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Sexual identity

Donald Trump’s victory threatens to upend progressive notions of masculinity

November 20, 2016

When the news came in that Donald Trump had won the U.S. presidential election, it wasn’t only a defeat for women, wrote Jacqueline Rose in an Op-Ed for The Guardian. Trump’s victory, she argued, delivered a major blow to all men who see his “caricature of masculinity as a travesty.”

During the course of the election campaign, Rose noted, sexuality remained “at the core.” Trump boasted about his penis size, about groping women, demonized a beauty contestant he insulted by insinuating she had a sex tape, and denied a dozen accusations of sexual assault — sometimes by implying that the women accusing him weren’t attractive enough to be assaulted. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, was blamed by conservatives for her husband’s own sexual history.

“Even when it is the men who are behaving abominably,” Rose wrote, “everything wrong in the world of sexuality is laid at the woman’s door.”

This persistent reinforcement of classic male-female stereotypes, Rose claimed, was highlighted in remarks by Trump supporters. Asked about how she could vote for a man who treated women with disrespect, one female Trump supporter shrugged her shoulders. “Well, I am a woman, and he is a man,” she replied. Joe Walsh, a former Illinois congressman and conservative radio host, tweeted to followers that a Clinton victory would lead to “a country with 63 genders … if you want a country where men are men and women are women, vote Trump.”

From this point of view, Rose argues, all of Trump’s obvious faults are “a small price to pay for doing away with any possible confusion about sexual identity.” Trump’s popularity, in the end, wasn’t just about restoring America’s greatness. It was also about restoring an old way of thinking, “a way of pinning down, with no room for dissent or struggle, the sacred, absolute difference between women and men.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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