Phys.org - January 4, 2021
"In contemporary America, idealized forms of masculinity suggest that men should be high in power, status and dominance, while being physically, mentally and emotionally tough," Vescio said. "But this is an incredibly high standard that few can achieve or maintain. Therefore, this is an idea that many men strive to achieve, but few men actually exhibit."
American politicians have long been expected to uphold a certain veneer: powerful, influential and never vulnerable. New Penn State research has found that these idealized forms of masculinity may also help explain support for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election and in the days leading up to the 2020 election.
Across several studies, the researchers found that when men and women endorsed "hegemonic masculinity"—a culturally idealized form of masculinity that says men should be strong, tough, and dominant—they were more likely to vote for and have positive feelings about Trump.
The researchers found this was true even when they controlled for political party, gender and how much the participants trusted the government.
Nathaniel Schermerhorn, a dual doctoral candidate in psychology and women's, gender, and sexuality studies, said the findings—published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America—suggest that while American society seems to be ready for a female president, an active rejection of hegemonic masculinity may need to happen first.
"The pervasiveness of hegemonic masculinity exists because we do not always know that our attitudes and behaviors are contributing to it," Schermerhorn said. "The success of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign shows that even if we, as a society, have made progress in saying that discrimination and prejudice is undesirable, we have not, as a society, fully interrogated the systematic ways in which those prejudices are upheld."
Because American politics are largely dominated by men, the researchers said political campaigns often emphasize traditionally masculine characteristics to convince voters of a candidate's competence and skill. ...
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