Josh Hawley Plays the Man Card. We Have a Movie about That!

Don’t miss The Man Card: White Male Identity Politics from Nixon to Trump

In a speech last week at the National Conservatism Conference, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo) grabbed headlines and lit up social media when he called for a restoration of traditional manhood and “the manly virtues” in the face of a perceived left-wing war on masculinity, American men, and America itself.

“The Left’s attack on America leads directly to an attack on manhood,” Hawley said in the speech. “I believe the attack on men has been the tip of the spear of the Left’s broader attack on America.”

Predictably, Hawley’s attempts to raise the specter of a war against manhood have drawn widespread praise from the right and widespread ridicule and condemnation from liberal and even moderate Republican commentators. But what’s been missing in most of this commentary is just how closely Hawley’s appeals to embattled white manhood track with mainstream conservative political strategy going back decades.

For a closer look at this largely unknown history, and how traditional ideas about manhood have shaped American presidential politics over time, be sure to check out our new film The Man Card: White Male Identity Politics from Nixon to Trump.

According to author and anti-sexist educator Jackson Katz, the creator and co-writer of The Man Card, Hawley’s bid to project an aura of old-school manliness and position himself as a leading defender of traditional masculinity is a bait-and-switch that conservative political operatives have been perfecting for years to capture the white male working class vote.

“Here we have the epitome of an elite son of privilege, a Stanford and Yale Law School grad, trying to make himself over and market himself to white working-class men as one of them, as just one of the guys,” Katz said. “In that sense, Hawley’s reading from a right-wing playbook that’s been around for years. And I think Democrats ridicule and dismiss what he’s trying to pull off at their own peril. This has been a winning strategy for the Republican Party for at least a half century now.”

You can stream The Man Card through your university or public library on the Kanopy platform, or purchase a 7-day streaming rental or a DVDClick here to see if your university subscribes to Kanopy, and click here to host a virtual public screening.

Praise for The Man Card



“A vitally important and timely new film.”

— Jean Kilbourne | Senior Scholar, Wellesley Centers for Women


Farida Jalalzai

“Methodically shows that Trump’s strategy to connect masculinity to presidential politics is nothing new. This is a must-see documentary for anyone interested in American politics and contemporary democratic struggles.”

— Dr. Farida Jalalzai | Professor of Political Science, Associate Dean of Global Initiatives and Engagement, Virginia Tech University

Lori Cox Han


“Essential viewing for not only every gender and politics course, but for any and all students of American politics….Raises important questions about the inherent and not-so-subtle masculinity of the American presidency and what that means for women seeking the office.”

— Dr. Lori Cox Han, PhD | Author of Women, Power, and Politics

Valerie Sperling

“Fast-paced and compelling … Sure to generate a lively discussion about politics and masculinity in gender studies and American government courses.”

— Dr. Valerie Sperling | Co-author of Trumping Politics as Usual: Masculinity, Misogyny, and the 2016 Elections

Michael Messner

“Shows how Presidential politics in the U.S. has been driven not just by dog-whistle messages against people of color and women, but also by overt endorsements of narrow, destructive and unhealthy conceptions of white men’s masculinity.”

— Dr. Michael A. Messner | University of Southern California | Author of Guys Like Me: Five Wars, Five Veterans for Peace

Tristan Bridges


“A vitally important documentary to more completely understand the gendered and racialized ideologies shaping political polarization in the U.S.”

— Dr. Tristan Bridges | Associate Professor of Sociology at University of California, Santa Barbara and co-editor of Men and Masculinities journal