Skip to main content

Josh Hawley’s Hollow Obsession With ‘Manhood’ Called Out by Don Draper Himself

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men (AMC)

John Hamm, a sex symbol and actor who starred in one of the best television shows this century, has waded into politics once more. After supporting a few Democratic nominees for president, he has now lent his voice to another campaign—this time in a race a little closer to home. With Missouri Senator Josh Hawley up for reelection next in 2024, Hamm, a Missourian himself, is betting on Hawley’s most competitive Democratic opponent, Lucas Kunce, with a direct attack on Hawley’s own BS.

What makes this a little different from any other celebrity endorsement is the weight Hamm’s image holds in relation to Hawley. Hawley and the Republican party have attempted to brand themselves the party of “real” men and women—to … “interesting” effect, because much of it reads like a joke, especially in the context of a man (Hawley) made famous to many after running away from Jan. 6 insurrectionists he helped stir up. However, this deadly rigidity in terms of gender has harmful real-world effects on everyone. In addition to the oppression of the most marginalized, these expectations radicalize cis boys and men.

Hawley even has a book out called Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs, but Hamm is here to remind everyone that Hawley’s toxic masculinity nonsense isn’t what anyone needs.

Since his role as Don Draper in Mad Men, Hamm has become the literal voice of manliness, despite that his character is not someone to emulate. (The man who made the “old fashioned” a faux status symbol for people to show off like they didn’t learn about this drink from the show.) This voice of manliness is used to show how cowardly Hawley’s actions have been in comparison to his constituents and Kunce. Hamm may have achieved this status through a character whose popularity among the worst people in the world may be frustrating, but at least he’s using that image in a positive way in the real world.

Last year, Kunce went viral for a Fox News op-ed about 25 Republicans’ (including Hawley) failure to pass the PACT Act. Through the work of activists, veterans, and John Stewart, the bill sought to expand healthcare access to veterans. Currently, they have to prove their service directly caused an illness to get the care they need.

Countless veterans (and people in the countries these wars were fought in) were exposed to deadly toxins from burn pits (various Gulf Wars) and Agent Orange (Vietnam) used by the U.S. military. The PACT Act would recognize veterans’ military service as enough for related illnesses (including cancer) to be a part of VA benefits. In that op-ed, the former Marine also advocated for removing the filibuster. This rule—adopted heavy-handedly in the 1960s to slow Civil Rights progress—prevented the PACT Act from passing.

With this issue and a litany of others, including labor, education, and healthcare rights, Kunce is making a second bid for one of Missouri’s two Senate seats.

(via Rolling Stone, featured image: AMC )

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3, Apex Legends, and CS:GO. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)