Why Do Some Men Hate Hillary Clinton?

Hillary’s unpopularity with the non-college white male demographic is way above any other polling segment.   In my opinion this distortion in pattern must be attributable to something other than differences in political ideology.  Non-college and or blue collar white men appear to be uncomfortable with the notion of a female president that has little to do with the individual candidate but more to do with their perception of gender roles.  It is a complex issue and deserves explanation.  The question is, why do non-college white males feel such hostility towards a prominent female politician?

There is no question that non-college educated men in a relatively wealthy country have had difficulty coping with the enormous changes in the labor market and the home over the past half-century. As technology and trade have devalued brawn, less-educated men have struggled to find a role in the workplace. Women, on the other hand, are surging into expanding sectors such as health care, education and the law aided by their advanced and targeted schooling. As education has become more important, boys have also fallen behind girls in school. Men who lose jobs in manufacturing often never work again at jobs with equivalent wages. Men without work may find it hard to attract a permanent mate. The result, for low-skilled men, is a poisonous combination of no job or under employment, no family and few prospects.  The growing equality of the sexes is one of the biggest achievements of the post-war era: people, especially women, have greater opportunities than ever before to achieve their ambitions regardless of their gender. But some men have been unable to cope with this new world.

However there is more going on than economic displacement.  A female host on Fox News said, ” the wussification of America. Men have been emasculated, they have been feminized by the left that has pushed this on a culture. And they do see Donald Trump as somebody who speaks for them.”  Does this quote provide an additional clue?   Men in more traditionally male occupations are more likely to identify as completely masculine with accompanying strong beliefs in stereotypical gender roles.  They work alongside mostly other men and see their understanding of gender being attacked by militant feminists.  Therefore,  an outspoken tough female politician is perceived as being contrary to their belief about a women’s role and her public behavior.  A quote attributed to Donald Trump sheds even more light on the issue.

“OK often, I will tell friends whose wives are constantly nagging them about this or that that they’re better off leaving and cutting their losses, I’m not a great believer in always trying to work things out, because it just doesn’t happen that way. For a man to be successful he needs support at home, just like my father had from my mother, not someone who is always griping and bitching. When a man has to endure a woman who is not supportive and complains constantly about his not being home enough or not being attentive enough, he will not be very successful unless he is able to cut the cord.”

Key words from Trump – support at home, someone who is griping and bitching.   His take away, which seems to resonate with his highly affiliated non- college men, is that women should stay at home to support their man and being outspoken politically is merely griping and bitching.

It becomes apparent that the glass ceiling remains intact among non-college white men and for a female politician to succeed she must find a way to empathize with the economic condition of men whose jobs have been replaced by technology and outsourcing. We need to propose programs that will help these men retrain and recoup a middle class lifestyle.   Hopefully, when these men feel that they are no longer discarded by society they very well might be more accepting of gender equality and a female president.

Violent Men Strike Again

My motivation to blog about masculinity has been severely curbed by the national and world wide tragedies that have dominated the media and deeply affected our collective sense of well being.  At first glance, the problems of men redefining masculinity seems acutely trivial compared to the larger issues of hate crimes, terrorism, racial unrest and a polarized electorate.   However,  one might ask if there is a relationship between these larger issues and masculinity?  Some disturbing facts come to mind.   The Orlando killer was a man.   The terrorists and suicide bombers in Belgium, France, Bangladesh and Iraq were all men.  The Dallas and Baton Rouge cop killers were ex-military  men and the cops who shot suspects in Baton Rouge and St. Paul were also men.

Clearly one can make the case that men are far more prone to violence and martyrdom than women.   This is obviously not a new revelation.   Historically, as feminists are quick to point out, men have been responsible for most of the wars, genocides and overall savagery since recorded time.  Few would argue that the tendency to physical violence is significantly greater for men and this is often coupled with a sense that a cause is worth killing and dying for.   Not that women do not have strong beliefs and a firm moral compass but that they seem to be far less willing to put on a suicide vest to express their outrage.

To answer the earlier question, it appears that the larger issues are related to masculinity.   The warrior archetype or aggressive aspect of masculinity can be expressed by violent acts and a need to achieve goals only through zero sum outcomes.   In addition, martyrdom as an off shoot of heroism, also appears to part of the masculine zeitgeist   Drilling down other factors emerge.  Terrorists tend to be in their 20’s and many have been marginalized by their larger societies.   They tend to be disaffected, under employed and lack a sense of purpose other than the cause they adopt to rationalize their destructive behavior.   When violence and martyrdom combine we are dealing with a truly dangerous force.

Recognizing and understanding a problem are the first steps in finding solutions.   Unfortunately the all too common  tendency to find simple solutions to complex issues is fraught with the consequences of polarizing rhetoric, band aid approaches and wrong answers.  Men will not become less aggressive if we just advocate gender neutrality and shaming.  Aggressiveness modeled as assertive, non-violent and purposeful for the common good by Martin Luther King, and Gandhi  needs to be reinforced by the media and the educational establishment.  Economic opportunity, education and connection with the larger society are essential for young men to give them a sense of purpose and mission that counters the appeal of radicalization.  These are not easy or quick fixes.   Unfortunately, if we do not act deliberately, thoughtfully and with a broad consensus the horrors of violence and terrorism will only get worse.