Linda Colley, a history professor at Princeton University analyses why the current breed of (republican) american politicians try overboard to flaunt their bogus musculinity in The star-spangled fantasyland of the fake and home of the bogus
“It wasn’t Cheney’s involvement in masculine pursuits that was noteworthy; it was that the mode of masculinity on show was bogus.Bogus masculine posturing seems to be the style of the current US administration. Its most conspicuous expression was perhaps Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” photo opportunity after the invasion of Iraq….Similar posturing went on in the Republican convention before the last presidential election: politicians whose own warlike masculinity was nonexistent strove very effectively to effeminise John Kerry, who really had been a hero. So we had Cheney, rather obscenely, accusing the Democratic candidate of wanting to show al-Qaida a “softer side”, and muscle-bound Arnold Schwarzenegger making his famous reference to “girlie-men””.
“…the tendency of some US voters to dismiss Kerry, despite all his medals, as “French” – which for Americans, as for Britons, is often a euphemism for effeminate – and to be impressed by George Bush’s bluster, his wearing of a Stetson, a leather jacket and cowboy boots on his ranch, and images of him chain-sawing trees, suggests at the very least a degree of confusion about what does constitute masculinity.This is surely one reason why the Republicans – and, indeed, some Democrats (think of Bill Clinton’s busy sexual adventurism) – have been tempted in recent times to use postures of masculinity to such a crass degree”.