Trump an exemplar of American masculinity?

Donald Trump was born in June 1946, and would have turned 17 in 1963, the year Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique was published, which I gather fired up ‘second wave feminism’ in the US.

Back in early August, James Hamblin in The Atlantic identified Donald Trump as the climax of American masculinity.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

That referred to his aggressive style. Now Paul McGeough’s article ‘Formal’ vulgarian Donald Trump evokes Mad Men, Playboy and the Rat Pack looks at the origins of his attitude to women.

If you need help, by the Rat Pack he’s referring to th 1960s version, a group of male singers, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, with this reputation:

    Concerning the group’s reputation for womanizing and heavy drinking, Joey Bishop stated in a 1998 interview: “I never saw Frank, Dean, Sammy or Peter drunk during performances. That was only a gag! And do you believe these guys had to chase broads? They had to chase ’em away!”

Mad Men was a period TV series set in the 1960s running from 2007-2015. I gather it did much to reinforce male attitudes tending to objectify women which persisted through to this century.

Hugh Hefner‘s Playboy magazine began with a nude centrefold of Marilyn Monroe in 1953 and was much on the ascendancy through the 1960s and into the 1970s.

Hefner lived in Playboy Mansion and branched into other fields under the rubric of Playboy Enterprises as an international brand.

I haven’t studied him closely, but he has the reputation of being ‘involved’ with many of the ‘playmates’ that appeared in Playboy, a coterie of young attractive women were continually moving in and out of playboy mansion and he often dated several women at once.

Essentially Trump is stuck in bad attitudes to women he picked up growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s. There are a lot of highly quotable bits in McGeough’s article, but he ends with Leslie Bennetts, at Vanity Fair:

    “As the possessor of a penis, celebrity and a fortune, Trump has never questioned his right to inspect and rank women in terms of his own interest in having sex with them. For decades his objectification of women has remained as consistent as the ugliness of his values; as a self-appointed judge of female worth, he and his beauty pageants and reality shows have perpetuated the misogynistic standards that nullify the value of any woman who is not very young, very thin and conventionally attractive.

    “But women are becoming ever less compliant – and female insurrection is particularly upsetting to men who are already anxious about their ability to maintain their authority.”

McGeough says Bill Clinton is roughly the same age as Trump, and was basically as a Southern boy, an Elvis wannabe.

There may be some of that, but I’d point out that Hillary, who knows him fairly well, from the Heffernan piece:

    said her husband’s sexual compulsions stemmed from a childhood pressure to please both his grandmother and his mother.

Heffernan is clearly not convinced. I followed the Monica Lewinsky saga and its aftermath at the time. I’m willing to believe that Bill had a significant personality disorder.

There’s no doubt that people were hurt and will never be the same.

Personality disorders can be treated. Such a fundamental change can be prompted by a significant life experience with high emotional content, such as public shaming while president, impeachment, and being made to sleep on the couch for a time.

I don’t think it’s fair to make facile judgements about how Hillary acted through the whole business. Any assessment would require in-depth research to understand how it was to walk in her shoes. However, I can’t see any residues that impair her capacity to be president.

Had Americans known the full deal on Bill at the time, I doubt he would have become president. Trump can be assessed by the words coming out of his own mouth, and now 10 women who have come forward.

His crude and bumbling advances don’t seem to have gotten him very far. However, the fact that he dismisses the 2005 tape as “locker room talk” and therefore OK has been too much for over 50 senior Republicans.

Leslie Bennett thinks Election 2016 will be a referendum on male entitlement. Americans will have to think carefully about what electing Trump would say about their values.

Reuters/Ipsos have Clinton with a 95% or better of winning. Nate Silver says there is:

    an 86 percent chance for [Clinton] to win the election according to our polls-only model, and an 83 percent chance per our polls-plus model.

He explains that he gives more weight than other pollsters to a larger than usual number of undecided voters at this stage of the cycle, and the third candidate factor.

NBC/Wall Street shows:

    Democrat Clinton holds an 11-point lead over Republican Trump among likely voters, 48 percent to 37 percent, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 7 percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein at 2 percent.

