US Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, recently blamed the perceived loss of American masculinity on liberal ideologies, video games, and pornography.
Speaking at the National Conservatism Conference in Florida last week, Hawley asked the crowd:
Still, can we be surprised that after years of being told they are the problem, that their manhood is the problem, more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness, and pornography, and video games?
In the wake of his speech, Hawley’s decided to call “masculinity” one of his “signature political issues.” And he recently reiterated his position during an interview with Axios co-founder Mike Allen:
As conservatives, we’ve got to say that spending your time not working … spending your time on video games, spending your time watching porn online … is not good for you, your family or this country.
When Allen asked Hawley to define what a “man” was, the senator responded:
Well, a man is a father. A man is a husband. A man is somebody who takes responsibility.
On the surface, it might seem that Hawley’s calling for moral action against the gaming and porn industries. But, apparently, he has no intention of doing so. This is more of a haughty criticism of US voters than a call to actually… act.
In order to understand Hawley’s real concerns, we’ll have to take a look at his proposed solution.
Here’s another quote from his Florida speech last week:
We must make every effort to restore a vibrant manufacturing sector in this country that can employ working men at living wages.
I’m talking about wages that can feed a family and support a community. And we can start by requiring that at least half of all goods and supplies that are critical to our national security – at least half – be made right here in the United States of America.
Hawley believes that masculine manly men shouldn’t be idle, playing video games, or watching porn. They should be working in manufacturing jobs. So, how would that work out for a manly man in the US?
By the numbers: Let’s use Hawley’s home state of Missouri as an example. In order to feed a family of four (two adults, two children) in the state of Missouri, the wage-earner in a single-income family has to make $31.55 an hour.
Unfortunately for masculine men in Missouri, the average manufacturing job in their state only pays $11 an hour.
However, it’s worth noting that the average wages for a programmer in Missouri are about $39.00 an hour. And, furthermore there are far more jobs in the technology sector in Missouri than there are in manufacturing.
And, even if Hawley manages to bring thousands of manufacturing jobs to Missouri, those jobs will almost certainly be automated within a matter of years. That’s because US manufacturing jobs are declining and have been since their peak in the 1960s.
You know what industry isn’t declining? Gaming.
And, while pornography may not be quite as popular as video games, 40 million US adults regularly visit porn sites. More than two-thirds of those visitors are men.
Hawley can cry a river of tears over how hard it is to be a manly man in a world where Fortnite and porn exists. It won’t stop Epic Games and the porn industry from making billions. Nor will it stop most Americans from gaming and a large portion of adult men from perusing erotic videos online.
And, when it comes to his sniffling complaints about masculinity, he’s in a league of politicians that includes China’s president Xi Jinping.
Xi recently ordered effeminate men banned from TV because he was scared his country was starting to look weak.
This is the same ruler who banned Winnie The Pooh after finding out people were mockingly comparing him to the Disney character.
I’m not sure anyone should be taking “masculinity” direction from a president who gets offended by fictional teddy bears or a senator who spends his time at work worried about what other guys are doing with their joysticks.