Donald Trump and Hyper-Masculinity: A Crying Shame
Can you learn or discover something if it feels like you already know it? I ask because today I “learned” something about Donald Trump that I may not have explicitly known before but that perfectly aligns with my understanding of who Trump is as a person and a politician.
Unsurprisingly, Trump is, for the most part, overjoyed at Brett Kavanaugh’s performance as of late, particularly the part where, choked with anger and entitlement, he lashed out at enemies real and imagined, in a hateful orgy of misogynistic rage.
Kavanaugh was operating from the Donald Trump playbook: when confronted with evidence of the horrible things you’ve done and said, deny, deny, deny and also attack, attack, attack. There was, however, one way in which Kavanaugh’s performance apparently disappointed President Grab ‘Em By the Pussy: while Trump loved the anger and entitlement and unhinged lashing out at people who dare to question him, he apparently hated that during his testimony Kavanaugh cried.
Because if there is one thing Donald Trump is convinced a “real man” does not do, it’s cry, either in front of other people or by themselves. President Bone Spurs claims that he himself has not cried since he was a baby. Think about that: the most powerful man in the world pretends that he has not cried for any reason over the past seven decades or so for any reason, including the deaths of loved ones and national tragedies. Furthermore, Trump rather brazenly looks down on everybody who does cry as being weak, particularly other men.
Being the world’s most successful schoolyard bully (although in Trump’s case, the schoolyard is social media or his events), Trump has folded his hatred and contempt for men who cry into his taunting nicknames for his enemies, like when he called Chuck Schumer “Crying Chuck” when he had the gall to cry publicly while discussing the Muslim travel ban.
A Trump biographer told People, “(Trump) would rather see a man keel over from a heart attack, trying to restrain himself, than bawling in front of the nation. He is just not a person who tolerates displays of emotion like this.
This did not surprise me at all, which is why I can’t really say I learned or discovered this fact when I knew it all again. OF COURSE Donald Trump does not think that men should cry. That’s central to his conception of toxic masculinity. Trump is very much a product of his time but he’s also proven incapable of growth or maturation, particularly when it comes to gender roles. So while it may be 2018 on everybody else’s calendar, for Trump it’s perennially 1958, and consequently a crime and a travesty for a man to cry when it is every man’s sacred duty to his nation and society to suffer silently and die of a premature, rage-induced heart attack.
What does it mean for a man to cry? It’s an act of vulnerability. It’s a gesture of openness and honesty. To cry is to acknowledge to the world and to yourself that you feel overwhelmed and sad and confused and overcome with powerful emotions you can neither understand or control.
In my mind, crying is not an act of weakness but rather an act of strength. You know who felt the same way? Rosey fucking Grier. THAT is my idea of a real man. Grier was a macho football superstar, acted opposite Ray Milland in The Thing With Two Heads and subdued Sirhan Sirhan after he assassinated Robert F. Kennedy.
On a more relevant note, Grier recorded the song “It’s Alright to Cry” for the 1972 album Free to Be You and Me to spread the message that there’s nothing weak or pathetic or shameful about crying.
It’s a message we need in 2018 as much, if not more, than we did in 1972. So if you’re feeling sad or overwhelmed and can’t control your emotions, go ahead and cry. It’s healthy. It’s natural. It’s cathartic. It’s an act of strength, not weakness. And if it makes Neanderthals like Donald Trump think you’re less of a man, who the fuck cares? Embrace your vulnerability. Embrace your emotions because old scared, silly little boys in old men’s bodies think there’s anything remotely shameful about tears. In actuality, it’s the need to violently repress your emotions for the sake of fitting into some retrograde, Donald Trump-friendly notion conception of rigid, brittle hyper-masculinity that’s the real sign of weakness.
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