We are in the middle of an unprecedented political and cultural gender war. On one side of this war, we have Trump, alpha males and the women who love them. On the other side are beta males and the women who want to be them. . . . [the Trump side] flies the flag of manliness and strength which it sees as necessary to hold the world together and keep it from continuing to unravel in uncertain and perilous times. It is fighting to preserve not just manly strength but gender itself, the cultural differences between male and female. The other side is seeking to overthrow the patriarchal hierarchy that has run the world since we lived in caves. It seeks to create a sexually egalitarian world by extinguishing gender and its differences.Pinker:
Trump is the last hope of those, like me, who would preserve the old patriarchal hierarchy. That’s why white college educated suburban women hate him: he is the political embodiment of the regressive threat to the evolution of postmodern female identity. Simply put, Trump’s alpha dog manliness and strength are a threat to the evolving independence and power of women. He “would take women back.” He represents the world as it was, where women were kept “in their place.”
Trump is almost a caricature of a contestant to be Alpha baboon: aggressive, hypersensitive to perceived threats to his dominance, boastful of his status and physical attributes (including his genitals), even the physical display of colorful big hair and a phallic red tie. Men may identify with such displays. . . .Edsall concludes:
The latest battle of the sexes has the media, educational, and workplace establishments sympathizing with women and demonizing men. Much of this is justified and long overdue, given how women are exploited and discriminated against, but it may leave some men feeling defensive, belittled, and eager for a champion. This may especially affect lower-status men. High-status women may justifiably protest their treatment at the hands of high-status men, but lower-status men may feel less sympathy for them, particularly if they feel demeaned and disenfranchised.
Men’s commitment to protecting their status — their dominant position in the social order — cannot be counted out in 2018 or 2020. Elections have become a sexualized battlefield, and men have repeatedly demonstrated their determination to win no matter the social cost. The outcome of the next two elections will show whether women are equally determined to fight tooth and nail.I would add that one does not have to see this as naked self-interest in men; many Trump voters have equal marriages on the modern model and they may be perfectly happy with that. What drives much of our politics is a desire to make the world feel right. Trump taps into a sense that the world runs better with aggressive manly men in charge; he fits a mental template of the strong leader that goes far back in mammalian evolution. People who have no clue about foreign policy admire Trump's approach because it is all about projecting strength, after interminable, unwinnable wars have sapped our sense that America is strong.
One of the deep problems with the modern world is that most of us feel powerless and ignored. Trump, by acting out ancient images of power, gives his followers a vicarious sense of strength; and by speaking directly to them in language they relate to, he makes them feel that someone understands. Those are powerful political weapons, and it remains to be seen if the Democrats have anything to offer with the same appeal.