Republican U.S. Senator Josh Hawley spoke at the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando, Florida, on 1st November and claimed that there is an increasing number of men retreating to watching adult content and playing video games. The senator argued that efforts to combat toxic masculinity by left-wing feminists were to blame, which he believed manifested as an attack on their "manhood", an argument he based without any empirical evidence.
Sen. Hawley: feminism to blame for video games and p*rn in emasculated men
The Republican Senator of Missouri said: "Responsibility is one of God's greatest gifts to mankind, and men must be held responsible for their actions" but suggested that the barrage of attacks of men's "manhood" (i.e. hinting at 'cancel culture') has ultimately led to the "deconstruction of American men."
In his speech, Sen. Hawley argues whether it should even be a surprise "after years of being told they are the problem, that their manhood is the problem" that there is a steady increase in men retreating "to the enclave of idleness and pornography and video games."
Josh Hawley says more men today are watching porn and playing video games because their masculinity has been criticized. pic.twitter.com/R0eXdRSYNT— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) November 1, 2021
"While the left may celebrate this decline of men, I for one cannot join them. No one should," Sen. Hawley said later in his speech. Ethan Gach, a senior reporter at Kotaku, correctly noted that this is "far from the first time politicians have tried to foment a moral panic around P*rnhub and Fortnite," referring to previous debates linking violent video games to violence in children.
Naturally, Sen. Hawley's claims prompted hilarious comments from many users on Twitter. "Siri, what is toxic masculinity," wrote columnist Max Fawcett. "I mean, his user name is the same on P*rnHub Premium and Xbox Live, so he'd know," said author Rick Wilson. On the other hand, another Twitter user argued that there wasn't anything wrong with playing video games, adding: "Well, except for some men who play COD and thing that makes them military experts" -- hmm, there's something I can agree.
"I speak for the incels," @HawleyMO said in his speech. "And now, please excuse me. I am going to my mother's basement for some Josh time. If you know what I mean." https://t.co/du0flWrJPb— Eric Owens (@ericowensdc) November 1, 2021
Sen. Hawley's claims make it seem as though playing video games is a massive problem and a consequence of a lack of male virility. His claims are also somewhat sexist, given how the senator talks about the attacks on "manhood" by feminists being the driver pushing men to video games, despite women accounting for nearly half of the cohort of general gamers.
Admittedly, the senator's speech sounds more reminiscent of a patriarchal America and desperate plea for the return of "traditional masculine virtues." Therefore, I can't help but think that Sen. Hawley is perhaps entirely out of touch with reality.
I'll leave it up to you to decide how you feel about the senator's speech, although I am curious to hear your opinion. Do you agree with the senator on his stance around video games, or do you think he's lost the plot? Let me know what your thoughts are on Twitter.
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Featured image courtesy of Konami Entertainment.