Making American Manly Again
by lizzysays on March 19, 2016 - 1:53pm
This article covers a violent incident that went down during Donald Trump’s campaign rally in North Carolina. The incident that the article covers is a man who was charged with assault because he attacked a Trump protestor. A 78 year old man punched a protestor as the protestor was being walked out. Trump states how he is in defense of his supporters, by looking into paying legal feels for the man. (Vitali) We learn about Trump’s influence on violence and how his supporters follow in his footsteps.
The assumptions being made on masculinity is that Trump, as a person in power, has a strong influence, even though it is not necessarily a good one. The idea of being a man that stands up for his country, being ready to defend what he and his country stand for, and doing all of this through violence (a more ‘powerful’ medium, instead of talking it out) all reflect a destructive form of masculinity. Trump is embodying qualities from the “man box”: strong, powerful, in charge and influential (to be feared).Though the article is supposed to cover the event with a neutral tone, we do have a sense that this article is one sided. There is a lot of information that is being kept out, now only exposing what Trump’s side has done wrong. The author’s thesis is that Trump’s influence of a destructive form of masculinity is passed onto his followers and promotes the negative consequences that follow with it (in this case, violence).
The media has a large influence on reporting and covering political issues. Trump himself is the center of this media frenzy and gives a lot of material to critique him on. I believe that the media is just using this material in this tone because it is a fairly controversial topic and its readers feed off of it. The tone of the article is not celebrating Trump because of the information it is choosing to cover and keep out. In most cases of the media covering politics, they present the candidates as powerful people and highlight the power in their character. In the film Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood & American Culture, Jackson Katz mentions Ronald Reagan’s campaign and the picture he painted of himself (Earp). Politicians want to show themselves as the symbol of their country at the same time as they try to win over voters. They feed the same image of masculinity that has been seen for years, the more destructive one.
I don’t believe that the article is celebrating Trump and his behavior, rather shedding light on how it is wrong. The byline of this article includes: “Donald Trump may want to watch his words more closely” (Vitali). The quote itself implies that Trump is doing something wrong, or that his words are having a negative impact.
Going further: The campaign as a whole promotes a hegemonic masculine man who is power hungry and promotes “Making America great again” = standing for your country, defending for your country, for the love of the land. He was also encouraging violence by his meeting with the media post-Chicago rally riot: he considered paying legal fees for one of his supporters in the case that turned violent (Chan) “He obviously loves his country” Trump said in defense of his supporter’s violent action (Chan). We can see how Trump justifies violent actions with the role a man has with his country. At a Las Vegas rally, words were said by Trump condoning violent behavior making reference to what he would have done if he were in that place. (Reilly, Chan) The article also covers how Trump then later realized the negative attention this incident was getting and decided to shift the sail and blame his opponent Bernie Sanders for encouraging protestors to attend the Trump rally (Chan). This shows a case of how his masculinity was being compromised / jeopardized and so he re-routed his image in order to save it.
Chan, Melissa. "Trump May Pay Legal Fees of Man Who Sucker-Punched Protester." Time. Time, 13 Mar. 2016. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.
Reilly, Katie, and Melissa Chan. "Donald Trump Protester Punched in the Face at North Carolina Rally." Time. Time, 10 Mar. 2016. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.
Tough Guise 2 - Violence, Manhood & American Culture. Dir. Jeremy Earp. Perf. Jackson Katz. A Media Education Foundation Production., 2013. DVD.
Vitali, Ali. "Sheriff Mulled If Trump's Conduct at North Carolina Rally Qualified as 'Inciting to Riot'" NBC News. NBC News, 14 Mar. 2016. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.