President Donald Trump still carries a lot of support among white men who are drawn to his portrayal of masculinity: an alpha dog, aggressive, macho “man’s man” who never backs down from a fight.
“Trump stands for white privilege as well as male privilege. There’s a lot of white people who think that’s just dandy,” says Matthew Gutmann, a professor of anthropology at Brown University author of “Are Men Animals? How Modern Masculinity Sells Men Short.”
Trump’s appeal extends to white women too, Gutmann notes.
“It is the open, untethered misogyny and the assertion of male privilege and impunity that captures not only men but tens of millions of women [who] are voting for Trump,” Gutmann says. “Most guys would do what Trump says he does, or wants to do, if they could get away with it.”
He says Democratic contender Joe Biden represents a different kind of stereotypical man: “the defense of family, the support of the family, the one who is always there to protect.”
Gutmann says current views on masculinity still limit the definition of men and masculinity, and there is more work to be done.
“These ideas and these kinds of relationships of inequality exist all over the place, but feminism and gay rights have done a lot to shake up these kinds of power arrangements and move us in a different direction.”