Josh Hawley's Masculinity Remarks Spark Controversy

Damir Mujezinovic

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley's speech at last week's National Conservatism Conference is continuing to generate controversy, mostly because the Republican's remarks centered on masculinity.

Speaking before a crowd of conservative activists, Hawley argued that men in the United States have been convinced by society -- especially the American left, as he put it -- that they are "the problem."

In response to this, he posited, men have turned to escapism and withdrawn from society, indulging in pornography and video games, instead of being upstanding citizens and raising families.

What Hawley Said

Here's what Hawley said, as quoted in The Daily Beast.

"Can we be surprised that after years of being told that they are the problem, that their manhood is the problem, more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness and pornography and video games?"

In an interview with Axios, Hawley doubled down on his claims, accusing the American left of telling men, "You’re part of the problem. ... Your masculinity is inherently problematic."

"As conservatives, we've got to call men back to responsibility," he added.


Did Buster Murdaugh Kill His Brother Paul To Cover Up Stephen Smith's Murder?

Did Buster Murdaugh kill Stephen Smith, and his own brother Paul Murdaugh?

Backlash Ensues

But many believe that Hawley's remarks were highly problematic.

The Daily Beast's Tim Teeman argued in a lengthy piece that the senator is nothing but a demagogue seeking to pander to his "far-right" base by slamming what he perceives to be some sort of an attack on the very concept of masculinity.

According to Teeman, Hawley lied to the audience and came up with a "non-thesis made up of absurd claims" in order to raise his own profile and position himself as the leader of the Republican Party.

'Rolling Stone' Blasts Hawley

Rolling Stone's Ryan Bort also took aim at Hawley in a column, describing him as a "sad man."

Hawley's claims that Democrats and leftists are opposed to any form of masculinity and assertiveness are completely baseless, Bort wrote, claiming that the senator has a "history of idolizing masculinity."

"The lack of substance behind Hawley’s newfound obsession with men isn’t surprising. There isn’t much substance behind any of the Republican Party’s cultural appeals to the suburban and rural voters they’re trying to convince that the Democrats want to destroy America," the columnist concluded.

Presidential Ambitions

Hawley rose to national prominence after endorsing former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and it has been speculated that he is contemplating running for president in 2024.

But would Hawley stand a chance? According to an analysis from FiveThirtyEight, no Republican would be able to beat Trump, should he run for a third time.

In fact, polls show that the vast majority of Republican voters want Trump to run for president again and would back him over any other candidate.