Elsewhere, Jennifer Mercieca says Trump uses rhetoric generally to portray people as things. Women are just the latest.

Brian McNair says Trump has moved the goalposts of what is acceptable behaviour in a presidential candidate so far that we have no language adequate to critique or refute him. But the talk of groping women has probably done him in. Look forward now to Michelle Obama vs Donald Trump Jr in 2024 for the next big fight for the soul of America.

    The younger [Trump] males – probably not daughter Ivanka, whom he talks about as a “piece of ass” with his “locker-room” cronies – in his family will replace the old man with even more virulently fascistic appeals to the mob, and do so with much greater sophistication and self-control than the raging bull has managed.

McNair reminds us that a woman known as “Jane Doe” is a plaintiff in a New York federal civil court case where she is accusing Donald Trump of raping her in the ‘90s when she was 13 years old. She claims Trump threatened her and her family with death if she continued. The case comes to court on December 16.

Geoff Beattie unpacks Trump’s body language in a fascinating post. Those hands help him more than you’d think, for example implying he has a precise plan when he doesn’t. In the second debate:

    As he went on the attack in the debate, his use of beat gestures duly increased. He chopped, he pointed, he sliced. Trump was now fully armed. He heckled, he interrupted, he glowered as Clinton talked, issuing a nonverbal running commentary on what she was saying.

    All in all, this was a bully’s performance, a physical attempt to dominate Clinton and manipulate our interpretation of her words.

Meanwhile Clinton awaits what Wikileaks may yet dump on her. It might not matter very much, because Trump has made himself the central issue.

72 thoughts on “Trump an exemplar of American masculinity?”

  1. Old-fashioned and disgusting attitudes to 50% of his fellow humans are one thing…. Sexual assault is another……
    Bill Clinton and JFK also despicable.

    Bullies we have always had in politics: Mark Latham, anyone?
    Racist rhetoric we’ve often had, in many nations.
    Ignorant rhetoric, so often it’s an embarrassment to humans everywhere.
    Refusal to believe confidential, high level intelligence briefings, now that’s innovative.
    Rambling, incoherent monologues – that’s unusual.
    3 am nasty tweets – another innovation.

    Boasting of tax avoidance, boasting of bankruptcies: a novel approach from a fellow whose main life experience has been in business.
    Expressing admiration for Vladimir Putin – surprising, unless it’s through empathy for another kleptocrat.

    What an unusual candidate!
    No Tweedledum and Tweedledee this year!


    With pre-polling underway, there’s a suggestion Secretary Clinton may achieve victory before 8th Nov.

  2. I read today that there is a 59 seat Republican majority in the HoR, with heavily gerrymandered electorates, organised by Republican state governors. The best that Secretary Clinton can hope for if she wipes the floor with Trump, is to halve that.

    Problem is that the rightwing rubbish will still be there.

    I think we are witnessing the not-so-slow decline of a hegemonic imperial power, with a democratic system that is incapable of genuine renewal.

  3. Brian,

    The recent desertion of The Donald by several senior Republicans may suggest they’re very worried about backlash votes for Democrat Congressional candidates.

    One way that might happen, is if anti-Trumpers turn out in large numbers to vote for Secretary Clinton, and while they’re in the booth they vote Democrat in other contests.

    But who can tell from this distance?

    Hegemonic power, yes. Many signs of decline, but also resilience and intellectual strength and critical voices widely heard. Hope yet.

    Legislative “gridlock” has gone on for decades now.

    Astonishing bitterness in the American public political contest; my guess is that it goes back at least to Richard Nixon, Vietnam war, Iran hostages, and Ronald Reagan’s “Contra scandal”.

  4. As you point out Brian Trump spent his young adulthood in the period of the sixties after the sudden dramatic change in sexual morality and attitudes to established religions that flowed from the Vietnam war. For the son of a millionaire like Trump the increase in willing women and the general challenging of the status quo may have twisted his thinking.
    Linking masculinity with Trump is unfair on most men and increases the perception that men are unfairly under attack.


    And Hillary is an exemplar of ?
    Never mind, you’d have to want to look to see.

