Media Blog

Conservatives Are Afraid of Pajama Boy

So argues Noreen Malone at The New Republic in response to Rich’s piece today in Politico:

Conservatives Mock Obamacare’s Pajama Boy Because They’re Scared of Him

An excerpt:

Lowry goes on to connect what he characterizes as an immature version of masculinity with a liberal’s overreliance on a paternalistic government. “Pajama Boy’s mom probably still tucks him in at night, and when she isn’t there for him, Obamacare will be,” he writes. Millennials and Democrats just love their mommies too much! But while this is a ritual mockery that’s ostensibly about Obamacare, what it really reveals is a long-boiling, deep-seated fear on the right of the moment when a more beta-appearing man becomes the mainstream notion of masculinity.

There’s plenty of evidence that moment is upon us. Hanna Rosin’s 2012 book, The End of Men, was the capstone of a growing tower of cultural works on the curious gender-role reversal. Just in the past few years, we’ve also been hit with cultural historian Michael Kimmel’s Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, conservative scholar Kay Hymowitz’s Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys, and media socialite Dan Abrams’s Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else” (“everything else” presumably including book-title-choosers).

In an economy that is increasingly influenced by women (in all but three of the 2,000 largest metropolitan areas in the country, in the aggregate, single childless women under 30 are out-earning their male counterparts), the men who seem to be reaping the clearest rewards are those who seem to comfortable with the adjustments of a world that’s 40 years into second-wave feminism (and one in which, for that matter, gay culture is no longer fringe culture). The chest-thumping alpha males of yore now take their social cues from men who have worked out a more subtle way to assert themselves in the world. Metrosexuals aren’t a new, urban category any more; people who might have been referred to that way ten years ago are now just called dudes. (Of course, even men who work at liberal magazines and live in Brooklyn find this transition complicated.) But if Pajama Boy is nothing out of the ordinary—which I’d argue he isn’t—then that means conservatives are losing several culture-war battles, and thus a great deal of valuable electoral ammunition.

Who knew a single, moronic tweet from a 501(c)(4) would signal the end of conservatism?

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