The idea of “petro-masculinity” was on full display Wednesday as Trump supporters and extremists just like the Proud Boys haphazardly parked automobiles on the Nationwide Mall earlier than breaking into the Capitol, inflicting an evacuation. The astounding pictures depict a collective act that’s concurrently wholly un-American and but utterly according to the psychology of this nation because it pertains to automotive possession, private freedom, and tendencies towards authoritarianism.
Petro-masculinity has lingered as an idea for years (think of the discourse around the “rolling coal” phenomenon), however it was codified in a 2018 paper by political scientist Cara Daggett known as “Petro-masculinity: Fossil Fuels and Authoritarian Desire.” In it, Daggett explains how “[a]ppreciating the historic relationship between fossil fuels and white patriarchal rule is useful when it comes to understanding the authoritarian wishes and anxieties aroused by the Anthropocene.”
“Petro-masculinity attracts upon features of a historically hegemonic masculinity, however on the similar time, its look within the American far-right in the present day is best understood as a form of hypermasculinity, which is a extra ‘reactionary stance,’” Daggett writes. “It arises when brokers of hegemonic masculinity really feel threatened or undermined, thereby needing to inflate, exaggerate, or in any other case distort their conventional masculinity.”
Daggett’s paper is difficult to shake when viewing the photographs taken Wednesday of the Jeeps, Broncos, Hummers, outsized SUVs, and different automobiles that have been deserted on the Nationwide Mall garden by Trump supporters seeking to disrupt the affirmation of Joe Biden’s Electoral Faculty victory. Petro-masculinity has manifested some ways through the Trump presidency, like when his supporters participated in “highway rallies” and boat parades. But it surely has additionally usually turned violent, like when Trump supporters tried to run a Biden campaign bus off the road, or how individuals hold driving vehicles into crowds of protesters.
Wednesday’s show, nevertheless, looks like petro-masculinity taken to a completely completely different stage because the finish purpose of those that trampled the mall with their automobiles was to subvert democracy. Their habits was so brazen that even Donald Trump Jr. spoke out in protest.
The scariest half about what occurred on Wednesday is that multiple lawmaker is attempting to additional bolster the flexibility of People to wield their automobiles nevertheless they see match. Proposals have been raised in both Missouri and Florida to make it authorized to drive into protesters, in what could possibly be seen as a celebration of kinds of petro-masculinity over the basic American rights of free speech and meeting.