  6. And Hillary is an exemplar of ?

    The beltway insider perhaps?
    But this post is about Trump and masculinity.
    Why are you trying to change the subject?

  7. Because its a 2 horse race and only 1 is being swabbed pre-race.
    And you’d like to keep it that way ?
    Why ?

  8. I would have preferred it if the personal lives of the two candidates had been off-limits. However, when a tape is released where Trump is talking casually about his habits of criminal sexual assault, this has to be dealt with.

    Especially since ‘family values’ seems to be a prime value in the US.

    Trump’s response has ensured that it is for now at least central to his candidacy, overshadowing his policies, such as they are.

    John, linking Trump to a particular form of unacceptable masculinity may be unfair to most men, but it can’t be helped.

    Jumpy, Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been trying to tip a bucket on Hillary, but haven’t come up with much. Seems Ecuador is not amused and has cut off his internet access. Trump has been tipping buckets on her too, but I don’t think the mud sticks anymore because of his loss of credibility. Says more about him.

  9. Ambigulous, the “astonishing bitterness” you refer to no doubt has deep antecedents. However, I think things took a turn for the worse in 1994 (?) when Newt Gingrich took over the Republican leadership in the HoR, which evolved into the dominance of the Tea Party ratbag rightwing element. When Obama was elected they seemed to regard his presidency as illegitimate, and wouldn’t cooperate in any way, simply because he was him.

    In return, I read recently that Obama never picked up the phone to anyone in Congress, even his own side. I think he’s smart and realised that talking to Congress was a waste of time.

    The US is bifurcating politically and perhaps in terms of values. It’s also quite a violent society, from when the Europeans arrived. On TV tonight we heard a coffee shop owner receiving death threats because she entertained Trump. Conversely the staff of an Arizona newspaper which has called for a vote for Hillary for the first time ever, was swamped by death threats.

  10. Jumpy, Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been trying to tip a bucket on Hillary, but haven’t come up with much.

    Only someone that hasn’t looked would say that.

    None are so blind……

  11. Yes, Brian.
    The Republicans in Congress played very hard ball during President Clinton’s first term.

    The U.S. system is supposed to avoid tyranny by its in-built “checks and balances”, but the Westminster system seems more congenial for workable compromise.

    Example: US Congress refusing to release Federal budget money. It’s now 41 years since Aussie Parliament pulled that kind of stunt.

  12. Jumpy, I haven’t looked, particularly, but have heard the usual stuff along the way.

    Bruce Schapiro talking to Phillip Adams (neither are Hillary fans) said Assange hasn’t come up with much that we didn’t already know, and it didn’t amount to much in the current context except Assange was obsessed with doing in Hillary.

  13. Because its a 2 horse race and only 1 is being swabbed pre-race.

    Only someone that hasn’t looked would say that.

  14. John, linking Trump to a particular form of unacceptable masculinity may be unfair to most men, but it can’t be helped.

    The problem is that the Trumps and One Nations of the world are latching on to this unfairness to gain support from pissed off men.
    What would have been the reaction if you had said:

    John, linking some named prominent woman to a particular form of unacceptable femininity may be unfair to most women, but it can’t be helped.


  15. Excellent point John.
    And Brian,Bruce Schapiro ?!?
    The same Bruce Schapiro that is a contributing editor of The Nation magazine ?

  16. Avg salary of the highest paid men is $294,157.50, while the avg salary of the highest paid women is $181,576.66 ($112K difference)

    Median salary of the highest paid men is $346,106, while the median salary of the highest paid women is $185,386 ($190K difference)

    Q. Is this from Trump Enterprises or The Clinton Foundation ?

  17. John, linking some named prominent woman to a particular form of unacceptable femininity may be unfair to most women, but it can’t be helped.

    John, I suspect your analogy lacks legs.
    I can’t think of one so I have to ask, is there a feminine equivalent of Trump? Has a prominent woman ever said anything like:

    You know I’m automatically attracted to handsome — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything…
    Grab them by the balls. You can do anything.

  18. Your figures have to be suspect.

    True John, it was a Wikileaked email from a Dem to a Dem.
    I can only assume the first average was Mode.

