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NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to history professor Kristin Kobes Du Mez about her new Josh Hawley’s claim that masculinity is under attack. For a complete transcript and to listen to the interview, visit Sen. Josh Hawley claims without evidence that liberals are attacking masculinity : NPR


Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley was the first lawmaker to publicly vow to challenge the 2020 presidential election results, and memorably raised his fist in solidarity with protesters outside the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Now he has a new focus: defending the men of America.

In a keynote speech at the National Conservatism Conference last month, Hawley accused the political left of seeking to redefine traditional masculinity as toxic, and called for a “revival of strong and healthy manhood in America.”

“This is an effort that the left has been at for years now and they have had alarming success,” he said. “American men are working less, they are getting married in fewer numbers, they’re fathering fewer children, they’re suffering more anxiety and depression, they’re engaging in more substance abuse.”

Others disagree — like Kristin Kobes Du Mez, a gender studies professor at Calvin University and author of the book Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.

“I think there are many challenges that the younger generation is facing right now, women and men,” Du Mez said. “But there are a lot of assumptions that Hawley’s making that the problems are caused by some sort of destruction of manhood or destruction of masculinity, when we could look at: What are the expectations of masculinity that might be inappropriate, that might be outmoded, that are perhaps exacerbating this crisis?”

There are many ways in which liberals are actually working to strengthen fathers, she added, pointing to things like paid paternity leave and broader family leave policies.

“There can be ways to find common ground here rather than pitting half of America against the other half,” she said. “And I think that white men actually have a really critical role to play in that respect.”

Published November 11, 2021. “Sen. Josh Hawley Claims Masculinity is Under Attack. This Historian Disagrees.” Morning Edition. National Public Radio.

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