Science

Americans who endorse a form of masculinity are likely have love for Donald Trump, study reveals 


American politicians tend to paint themselves as being powerful, influential and never vulnerable and such ideas about masculinity could explain people’s love for President Donald Trump, study reveals.

A team from Penn State University found that Americans who support ‘hegemonic masculinity – the notion that men should be strong, tough and dominant – were more likely to have voted for and feel positively about Trump.

Researchers believe this stems from US politics being largely dominated by men who push traditional masculinity while campaigning to prove they are competent and skilled.

Nathaniel Schermerhorn, who is involved in the study, says that although the American society may be ready for a female president, ‘a rejection of hegemonic masculinity may need to happen first.’ 

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American politicians tend to paint themselves as being powerful, influential and never vulnerable and such ideas about masculinity could explain people's love for President Donald Trump, study reveals

American politicians tend to paint themselves as being powerful, influential and never vulnerable and such ideas about masculinity could explain people’s love for President Donald Trump, study reveals

Seven different studies were conducted with a total of 2,007 participants.

For the first six studies, participants were asked questions about feelings toward hegemonic masculinity, trust in the government, sexism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia.

Each person also identified their political party affiliation, if they voted for Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016 and their stand on both candidates individually.

In the final study, subjects answered similar questions but also gave information about how they planned to vote in the 2020 presidential election, along with evaluations of Trump and President-elect Joe Biden. 

A team from Penn State University found that Americans who support 'hegemonic masculinity – the notion that men should be strong, tough and dominant – were more likely to have voted for and feel positively about Trump. These findings included men and woman

A team from Penn State University found that Americans who support ‘hegemonic masculinity – the notion that men should be strong, tough and dominant – were more likely to have voted for and feel positively about Trump. These findings included men and woman

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Seven different studies were conducted with a total of 2,007 participants. For the first six studies, participants were asked questions about feelings toward hegemonic masculinity, trust in the government, sexism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia. They also shared their feelings of Trump, Hillary Clinton and President-elect Joe Biden (pictured)

Seven different studies were conducted with a total of 2,007 participants. For the first six studies, participants were asked questions about feelings toward hegemonic masculinity, trust in the government, sexism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia. They also shared their feelings of Trump, Hillary Clinton and President-elect Joe Biden (pictured)

After the studies were completed, the team compiled all the data and found  participants who endorsed hegemonic masculinity were more likely to vote for Trump and to evaluate him positively. 

This was true for women and men, white and non-white participants, Democrats and Republicans and across level of education.

Theresa Vescio, professor of psychology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, said: ‘Additionally, we found that stronger endorsement of hegemonic masculinity was related to greater sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and Islamophobia.’

‘But, hegemonic masculinity continued to predict support for Trump even when controlling for these prejudices.’

Vescio said that while Trump’s success with voters has been attributed to many different possible factors, she and the other researchers were specifically interested in to what extent hegemonic masculinity played a role with constituents. 

After the studies were completed, the team compiled all the data and found participants who endorsed hegemonic masculinity were more likely to vote for Trump and to evaluate him positively. This was true for women and men, white and non-white participants, Democrats and Republicans and across level of education

After the studies were completed, the team compiled all the data and found participants who endorsed hegemonic masculinity were more likely to vote for Trump and to evaluate him positively. This was true for women and men, white and non-white participants, Democrats and Republicans and across level of education

‘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. 

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‘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.’

Schermerhorn notes that American politics has, historically, been carried out like a masculinity contest in when proving which candidate should be crowned the winner.

‘Since the 1980s, the Republican party has used this to their rhetorical advantage by presenting the Republican candidate as masculine and feminizing the entire Democratic party, for example by calling them ‘snowflakes,’ he said.



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