  19. Just sceptical of your ” not a Hillary fan ” tag fits, have you anything that he’s said that would suggest criticism of her?

    He’s obviously progressive/left/Democrat and favours that side.

  20. “Not a Bill Shorten fan” might include Libs, Nats, Socialist Left ALP, Greens, Trots, some other moderate ALP, undecided, Family First, and the 19 remaining Aussie Maoists……

    “Not a Bill Shorten fan” is a very broad church, as they are wont to cliche (cleeshay).

  21. ‘root’ in the dictionary – 3rd meaning, followed by ‘for’. US quolloq. Encourage by applause or support.

  22. Ambigulous, I thought “root” in the American sense was colloquial here too. Perhaps not. I was looking for something stronger than “favour”.

    John, like zoot I couldn’t make that piece of mental gymnastics work.

    A possible example would be a female teacher who predates on underage male students (and hence illegal), and boasts about it to her friends. And then runs for public office and the story comes out.

    First, she wouldn’t boast about it. Second if she did, she’d be seen as highly aberrant, and could not pass it off as locker room talk. Third if she did and it came out, she’d be toast, no question.

    Trump should have apologised, said he’s changed and let it be. Instead he went on the attack, I think because that’s his normal form of defence, rather than for any possible electoral advantage.

  23. A possible example would be a male teacher who predates on underage female students (and hence illegal), and boasts about it to his friends. And then runs for public office and the story comes out.

    First, he wouldn’t boast about it. Second if he did, he’d be seen as highly aberrant, and could not pass it off as locker room talk. Third if he did and it came out, he’d be toast, no question.

    Just wanted to see it written on a page like that and compare.

  24. Well you’ve made a point, Jumpy.

    I still can’t do the mental switcheroo. You could, perhaps try using a female celebrity, but it wouldn’t be taken as in any way representing ‘female femininity’.

  25. I think the problem with trying to find a female equivalent to Trump (and his ilk) is that pretty much every woman has met many men who share his attitude and behaviours (his unacceptable masculinity). It’s a characteristic of our (still) patriarchal society.
    There is no equivalent ‘unacceptable femininity’ which has been experienced by the overwhelming majority of men.

  26. Nonsense, there is rarely an adult alive today that wasn’t primarily influenced in their first 15 years of life by a matriarch.
    The reason you can’t see an equivalent is testament to your blindness.
    Fact is men and women are different, with different goals and different methods.
    Femininity is just as powerful as masculinity.

  27. I think that’s well said zoot.

    Jumpy, you are broadening the issue, where you have distorted things in a particular way, but I’m not going there.

    The issue with Trump is the objectification of women’s bodies and the notion that their bodies are there for his sexual gratification, that they should be available according to his will and that is how their worth is measured.

    It’s not pretty and unfortunately is having a boost with the availability of pornography, the sexualisation of young girls by the clothing industry and through advertising generally, and now the use of social media.

    I heard Kerryn Baird talking about this recently, Googled and came up with her being made ambassador for Collective Shout and articles by Melinda Tankard Reist here and here.

    zoot is right in saying there is no equivalent ‘unacceptable femininity’. You can find instances, but not in anything like the same degree.

  28. Only the most naive would suggests women don’t use their feminine wiles and feminine position to manipulate men from time to time.
    Or at least attempt to.
    If you don’t think that discussion of ” grabbing a cock ” happens amongst women on a hens night, think again.

  29. Jumpy, my experience is limited, because I don’t have ready access to anyone who attends “hen’s nights”.

    However, I would put to you that whatever is said there has no equivalence with a celebrity male engaging in sexual assault on sexually attractive women, some of them apparently strangers, and then talking about it with pride a couple of months after his latest marriage.

  30. … a celebrity male engaging in sexual assault on sexually attractive women…

    That’s a serious accusation, any evidence it happened ?

  31. The Donald boasted that he had done it; that he had been able to get away with it because he was “a star”; The Billy accepted his boast at face value.

    The Billy didn’t accuse The Donald of lying, or remonstrate with him about his creepy behaviour. The Guys On The Bus laughed along with it. Perpetual Adolescent fantasies?

