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Study: Trump appeals to men with 'fragile masculinity'

If I were laughing any harder right now I might rupture a gonad. But at least I’d still have one, unlike my Trump-supporting brethren.

A new study from Sarah DiMuccio and Eric Knowles, psychology researchers at New York University, has concluded that men who support Donald Trump are insecure in their masculinity.

Of course, this should be obvious to anyone who’s paying attention, but it’s nice to finally get some academic cred behind the theory.

Writing in The Washington Post, the duo concludes that “Trump is not necessarily attracting male supporters who are as confidently masculine as the president presents himself to be. Instead, Trump appears to appeal more to men who are secretly insecure about their manhood. We call this the ‘fragile masculinity hypothesis.’”

From the article:

We began by selecting a set of search topics that we believed might be especially common among men concerned about living up to the ideals of manhood: “erectile dysfunction,” “hair loss,” “how to get girls,” “penis enlargement,” “penis size,” “steroids,” “testosterone” and “Viagra.” (With the exception of “how to get girls,” these are Google “topics” rather than individual search terms. For instance, the topic “erectile dysfunction” includes searches for “erectile dysfunction,” “ED” and “impotence.”)

We found that support for Trump in the 2016 election was higher in areas that had more searches for topics such as “erectile dysfunction.” Moreover, this relationship persisted after accounting for demographic attributes in media markets, such as education levels and racial composition, as well as searches for topics unrelated to fragile masculinity, such as “breast augmentation” and “menopause.”

In contrast, fragile masculinity was not associated with support for Mitt Romney in 2012 or support for John McCain in 2008 — suggesting that the correlation of fragile masculinity and voting in presidential elections was distinctively stronger in 2016.

So to paraphrase former NFL head coach Denny Green, Trump voters are who we thought they were! (See, I’m a beer-swilling, bleeding-heart vegan liberal who likes both football and show tunes. In other words, I’m not really trying to prove anything to anyone … except that I’d chew off the top of my own head before I’d ever wear a MAGA hat.)

So, yeah, here’s one more thing you can share with your drunk uncle at Christmas: “Hey, Uncle Paul, here’s yet another article about your vanishingly small penis. Happy holidays!”

(I’m still giggling. Just … can’t … help … it.)


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