Trumped up on Testosterone

Social Commentary

Trumped up on Testosterone

Illustration: Mandar Mhaskar/ Arré

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lot went down this week. Eleven thousand people might have cast their vote for the legendary silverback gorilla Harambe, one vote was cast for the alcoholic beverage Hennessy, oh and Donald frickin Trump was elected President of the United States and world’s biggest nuclear arsenal. This is the literal definition of shit getting real.

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How Trump won with such ease though, has been the question of the week after most polls were predicting a 3-6 point Hillary win. The reason is two-fold: Conservative women and White bros. Hillary, unfathomably, lost the white woman vote, even with the double whammy of sexual assault allegations against Trump and his constant casual sexism. Over 90 per cent black women and nearly 70 per cent Latino women voted Hillary, but only around 40 per cent white women did. Essentially, everyone behaved like they were expected to, except white women, because of whom, the results pivoted. Why so many conservative women voted for Trump is beyond logic as nowhere in the Bible did Jesus grab them by the pussy. But the case of the bros might have an easier answer.

On one side is Hillary, who proposes openness, secularism, diversity, and a common goal. On the other is Trump, who represents the American ideal of success – defined as dating attractive models, driving fancy cars, being on a reality show – and promises jobs and plans to deport those who have taken what they believe is rightfully theirs. In the process, Trump might also have outlined the idea of maleness for the non-college-educated man.

Maleness in post-liberal 2016 is a construct that has been greatly revamped from its jungle origins. Socio-cultural politics dictate that we should look like men on the outside but essentially be feminine on the inside. The traits post-modern society desires in modern men are empathy and gentleness and sensitivity which are traditionally considered feminine characteristics. But in the era of post-modern feminism, the veneer of bravado runs pretty thin.

Before you burn me at the stake, hear me out. The millennial male is a pretty fucked-up creature. He’s lost and floundering, looking for his place in a post-feminist world. I know this because I am one.

It’s no surprise that in most urban schools, girls have consistently done better than boys throughout the 2000’s. Millennial women have an objective and are striving toward something: They want equal jobs and equal pay and equal respect and these are worthy goals to be pursuing because these are their fundamental rights.

He allowed them to go back to this shuffling primate male persona without the layers and nuances that society has constructed over it.

On the other hand, is the millennial male, for whom the goalposts are constantly shifting. He is trying to find a balance between “being a man” at home and being a decent fucking human being in the work and social spheres, really just trying to be something. And this tightrope walk is exhausting. What Trump did successfully was to reclaim this lost, glorious idea of maleness: When men could just slap the bitch and ask her to go make a sandwich. No equivocation, no chicanery, just grab her by the pussy and be unafraid of declaring it.

At a time when so many Americans were looking for a change (however dire), wanting to be lifted out of this morass of supposed emasculation, Trump gave vent to their anger. He acknowledged their inadequacy, and promised them a clear direction and the ammunition to power through it. He allowed them to go back to this shuffling primate male persona without the layers and nuances that society has constructed over it.

Trump understood the conflict between this modern man veneer and primal maleness. He understood that the far-right or the alt-right or whatever the fuck Nigel Farage is supposed to be, isn’t a cosmic event. It is the politicisation of the disorientation of the country’s most dominant electorate. It’s no wonder he calls his campaign a movement because that’s what it really is: It’s a quest of a generation of lost men, trying to find something sacred.

Donald Trump tapped into this loss and made no bones about what side he was on in a world of blurred gender lines. The reason he won, in addition to the media normalising his shitshow behaviour and women not turning up for Hillary, was because he cultivated an unshakeable base of men who want to go back to the glory days of being men again. Where men were at the centre of the universe and women, minorities, and immigrants knew their place.

As modern women continue to strive to break the glass ceiling, Trump has broken open the glass cage white American men believe was holding them back. For these men, Trump has made America male again.

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