    Or a truthful account of The Donald’s sick hobbies and his achievements therein??? C’mon, it’s a reality TV show folks: do we vote The Donald off the bus?!!! Or should he stay on it forever in a Circle of Hell reserved for the Brat who didn’t care that he was wearing a microphone?

    The Donald’s candidacy will be remembered for his bus trip. And he has only himself to blame.

  32. It’s funny that this is the only thing that Anti-Trumper take him at his word.
    I don’t believe either Him or Hills.

    Oh, and his latest ” sexual assault victim ” is a porn actress that just launched an online store selling..erm.. work related products.
    These are the types of folk the DNC seek out, as show in the Project Veritas expose. If you haven’t seen it, do yaself a fava.

  33. On that video, someones had that for 10 years, why not release it in the primaries, could have snuffed him then ?

    Old Bernie got the back stage Hillary shaft so I don’t think he was sitting on it, he’d have given Cruz a good contest.

  34. Upstream a bit, in my comment which Jumpy completely misinterpreted, I was referring to masculine behaviour like this.
    I don’t believe there is any feminine equivalent.

  35. Donald is now threatening all the women who have come forward with law suits after the election.

    When you are in a hole, stop digging, but Donald chose to dig deeper when he attacked Bill Clinton.

    Plenty have also done analysis of his speech about Hillary and found it misogynist. Let’s face it, in the category ‘personal suitability’ he’s a fail.

  36. zoot
    Thats a classic, Ive saved it.
    A woman voluntarily enters a fake world where fake demon pixels try to eat her fake face pixels off, but a fake pixel hand ( could be a lesbians virtual fake pixel hand in future ) pixels touching her fake breast pixels and virtual fake pixel rape is now causing her immense stress.
    Have I got that right ?
    I’m so sharing that, thanks.

  37. Here’s the story of the 11th woman.

    I make no judgement about her profession.

    Jumpy, what is your proposition in simple terms.

    Is it that some women are as bad as Trump and therefore he’s OK?

    Or is it that we should think the best of him until anything negative is proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law?

    In your own words, please.

  38. I think innocent until proven guilty of course.
    Hillary has been proven guilty but not charged, how can that be left to stand ?

  39. Have I got that right ?

    As far as your limited understanding goes. Yes.

    I note that you have failed to make any mention of BigBro442’s behaviour. But we’re used to you only ever using one eye when you look at a situation.

  40. Hillary has been proven guilty but not charged

    With regard to what? (In your own words, please)

  41. Jump person at 2.18pm,
    Releaser of video said he went off searching for the old video, when several women claimed The Donald had behaved badly towards them – and women in general – on TV sets, and The Donald denied he had done so.

    So the releaser thought, there’s a video which might show, on the balance of probabilities, who’s telling the truth. Let’s see if I can find it.

    Took him a while. But it was worth the effort, eh?

    Don’t blame the DNC for all of The Donald’s woes. It just doesn’t wash, now.

  42. Zoot,
    You’re right, sorry.
    He used a virtual platform to put a virtual hand pixel, up against a virtual tit pixel on a screen in a fake world. She could apparently, virtually shoot pixels at everything other than this arseholes virtual rape pixels.
    When he could have, if his want was visual erotica, just google imaged Trumps latest victim. ( ht BilB for the lesson )

    (“Jessica Drake xxx”)

  43. Meanwhile,

    Pacific Free Trade, NAFTA, poverty, medical insurance, Syria, education, South China Sea, renewable energy, 2nd Amendment, scientific and engineering innovation, agricultural changes, UN, Afghanistan, NSA, immigration, asylum seekers, Press freedom, gaol inmates, disability services, …………………….

  44. Pacific Free Trade, NAFTA,



    Neither care

    , medical insurance,

    ObamaCare a disgrace in her mirror.


    She fucked that up.


    Worse outcomes than before.,

    South China Sea

    Don’t know,

    renewable energy,

    Subsidies for donors ( Solindra anyone ?)

