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Is There Anything Funnier Than Josh Hawley Writing a Book About ‘Masculinity’?

Josh Hawley gives a rat-faced smile

They say “write what you know” but apparently no one ever gave Josh Hawley that advice because the terrible Republican senator from Missouri is reportedly writing a new book about “masculinity.”

Now, obviously, masculinity is a multi-faceted social construct. But Hawley’s idea of the concept is not. It is rooted entirely in aggressive, brute-force notions of “manhood”—which, it just so happens is the title of his book. And given that the thing he’s probably known best for at the moment is fleeing from violent protesters he pretended to support until he got scared, his attempt to cash in pretending to be an expert on his own warped version of masculinity is objectively hilarious.

According to the Kansas City Star, Hawley’s book, titled “Manhood: The Masculine Virtues Americans Need,” is based on a speech he gave at a conservative conference last year, in which he essentially blamed feminism and “the left”—a nebulous yet all-encompassing entity—for all of men’s problems. According to him, these things are to blame for driving men “into the enclave of idleness, and pornography, and video games.”

“After years of being told they are the problem, that their manhood is the problem,” why would men not turn to these things, Hawley asks. A major throughline of Hawley’s speech is the inability to separate masculinity from toxic masculinity—which he, of course, doesn’t even believe is real. That means he sees all criticism of toxic masculinity as an attack on men general, and claims it’s that criticism that creates men’s destructive behaviors to begin with. It all feels very similar to the white nationalist “well if you’re going to call me a racist, then I have no choice but to act racist” line of reasoning.

Here are some other points from Hawley’s nonsense speech that we can probably expect to be expanded into full chapters:

–Men are getting married less and at older ages. They’re being apparently being driven from higher education and even the military. (Meanwhile, he is staunchly opposed to opening up the draft to women because he sure has a lot of opinions about an institution he’s never taken part in.) Why are these things happening? You guessed it—it’s because “the left” insults men too much.

–Obviously, he gets into anti-trans rhetoric, claiming the existence of trans athletes is an “assault on womanhood” and part of a nonexistent war on gender, which is also somehow still really just about men.

–According to Hawley, basically everything he doesn’t like, from vaccine mandates to over-medicating children to outsourcing labor to foreign countries, all falls under the umbrella of a war on men waged by “the left.”

If Hawley’s book is anything like the speech it’s reportedly being based on, it will alternate between fact-free fearmongering arguments featuring either real but random and totally inconsequential strawmen figures who happened to say something critical about men once, and vague, threatening culture-war hypotheticals that don’t actually exist.

I look forward to never reading this book.

(image: image: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.