Trump is Man Box Culture
A dominance based culture of masculinity means every single person suffers.
For Donald Trump, there is only one way to be a man, which is to bully and dominate every person you encounter: your employees, your spouse, your own children. Trump’s version of masculinity is damaged and it is toxic.
The men and women who support Trump are deeply invested in the dominance model of masculinity, hoping to be far enough up the pecking order to not be ground up in the gears of man box culture. But there is no place on the hierarchy high enough to avoid the anxiety and isolation a culture of domination creates.
Trump himself is a study in man box culture induced isolation, paranoia and reactivity. He trusts no one, preemptively attacking his closest allies to keep them off balance and submissive. His message to every Republican, business partner or ally? “Cross me and I’ll destroy you.”
A dominance based culture of masculinity means every single person suffers. Trump, consumed by paranoia and reactivity, is creating a dominance based national political culture designed to keep us all reactive and paranoid. This is why he invites his base of white nationalists to threaten violence.
Men hold the key to ending man box culture, the culture that drives Donald Trump’s power and success. Men can break out of man box culture’s obsessive reliance on dominance as a central organizing principle for how to be a man. We can choose a masculinity of connection, creating power with instead of power over others. By breaking out of man box culture, men and women can end the social isolation and anxiety inherent in Trump’s toxic man box model of masculinity. We can be free. But it will require we speak out in support of diversity and inclusion. Our silent agreement is not enough.
As men, we already know Trump’s man box version of masculinity intimately. We grew up under the punishment it dishes out. Our fear silences us. For many of us anxiety drives our lives of isolation and reactivity. We know this sucks, but we fear to give up what little power man box culture grants us. If we, as men, don’t stand up for ourselves and those we love and end man box culture, then we are responsible for every poisonous result that Trump and those like him create. White nationalism. Racism. Rape culture. Predatory capitalism. War. Environmental destruction.
This all comes down to how we, as men, view masculinity. Is masculinity a narrow, bullying man box culture in which we fight our whole lives to claw our way to the top, to dominate those around us? Or do we, as men, finally stand up and say, enough! Do we choose to end our own anxiety and isolation and create connection in the world? Do we heal all the damage man box culture has done? Do we live better lives? Do we learn to love and be loved?
As men we must take a stand because our man box masculinity of bullying and dominance creates sociopaths. Most men navigate this culture of dominance in whatever way they can, just trying to survive, but a culture of dominance results on the most pathological rising to the top.
We can not survive the gender based, racial, environmental, sexual, religious, nationalist and class violence man box culture empowers. Our species can’t survive “masculinity as domination” for much longer. Our resources are running out. Our civilization is faltering.
Men. Take. A. Stand.
Mark Greene is the author of The Little #MeToo Book for Men.