    2nd Amendment

    Disarm the honest giving criminals more advantage.,

    scientific and engineering innovation,

    Government are shit at but donors want more tax dollars.

    agricultural changes

    , same as trumps destructive protectionist rubbish.


    income for her in retirement, he doesn’t need it


    Well done Hillary, not.,


    In her pocket


    He says keep it legal, she cares not for the law.

    asylum seekers,

    See above

    Press freedom

    She has the MSM, online ” regulations” she wants.,

    gaol inmates,

    shell keep playing the race disparity, ignoring the gender disparity

    .disability services,

    see ObamaCare fiasco.

  45. He used a virtual platform to put a virtual hand pixel, up against a virtual tit pixel on a screen in a fake world.

    And for you this is perfectly acceptable.
    There is no aspect of these actions which could in any way be interpreted as ‘unacceptable masculinity’?

  46. And for you this is perfectly acceptable.
    There is no aspect of these actions which could in any way be interpreted as ‘unacceptable masculinity’?

    It’s fine.
    We have a “Femnasium ” in my town where males are not allowed, do you regard that as ” unacceptable Femininity ” ?
    Me, I’m ok with it.

  47. Via Peter FitzSimons (SMH)

    “When we’re talking about this issue, this is sexual assault. So we’re accusing a man of sexual assault here. And I’m not going to debate who’s telling the truth. But it is a ‘she said, he said’ situation.”
    Renee Ellmers, North Carolina Republican.

    “Just to correct you, I’m sorry – it’s a ‘he said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she said’ situation.”
    Jake Tapper, chief Washington correspondent for CNN, in reply.

  48. When female talk show celebrities gush over Johny Depp, Hugh Jackman or the latest ” heart-throb ” ( request examples if you wish, there are many ) do you, as a male, revert to the foetal position and cry uncontrollably ?

  49. Via Peter FitzSimons (SMH)

    Well, we’ve got to the bottom of the barrel.
    Stand by for the insights of Oak, followed by Dirt.

  50. Well, you said I was a strange person rather than address the issue.
    The way I see it, you set the standard.
    Don’t cry now.

  51. Gushing is one thing, grabbing is another.

    Ever heard of the warning: “Look, but don’t touch. ???

    There are laws, Jumpy.
    That’s why posters above gave been using the rather technical term: sexual assault
    It’s a legal term.

  52. Gushing is one thing, grabbing is another.

    Exactly. We have evidence of Trump gushing but none of grabbing.
    If that changes I’ll adjust my position to suit.
    Hillary on the other hand has evidence against her that would see everyone else behind bars. Do we wonder about how this could be happening ?

  53. Well, you said I was a strange person rather than address the issue.

    I addressed the issue (you being familiar with what goes on at hens nights). You need to pay closer attention to your ESL teacher.

  54. Jumpy, if you go back and read the post and the links, it is clear as day that Trump’s attitude to women has for a very long time been unacceptable. The evidence comes from his own mouth and the way he acts.

    In my view it’s simply unacceptable that such a man should become president of a major democracy. Not saying he’s the only example, but two or more wrongs don’t make a right.

    You’ve also argued that Hillary should be in jail and provided a video clip of a pastiche put together by a libertarian site in which the accuser ends up saying there is no legal case to answer.

    Along the way, and I find this troubling, you’ve shown a blindness to the common experience of women which on another thread zoot exemplified by a link his daughter gave him.

    This part of it gets ugly enough that I wouldn’t be recommending anyone I know to have a read.

    That’s before we get to policy issues, which this thread was not about, but the worry is that Martin Wolf is right:

    Under a President Trump, democracy would lose credibility as a model for a civilised political life

    He thinks Trump would unravel the world as we know it. Superficially that might not be a bad thing, but what confidence could we have that Trump would know how to put it together again?

    None, just none – we’d be f**kt.

    I’ve made this a moderated post. May be time to move on.

  55. BTW that Wolf article predates the release of the 2005 tape.

    Saturday Salon is open for discussion on the US elections. Only this thread will be subject to moderation.

  56. Speaking of priapic males in public office as we were, step forward now the aptly-named

    ***** Mr Wiener *****

    …… it’s just not safe to turn on the radio or TV, folks!


    Another round of applause and foot-stamping hollering from the Peanut Gallery.
    Yee hah!

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