WaPo op-ed condemns Hawley, warns conservative masculinity is more about ‘prejudice than manliness’

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Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart mocked American conservatives like Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley for advocating classical masculinity in an op-ed published Wednesday.

Capehart condemned “manhood-obsessed hypocrite” Hawley for equating “archconservative values” with masculinity while warning against any form of masculinity that lionizes “exclusion or intolerance” or “displays of unyielding strength.”

The writer suggested that while he considers Hawley “clownish,” “we dismiss him at our own risk.” He warned that Hawley “is selling a vision of masculinity to White America that has much more to do with prejudice than manliness.” 

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Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. (Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

Capehart instead promoted the masculinity advocated by a Democrat Afghanistan War veteran, Jason Kander, that he summarized as a “refreshing version of masculinity, one that views vulnerability as a virtue on the endless journey to being the best man one can be for one’s family and community.”

Kander condemned Hawley for “positioning himself, and therefore his movement — his far-right, White-guy movement — as, ‘If you’re a man, then you believe in these things’” and “making manhood synonymous with conservatism.”

Capehart claimed that this includes equating masculinity with “patriarchy, opposition to women’s bodily autonomy, support exclusively for heterosexual marriage, an aversion to labor organizing.”

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Hawley speaks with Fox News Digital at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa, Fla.

Hawley speaks with Fox News Digital at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa, Fla. (Nikolas Lanum/Fox News)

Capehart offered a grim take that what ultimately pulls together younger and older men across generations with slightly different beliefs is racial enmity:

“The pitch holds natural appeal for older White men who already hew to traditional morals. But what about the younger White men who, as Kander says, watch Ultimate Fighting but still like their LGBTQ co-workers and have friends who have had abortions? Hawley figures he can woo them too, so long as they share one potent trait with the older group: racial resentment. This vision of masculinity is as much about being White as it is about being a man.”

He then quoted “Dying of Whiteness” author Jonathan Metzl, who summarized that a host of liberal boogeymen “have brought White male anxiety into the mainstream with the message that we are going to fight back as aggressively as possible. And, of course, casting yourself as a victim then obviates recognition of how you are in many cases the aggressor.”

Many debates about masculinity have centered on the UFC.

Many debates about masculinity have centered on the UFC. (Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

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Meanwhile, Capehart painted Hawley in a far more opportunistic light: “Hawley may be a clown, but he’s clever, too. He knows White men feel they’re facing a crisis, and he plans to give them an answer. Coincidentally, that answer just so happens to serve Hawley’s own interests, ambitions and even 2024 presidential run.”