Thursday, September 08, 2016
Fasten your seatbelts
|This says something|
In 2015, more Republicans told the Public Religion Research Institute that “there is a lot of discrimination” against white men than said “there is a lot of discrimination” against women. This spring, 42 percent of Americans said they believed the United States has become “too soft and feminine.” Imagine how these already unnerved Americans will react once there’s a female president. Forty-two percent isn’t enough to win the presidency. But it’s enough to create a lot of political and cultural turmoil.
I'm going to post this long excerpt of Peter Beinert new piece on Clinton but I want you to click over to the original to read the whole thing if you find this sort of thing interesting. I'm glad to see a man write this piece because when women write this sort of thing they have to put up with some truly scarring stuff on social media. (I have had a very bad week over this one I wrote for Salon on Tuesday for instance. It got 26 thousand Facebook shares and a whole lot of unpleasant misogynistic blow back.) I know may of you do not want to hear about this and I get it. But we're not just talking about one person. It's illustrative of the way the world sees half the population.
Except for her gender, Hillary Clinton is a highly conventional presidential candidate. She’s been in public life for decades. Her rhetoric is carefully calibrated. She tailors her views to reflect the mainstream within her party.
The reaction to her candidacy, however, has been unconventional. The percentage of Americans who hold a “strongly unfavorable” view of her substantially exceeds the percentage for any other Democratic nominee since 1980, when pollsters began asking the question. Antipathy to her among white men is even more unprecedented. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 52 percent of white men hold a “very unfavorable” view of Clinton. That’s a whopping 20 points higher than the percentage who viewed Barack Obama very unfavorably in 2012, 32 points higher than the percentage who viewed Obama very unfavorably in 2008, and 28 points higher than the percentage who viewed John Kerry very unfavorably in 2004.
At the Republican National Convention, this fervent hostility was hard to miss. Inside the hall, delegates repeatedly broke into chants of “Lock her up.” Outside the hall, vendors sold campaign paraphernalia. As I walked around, I recorded the merchandise on display. Here’s a sampling:
Black pin reading don’t be a pussy. vote for trump in 2016. Black-and-red pin reading trump 2016: finally someone with balls. White T-shirt reading trump that bitch. White T‑shirt reading hillary sucks but not like monica. Red pin reading life’s a bitch: don’t vote for one. White pin depicting a boy urinating on the word Hillary. Black T-shirt depicting Trump as a biker and Clinton falling off the motorcycle’s back alongside the words if you can read this, the bitch fell off. Black T-shirt depicting Trump as a boxer having just knocked Clinton to the floor of the ring, where she lies faceup in a clingy tank top. White pin advertising kfc hillary special. 2 fat thighs. 2 small breasts … left wing.
Standard commentary about Clinton’s candidacy—which focuses on her email server, the Benghazi attack, her oratorical deficiencies, her struggles with “authenticity”—doesn’t explain the intensity of this opposition. But the academic literature about how men respond to women who assume traditionally male roles does. And it is highly disturbing.
Over the past few years, political scientists have suggested that, counterintuitively, Barack Obama’s election may have led to greater acceptance by whites of racist rhetoric. Something similar is now happening with gender. Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is sparking the kind of sexist backlash that decades of research would predict. If she becomes president, that backlash could convulse American politics for years to come.
A troubling omen comes from Australia and Brazil, where female leaders have suffered a brutal backlash.
To understand this reaction, start with what social psychologists call “precarious manhood” theory. The theory posits that while womanhood is typically viewed as natural and permanent, manhood must be “earned and maintained.” Because it is won, it can also be lost. Scholars at the University of South Florida and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported that when asked how someone might lose his manhood, college students rattled off social failures like “losing a job.” When asked how someone might lose her womanhood, by contrast, they mostly came up with physical examples like “a sex-change operation” or “having a hysterectomy.”
Among the emasculations men most fear is subordination to women. (Some women who prize traditional gender roles find male subordination threatening too.) This fear isn’t wholly irrational. A 2011 study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that men who have female supervisors earn less, and enjoy less prestige, than men whose bosses are male.
Given the anxieties that powerful women provoke, it’s not surprising that both men and women judge them more harshly than they judge powerful men. A 2010 study by Victoria L. Brescoll and Tyler G. Okimoto found that people’s views of a fictional male state senator did not change when they were told he was ambitious. When told that a fictional female state senator was ambitious, however, men and women alike “experienced feelings of moral outrage,” such as contempt, anger, and disgust.
But while both men and women are often critical of powerful women, men are more likely to react aggressively. A study published last year by researchers at Northwestern, Washington State, and Bocconi University, in Italy, reported that men negotiating with a female hiring manager demanded more money than those negotiating with a male one. Another recent study, this one by University of South Florida researchers, showed that after men had their gender identity threatened, they placed riskier bets. Feeling subordinate to women may also lead men to act recklessly in their private lives. According to the University of Connecticut’s Christin Munsch, men who are economically dependent on their wives are more likely than others to be unfaithful.
It gets worse. In a study of several hundred people, Jennifer Berdahl of the University of British Columbia found that women who “deviated from traditional gender roles—by occupying a ‘man’s’ job or having a ‘masculine’ personality” were disproportionately targeted for sexual harassment.
But sexual harassment isn’t more likely only when women violate traditional gender roles. It’s also more likely when men consider those roles sacrosanct. In another study, Italian researchers arranged for male students to collaborate online with a fictitious man and one of two fictitious women. One of the women said she wanted to become a bank manager “even though it takes so much time away from family” and that she had joined “a union that defends women’s rights.” The second woman said she wanted to be a teacher, which she considered “the ideal job for a woman because it allows you to have sufficient time for family and children.” Having told the subjects that they were participating in a test of visual memory, the researchers gave them an assortment of images to exchange, some of which were pornographic. In each group, the fictitious male interlocutor proceeded to send pornographic images to the fictitous female; the researchers studied which of the male students would do the same, and to which of the women. They reported that the feminist interlocutor received the most pornography, and that male students who endorsed traditional gender roles were most likely to send it.
Please read on. This isn't all in our heads. This happens every day. And if Clinton manages to win, not a sure thing at all, it won't magically disappear any more than racism disappeared with Barack Obama.
digby 9/08/2016 12:30:00 PM