Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Macho Conservatism

Glenn Greenwald in Salon discusses how popular conservatism relies on hypocritical expressions of gender role, using Ann Coulter as springboard:
That laughable absurdity really reveals the heart of this movement. It is a cult of contrived masculinity whereby people dress up as male archtypes like cowboys, ranchers, and tough guys even though they are nothing of the kind -- or prance around as Churchillian warriors because they write from a safe and protected distance about how great war is -- and in the process become triumphant heroes and masculine powerful icons and strong leaders. They and their followers triumph over the weak, effete, humiliated Enemy, and thereby become powerful and exceptional and safe.
As part of this agenda, liberal men must portrayed as effeminate, liberal women as masculine. This seems to be more about portraying political enemies as sexual perverts, and is a part of the conservative story about liberals - that we're degraded hippies who don't know the difference between man and woman and want to wreak our perverted sexuality upon the world.

To Greenwald (and I'm sure he's true), the need for ridiculous masculine figures reflects a desire for authoritarian control which stems from fear and uncertainty. And when you think about how often conservatives like to talk about how they have a pessimistic view of human nature, this seems true.

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