s rhetoric and behavior exude faux machismo and it has struck a chord with a certain type of insecure male voter.
Like the ones wearing the tee shirt at his rallies that say,
“Donald Trump: Finally Someone With Balls”
Wapo calls their theory the,
“Fragile masculinity hypothesis.”
What is ‘fragile masculinity’? The Post says,
“Research shows that many men feel pressure to look and behave in stereotypically masculine ways — or risk losing their status as ‘real men.’ Masculine expectations are socialized from early childhood and can motivate men to embrace traditional male behaviors while avoiding even the hint of femininity. This unforgiving standard of maleness makes some men worry that they’re falling short. These men are said to experience ‘fragile masculinity.’
The political process provides a way that fragile men can reaffirm their masculinity. By supporting tough politicians and policies, men can reassure others (and themselves) of their own manliness. For example, sociologist Robb Willer has shown that men whose sense of masculinity was threatened increased their support for aggressive foreign policy.
[Wapo] wanted to see whether fragile masculinity was associated with how Americans vote — and specifically whether it was associated with greater support for Trump in the 2016 general election and for Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections.”
The research began by searching topics that might be especially common among these types of men:
• “erectile dysfunction”
• “hair loss”
• “how to get girls”
• “penis enlargement”
• “penis size”
(Except for “how to get girls,” these are Google “topics” not individual search terms)
In the graphic below, support for Trump in the 2016 election was higher in areas that had more searches for topics such as “erectile dysfunction.”
But there are two main data results The Post says to consider;
1. The research reported here is correlational. We can’t be entirely sure that fragile masculinity is causing people to vote in a certain way. However, given that experimental work has identified a causal connection between masculinity concerns and political beliefs, we think the correlations we’ve identified are important.
2. It remains to be seen whether any link between fragile masculinity and voting will persist after Trump exits the national stage. We suspect, however, that Trump’s re-engineering of the GOP as a party inextricably tied to many Americans’ identity concerns — whether based on race, religion or gender — will ensure that fragile masculinity remains a force in politics.
Photos, Avalon/ map, Google Trends, Wapo; via The Washington Post)