How Masculine is Donald Trump?
To investigate let's look at "Alpha male" opposed to "Omega male."
The Alpha Male has a lot of classic traits about “being a man.” He is direct. That is he knows what he wants, and is forthcoming in his intent. The corollary to his being direct is that he also abides by the principle “what you see is what you get.” That means in addition to being forthcoming, he is not downplaying anything, such as a weakness or some other idiosyncrasy. He likes functionality. He strives for simplicity. That might equate to a clip-on bow-tie because the real tie-it-yourself version just takes too damn long. He might wear a quartz watch, again because it tells time just fine, it is cheap, disposable, and it gets the job done.
The Alpha might drink beer, or he might drink wine. Sure, he likes the taste, but then again he drinks something bold, something recognizable; irrespective of his wealth, he likes it because it is affordable and everyman, and more importantly the taste of beer is reliable, and the ceremony to enjoying a beer is straightforward, the Alpha male can't really use the wrong glass, nor can you get caught out not knowing a particular terroir.
The Alpha male lets things go. He doesn't do souvenirs. Details don't hold his attention either.
The Alpha Male likes attention. Whether coming or going the Alpha makes an “entrance.” Or an “exit.” He never slips out the staff exit. You know when he has left the building. The Alpha thinks of time as little units to be utilized, within which to get something done. The task is everything. No time for chasing bunnies (unless they are the Playboy variety). People are either winners or losers- and they are only assessed on one time horizon, NOW.
The Omega male, for discussion purposes, serves as the “feminine” contrast to the alpha male. The Omega male is quiet. He doesn’t like attention in general, and he certainly doesn’t like being the center of it. He can talk at length about minutiae if the company he is surrounded by sparks his interest. He likes details. The Omega is hesitant to let go of anything, as he reassures himself that small little tidbits of information can become useful later, in a way that may not be apparent now. He likes to be observant, and to reflect on patterns. He is skeptical of convention, but in his own way, in his own hesitation against conventional wisdom finds himself one amongst many in a sea of anti-convention. He finds this version of being conventional oddly irksome. He seeks out friends across genders, and across other societally imposed constructs and barriers.
The Alpha male is a go-to template for masculinity. Trump has appeal because he plays this Alpha male card very well. Americans love the guy who "tells it like it is," even if that means they find the content of what is being said to be utterly reprehensible.
But how do we define masculinity? If we say masculinity is defined as an aggressive, strategic but non-contemplative, pro-action bias, O.K., fine. That is a definition that seems to make sense. And that is very Trump. The more bombastic Trump is the better he polls. People mistake this for Trump showing his ability to never be a supplicant to Washington and special interests, they mistake that for authenticity. But alas the trap with maintaining an Alpha male persona is sometimes you need to be seen as so impetuous and unreflective that you become a caricature of yourself, over-simplifying complex problems, over-suppressing doubts and over-muzzling healthy, normal, erstwhile "masculine," deliberations and ruminations.
But what if I defined masculinity simply as toughness? What if masculinity was more about grit and forbearance, and we could wrap our heads around that definition, i.e. one that included a basis toward non-action?
Toughness as an ideal of masculinity gets us to a place where the Omega characteristics discussed above have increased relevance. I like toughness as a concept, for I am pre-disposed to favoring non-action, for better or worse. What do you reckon? Is Trump what could be called tough? I think not. Tell me how you consider masculinity? What is masculinity to you--to you today?