In this week’s politics Slack chat, we’re talking about masculinity and gender in the presidential race. The transcript below has been lightly edited.
simone (Simone Landon, senior editor): So we’ve talked a lot about sexism and how it’s affecting Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, but this cycle has also seen a lot of, uh, bravado from the male candidates. Who would’ve thought we’d be openly discussing a candidate’s genitalia (I’m of course talking about Donald Trump’s “I guarantee you there’s no problem” in reference to the size of his penis.) What role is masculinity playing on both sides of the race?
clare.malone (Clare Malone, senior political writer): Wooh. A doozy, Simone.
leah (Leah Libresco, news writer: This has been the year of no subtext.
clare.malone: This election, particularly on the Republican side, has been a lot more upfront about sexism, gender and, yes, masculinity (see aforementioned penis). Some of that has to do with Republicans’ spinning the race in order to talk about popular American culture being out of touch with traditional American life — the kind of life/lifestyle they think most Republican voters want. That’s a new spin on the culture wars, but it’s also given the GOP candidates ways to talk about being manly men and to have that characterization make them stand in opposition to what they might see as an increasingly “effeminate” culture — talking about sexism, homophobia, etc., in our everyday lives.