Opinion: Republicans and the crisis of “manhood”: Who is really sex-obsessed in America? 

The Republican Party long ago slipped under the sheets with the religious right to become bedfellows in the culture wars, encouraging bigots, misogynists and Christian zealots to insist that others live by their morals (or lack thereof).

This bizarre-tent party of religious grifters, pussy grabbers, gun polishers, closeted men, angry incels, alleged rapists and take-girls-across-the-state-line Lotharios is evangelically intolerant of the personal business of others and determined to dictate whom you can love or marry, how you should come to terms with your gender identity and how much of your reproductive future you should control. These people believe they have the right to demand that you go through your entire pregnancy even if you have been raped or are the victim of incest, and they’re not particularly concerned if you die fulfilling their will. 

It bears repeating that creating fear about the “state of manhood” is a key move in the authoritarian playbook (and abstention from masturbation was, by the way, a Nazi rule.) As historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat noted in an essay last November for the Atlantic:

Illiberal political solutions tend to take hold when increased gender equity and emancipation spark anxieties about male authority and status. A conquest-without-consequences masculinity, posing as a “return to traditional values,” tracks with authoritarianism’s rise and parallels the discarding of the rule of law and accountability in politics.

Insecure young men are not being taught how to be better persons in their relationships with young women; they are being taught to hate by misogynistic grifters.

On the Trumpian right, flip a coin — heads is racism; tails is misogyny and homophobia.Heads they win, tails you lose.

Meanwhile, as Republicans rant about fantasy pedophiles and LGBTQ “groomers” and call others (and often each other) “cucks,” school children and ordinary citizens are being cut down by young men with legally purchased assault-style weapons. Survivors get “thoughts and prayers”; families are left to figure out how to carry on after the lights of their lives have forever been extinguished.

Gun fetishes, closeted sexuality, talk of “pussy” and rape, sadistic name-calling and general hate-mongering, worship of power and that telling focus on “manliness”  anyone else feel like we’re back in a really bad high school locker room? That stink isn’t coming from healthy athletics.

I agree that there is a masculinity crisis in this country, but it is most obviously found among the cohort of Republican politicians and their supporters who have prostrated themselves before Donald Trump. I would add fathers who refuse to teach their sons about sexuality and healthy, nurturing relationships but are all too eager to teach them that their guns and their jobs should define who they are as men.