Why Tucker Carlson’s Testicle Tanning is No Joke

A culture war over the definition of masculinity is the next step in the far right’s long game.

Tucker Carlson is alarmed that testosterone levels are dropping in American men. Carlson’s solution? Testicle tanning. A lot of people find this amusing, but trust me Carlson’s choice to highlight this issue in this way isn’t a joke. What we’re watching is the mainstreaming and normalization of long standing narratives from the manosphere into network television, in order to further recruit disaffected young men into white and male supremacist movements.

With The End of Men, Tucker Carlson may appear to be talking about testosterone, but what he’s pushing is red pilling, anti-science, and hyper masculine ideals. Hyper masculinity results in social dysfunction, loneliness, sexual assault, violence, depression, addiction and suicide for us and for all those whose lives we impact.

White and male supremacists have long used pseudo scientific arguments to reinforce the gender binary, convincing confused and isolated young men that they have a biologically-based right to power over women. The deep irony here is that it is this very same dominance-based culture of masculinity which cuts boys off from expression and connection in the first place, creating the isolation and anger that fuels extremism.

Extensive research by Cynthia Miller-Idriss head of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University in Washington, D.C., shows how “health and fitness” as one of the primary online recruitment spaces for white and male supremacists. By promoting the idea that men’s levels of testosterone are “crashing” Carlson is inviting young men into online spaces where far more radicalized frames about male supremacy will then be offered. The Southern Poverty Law Center explains in their article Male Supremacy.

Therapist and author Delphi Ellis has pointed out that the videos also contain very clear red pill references. Taking the red pill refers to the belief that men need to reject mainstream ideas and wake up to the existential threat to men supposedly posed by feminism.

Hyper masculinity is nothing new. Conceptualized in the early 1980’s by Paul Kivel, and further developed by Tony Porter and others, our generations old Man Box culture requires all men to conform to the bullying rules of the Man Box:
•Don’t show emotions
•Be a breadwinner not a care-giver
•Be heterosexual not homosexual
•Never ask for help
•Control women and girls
•Always be tough
•Only talk cars, sex, sports nothing deep

The result of Man Box culture is millions of boys and men hiding authentic aspects of who they are, suppressing expression and connection, creating lifetimes of angry disconnection and loneliness. These then become the disaffected young men ripe for extremist recruitment.

So, why would Tucker Carlson be doing this at this point in time? Because Man Box culture’s hierarchical dominance-based culture of masculinity creates extremists and authoritarians, which dovetails perfectly with a Republican Party that now seeks to undercut democratic institutions and consolidate authoritarian power.

A culture war over the definition of masculinity is the next step in the far right’s long game.

Want to learn more about how to break out of Man Box culture? Our books, podcast and videos are here. linktr.ee/RemakingManhood

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Working toward a culture of healthy masculinity. Links to our books, podcasts, Youtube and more: http://linktr.ee/RemakingManhood.

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Mark Greene

Mark Greene

Working toward a culture of healthy masculinity. Links to our books, podcasts, Youtube and more: http://linktr.ee/RemakingManhood.

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