Last week, Josh Hawley made waves when he focused on a matter that’s truly tearing the country apart. No, not the Trumpist misinformation, spread in part by him, that drove legions of the former president’s supporters to attack the Capitol building. His major worry is that men are no longer masculine enough, at least not for him, and that they’re too busy with video games and porn. He was naturally dragged for this take, and so in a recent interview with Axios, he did what all conservatives do when confronted over their ideas: He doubled down. And thus so did people on social media.
The Missouri congressperson, whose own state dislikes him and whose attempts to rehab his insurrectionary image haven’t gone so hot, sat down with Axios, where he talked about making revived masculinity — and not, say, spreading voter fraud lies — his pet issue. Hawley claimed that men are being blamed for America being “systemically oppressive.”
He also repeated his much-mocked claim about what men are doing instead of being manly men. “We’ve got to say that spending your time not working — and we have more and more men who are not working — spending your time on video games, spending your time watching porn online, doing nothing, is not good for you, your family, or this country.”
Axios asked him to elaborate on a couple points. One: What, to him, even is a man? “Well, a man is a father,” he replied. “A man is a husband. A man is somebody who takes responsibility.”
Another sticking point was Hawley’s claim that progressive/feminist ideas are directly responsible for men retreating to video games and onanism, if that’s even what they’re doing. “I think the liberal attack, the left-wing attack on manhood says to men, ‘You’re part of the problem,’ it says the your masculinity is inherently problematic, it’s inherently oppressive.”
When pressed if his policework was based on hard data or just a “hunch,” Hawley said it had something to do with “de-industrialization,” then attempted to connect the evolution of employment in America and the world with watching Pornhub.
“I think you put together lack of jobs, you put together fatherlessness, you put together the social messages that we teach our kids in school, I think we’ve got to confront that and its effects,” he said.
When Hawley’s doubling down was made public, some on social media worried about his priorities.
Josh Hawley supports attempts to overthrow the government but he draws a line at porn and video games.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) November 8, 2021
Or wondering if by going after video games and porn he was simply telling on himself.
Josh Hawley was moments away from saying “look, man, if I’m idle, the first thing I do is fire up the ole internet pornography, and that’s Democrats’ fault.” https://t.co/YpvmSnUvsk
— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) November 8, 2021
Others wondered if it was traditionally masculine to whine about a perceived dearth in masculinity.
Shoutout to Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. Nothing says “masculinity isn’t fragile” like crying about porn and video games or spending 2 days attacking a bird puppet online.
— The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) November 8, 2021
People like Josh Hawley who constantly talk about masculinity are always insecure about their own.
— Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn) November 8, 2021
Some wondered if perhaps the idea of masculinity has simply evolved.
Josh Hawley says men are drawn to porn and videogames because their masculinity is criticized.
Speaking of challenged masculinity… pic.twitter.com/XsQ1t5WZCs
— DeathMetalBigBird (@DeathMetalV) November 2, 2021
Memo to Josh Hawley. Real men don’t run around whining about masculinity.
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) November 8, 2021
Others generally mocked him.
Josh Hawley making masculinity a core issue in 2022 is like me trying to play contact sports. Neither of us can pull it off without everyone wondering if we’re okay.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) November 8, 2021
Josh Hawley is Billy Zane in Titanic pretending to be Brad Pitt in Fight Club. https://t.co/z4LDrl8FaN
— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) November 8, 2021
1/ Pleased to announce I’m partnering with Josh Hawley to launch Masculine Manversity, an online institute of higher learning guaranteed to help you fully realize your dude-tential. Courses include: “Man-thematics: Calculus for Bros Who Lift”; …
— Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) November 8, 2021
You can watch a clip of Hawley’s Axios sit-down in the video below: