Donald Trump: The Apex of American Masculinity

by WinterIsComing on November 9, 2015 - 5:10pm

The recent rise of Donald Trump within the Republican Party has many pundits perplexed but this brand of macho politics is nothing new. The role of masculinity in the political field is examined within a CNN opinion piece entitled “Is Trump the New ‘Arnold’ of 2016”. Donald Trump represents a particular brand of masculinity and political incorrectness similar to that of a Hollywood action hero. The author conveys this brand of masculinity as negative and even compares these figures as caricatures of our culture. Masculine candidates have been successful several times in American history with examples like Arnold Schwarzenegger, George W. Bush, and William Henry Harrison. The author draws parallels between Trump’s persona and several societal norms placed on men in America culture.  For example Trump never apologizes, bulldozes competition, ignores political correctness, says America is ‘weak’, often boasts about his wealth, and openly displays his arrogance. The Donald is a common fixture in the American news cycle with his offensive comments towards illegal immigrants and openly misogynistic attacks on reporter Megan Kelly and political rival Carly Fiorina among many others. He often bullies the competition on the debate stage, like Jeb Bush and Ben Carson who Trump calls ‘low-energy’ and ‘weak’ because they do not exude brash arrogance like himself. 

Another aspect touched upon within the article is white male arrogance is likely to lead someone like Trump to believe he’s fit for presidency despite being a political novice. Similar to the message in Tough Guise, that dominating ideologies remain invisible when discussing race, sexual orientation, and gender (Earp). Nearly all the presidents fit into the mold of white straight male until recently with Obama. Ironically, Donald Trump in 2012 questioned Obama’s citizenship perhaps because the archetype was broken and unnerved the Republican front-runner. Nobody said George Washington was the first white president they simply said he was the first president. Now Obama is branded as the first black president and perhaps Hillary will be the first women president. Exemplifying the point that the dominant ideologies always dictate the language of the narration (Earp).

As seen in the film Tough Guise, the conservative backlash to the social changes of the women and gay rights movements radicalized the conservative wing of American politics. The epitome of this conservative push was the Ronald Reagan presidency, “he proved to be a master of political symbolism, tapping deep into the myth of the American cowboy, presenting himself as a throwback version of the strong, silent type, riding into town to rescue a country emasculated by the equality movements of the '60s and the weak leadership of President Jimmy Carter" (Earp). Does this sound familiar? A masculine hero who wants to save a ‘weak’ America by reasserting conservative values. Make America Great Again! The slogan for Donald Trump’s campaign. Ironically it was also Reagan’s slogan in 1980... Reagan is just one example of many male politicians who’ve tapped into the vein of toxic masculinity. Take Arnold Schwarzenegger a Hollywood action star and former Governor of California. The CNN article directly compares Arnold’s antics to Donald Trump’s. For example this quote from Tough Guise, “And to those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say don't be economic girly-men”(Earp). This type of homophobic rhetoric plays into the macho American archetype. Donald Trump is one footnote in a dark history of American politics.

 

Article: http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/04/opinions/bridges-trump-macho-candidates/

 

Works Cited:

  • Earp, Jeremy, Jackson Katz, Jason T. Young, Sut Jhally, and David Rabinovitz. Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood & American Culture. , 2013.

 

 

Comments

Nothing grabs people's attention lately quite like the name 'Donald Trump'. It would be difficult to find someone who hasn't hear of him or the garish spectacle he's making of the American political system. The fact that this man holds a serious shot at becoming president is a horrifyingly fascinating concept I never get tired of hearing about. His entire campaign is a poignant reminder of everything wrong with politics and the way society views its leaders.
Not only is Trump the epitome of toxic masculinity -but also of the power that comes with white privilege. There is no other racial group in America that could get away with 1/10th of the rudeness, boasting, or inappropriate commentary Trump spews on a daily basis. Those traits are celebrated in him whereas another candidate of a racial minority would not only be vindicated, but used as a defining example of their entire race. Trump has also milked the Obama-birth-certificate 'scandal' to a ridiculous degree. A white man would never face the same accusations.
This is all, however, still a reflection on society. Trump would never had gotten as popular as he is now if it isn't what society found appealing. Perhaps this proves that even in 2015, we aren't as beyond things like discrimination and male superiority as we like to believe.

