Hard-right movements such as today’s Republican Party are based on exclusion of other people and the construction of hierarchies.
In other words, they want to revive an older social order, before the Civil Rights Movement, women’s and gay liberation movements, and other social and political transformations upset what was a thoroughly white-dominated, patriarchal society. Gender, then — how it is understood, practiced and described in our laws — is clearly of central concern to the hard right. Their goal is to uphold male supremacy, a movement that scholar of right-wing movements Chelsea Ebin describes as “a complex system that serves to assert, support, and promote the supposed superiority of men,” and subjugate women, trans, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people.
Given the hard right’s actions over roughly the past year, it’s impossible to ignore the centrality of male supremacy in the movement. Even far-right extremists have noted the shift. “I’ve noticed in the last three or four years, there seems to be a lot of generalized resentment of women on the right, like beyond typical,” white nationalist podcaster Joseph Jordan said in a July 2022 podcast, calling the Republican Party’s positions akin to the “Reddit Manosphere,” a violently misogynistic online community.
Politicians, influencers, grassroots activists and members of extremist groups have collectively embarked on a campaign to strip women of their rights and force them into subservient societal and familial roles; demonize LGBTQ+ people, deny trans people access to spaces that conform to their gender identity and refuse them crucial medical care; and ban schools from even acknowledging the existence of LGBTQ+ people and families. This is a program — championed in state houses and in protests in the streets — to force people into heteronormative, patriarchal social structures.
Male supremacy has always played a role in right-wing movements. But now it has taken center stage, lending the hard-right ideological coherence while acting as a tremendously mobilizing force. This comes at a time when the hard right is increasingly embracing authoritarianism. Its followers are less willing to compromise and increasingly argue they must use a heavy hand to contend with the people they view as political enemies, which include anyone who upsets “traditional” gender roles and family structures. Not only is the movement bearing down on those who resist male supremacism, it also seems increasingly willing to condone intimidation, force and violence to suppress and silence them.