The meeting of Kanye West and President Donald Trump on Oct. 11 was infuriating and surreal for an array of reasons. While several factors play into what was said and how it was said, including Kanye’s mental illness, some statements held far too much weight not to be discussed.
The main topic that should be highlighted was how the meeting gave a clear window into the fragility of masculinity and the possibility of masculine-based thoughts to turn toxic.
During the meeting, West mentioned the fact that even though he was quite fond of Hillary Clinton, as a man he felt alienated by her slogan, “I’m with her.” He felt it did not give him the male energy he needed since he did not have male energy in the house when he was a child and he married into a family that lacks male energy. It did not give him the feeling that he could play catch with his son.
I am not sure at what point certain men began to feel so threatened by a woman in power that it causes them to lose the ability to play catch, but it is this sort of thought that keeps women from moving up in position.
One point that should be made clear is if a man does not feel as if he can play catch with his son solely because a woman is exercising power, the woman or her slogan is not at fault. It is a lack of confidence on the male part that should in no way effect whether a woman should be president. The fear of a loss of masculinity is one of the sole reasons that females struggle to gain power. Somehow it got implanted in our society that if a woman holds the same power as a man it means that the males are lesser. This defeats the whole purpose. Females being on the same level as men is an exercise of equality, not of emasculation. Believing that simple equality makes a man less of a man is displayed clearly in West’s preference of Trump over Clinton because of “male energy.” It is a toxic form of thinking that must be replaced by a thought of equality empowering all.
Secondly, the idea that a person could make the decision of who deserves to be president solely based on wheter or not they feel as if they could play catch with their son is ridiculous. The president does not exist to boost masculinity. They are not here to make men feel manly. They are here to make important diplomatic decisions and protect our country. A woman has every ounce of qualification as a man for these criteria, and if that makes a person feel emasculated then, again, that is in no way her fault and she should not suffer because of it. Decisions such as these should not be based on gender but purely on qualification, and it seems as if that has been completely ignored in West’s decision.
I understand West suffers from bipolar disorder and it can affect the way he acts, but he is a public figure whose statements hold weigh, especially for his impressionable fans. There are other persons in the public eye who do not spread sexist comments because of their mental illness. He needs to be held accountable for the toxic views he has recently spread. All people must be. If people like West continue to believe that equality breeds emasculation, then women will continue to fall behind.