I am responding to this post because I find American politics to be far more interesting and controversial to talk about. Additionally, the photo of Donald Trump himself caught my eye as he is wearing a hat that reads as "Make America Great Again" in big, bold white letters. It seems as though Donald Trump believes that in order for the United States to be great again is that any and all immigrants from other countries other than first world class countries should be stopped and sent back to their own country. It also seems to imply that he thinks the United States has lost its glory due to reasons of his own choosing. In reality, while there are many problems in the United States, immigrants from third world countries is certainly not one of them. A man, woman or child should be able to live in the United States without being discriminated for the color of their skin. Personally, I believe that everyone should be equal and the color of a person's skin should never decide their ranking or social class. I ask of you, what do you think would make America great again? What needs to change in order for the United States to be what the world needs it to be?

When searching for a post to comment on, I saw this one, which particularly caught my eye because of the name of Donald Trump and of the words given to describe him in the title. I heard a lot about this American politician before, especially about his view about illegal immigrants, but I did not know he was encouraging masculinity. The issue mentioned in this article’s response about masculinity could also be associated with race and racism. In fact, Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” has many significations depending on the way people look at it (e.g., sexism, racism, etc.). The politician is using this slogan to communicate not only sexist ideas, but also racist ones. As seen on Medias, he is using Americans’ fear of “the end of white America.” The thing is that, this is encouraging White Americans to be intolerant with Mexicans. Latinos are now ask more often if they speak English or if they are “illegal” by Whites, which can be frustrating for them as they are asked this question not just by one person, but by many. This can be related to white privilege because white people are a majority in America, which grant them the fact that there are few chances they would face the same kind of situation in their life in the United States. According to Kendall Clark in the class notes, white privilege is “a right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities.” Whites have difficulties noticing that they have more privileges than people who are not white, which is why white Americans still have such a negative view of Mexicans. To conclude my comment, a final thought about this issue is that we could compare in a way this situation with Trump and the Mexicans in the United States with the fears related to the Muslims in Canada.

First off, I decided to comment on your post because of your title. I find Donald Trump a very interesting character considering all the trouble he puts himself in, and his name on the title caught my attention. Trump has been all over the news recently because of his ideas and personality. I agree with the author when he says that Donald Trump portrays masculinity by never apologizing, bullying competition or being politically incorrect. Just recently, he affirmed he would "bomb the fuck out of ISIS" if he becomes president. That, in my opinion, portrays exactly the opinion of the author when he says that Trump is the new Arnold Schwarzenegger. With his slogan "Make America great again", Trump wants to be considered as the manly hero that will save the country. However, I believe that this could also be seen with a racial perspective. According to this slogan and his numerous speeches about building a wall between Mexico and the United States, it becomes rather obvious that Donald Trump is racist. His will to "Make America great again" goes through his belief that the white race is superior to others.This claim is supported by the author of the article when he reminds us that Donald Trump questioned the nationality of Barack Obama back in 2012. As we can see in the class notes, his is ideas perfectly reflect the definition of White Privildege, "A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities (Kendall Clark). Which makes me wonder why so many people support Donald Trump. Are they blind to racism, or simply do not realize it?

First of all, I really like your title and your article in general. It is very interesting to see how Donald Trump can be compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger or even William Henry Harrison. You drew an impressive portrait of Trump and help us understand more deeply this new character in the American political life. I totally agree with you when you say that Donald Trump portrays masculinity by never bulldozes competition and by his lack of apologies.
The only advice I can give you is about the reliability of your source. Maybe telling a bit more about the author and the source can make your article way more credible. You can talk about the background of Tristan Bridges, the author of the article, and tell us why we should believe what he has to say.
If you prove that the source is reliable, we will perfectly thrust any information you found from this article.
For example, you could have said that Bridges is “an assistant professor of sociology at The College at Brockport, State University of New York, who studies gender, sexuality, families and inequality”. I found this information in the same page of your article.
I put the link of another article on the newyorker.com talking about the same subject. This article was written by William Finnegan. He is renowned reporter who had twice received the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism and twice been a National Magazine Award finalist.
Click here for the article: http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/donald-trump-escalating-slurs