Martha C. Nussbaum on Male Rage and the Kavanaugh Hearing

The roots of male rage, on show at the Kavanaugh hearing

A wave is sweeping across our nation: a wave of fear-driven male rage. We see it not only in the hysterical outbursts from Republicans during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh (Kavanaugh himself, suddenly shrill, as well as committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham), but also more widely in the dark allegations of women “weaponizing the #MeToo movement,” as if masculinity itself were under attack. We are even told that good parents should tremble for the future of their sons when women can make claims against them. And, indeed, men are trembling. At the Kavanaugh hearings, as many remarked, Christine Blasey Ford’s acknowledged fear was matched and even surpassed by quivering in the voices and gestures of Republicans. What is going on?

American men do have genuine reasons for anxiety. The traditional jobs that many men have filled are disappearing, thanks to automation and outsourcing. The jobs that remain require, in most cases, higher education, which is increasingly difficult for non-affluent families to afford. We should indeed tremble for the future of both men and women in our country unless we address that problem, and related problems of declining health and well-being for working-class men.

But our public discussion does not stay focused on such genuine issues. Fear and anger have found ways to displace themselves onto other targets, above all women and their unprecedented outspokenness. Misogyny takes the place of serious deliberation.

Read more at The Washington Post

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