The controversy surrounding the recently nominated US Supreme Court judge, Brett Kavanaugh, has once again highlighted how prevalent misogyny is in Donald Trump’s presidency. This misogyny, however, is not endemic solely to Trump’s regime but is instead the product of a toxic definition of white American masculinity that has been essential in shaping American notions of empire and in impacting gender relations in the country. This toxic definition of masculinity is central to how the American empire evolved since the early 1800, and the impact this had on women and minorities in America. For men like Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt, for instance, American expansion and war were central to white American masculinity and to prevent American males from becoming ‘effeminate’. A white male was thus defined as aggressive, dominant and a strong proponent of a global American empire. In 1901, for instance, then American President Theodore Roosevelt claimed in a speech, “You, the men of Colorado, and, above all, the older among those whom I am now addressing, have been engaged in doing the great typical work of our people. Save only the preservation of the Union itself, no other task has been so important as the conquest and settlement of the West.” Roosevelt’s words highlight how central the ‘conquest of the West’ has been to American collective thinking and to the American nation. This conquest was also essential in defining the white American male, whom Roosevelt believed should always be up and about and ready for war. Roosevelt’s speech thus depicts how ideals of American masculinity rested on dominance and empire, in contrast to American women and minorities who were seen as docile and in need of male paternalism. This was once again evident in the 1915, American invasion of Haiti, which was billed as another ‘adventure’ and which shaped American masculinity. The invasion itself carried strong undertones of patriarchy and dominance. Historian Mary Renda in her outstanding book, ‘Taking Haiti’, referring to the occupation, for instance, argues, “For each man a distinctive concentration of memories, experiences, images, fragments of a culture, coalesced to form a self, a white man, an American, a soldier.” Renda here, in fact, perfectly captures how imperialism, race and masculinity were coming together to shape the ideal white American male. This ideal white American, male, thus, was a proponent of empire, domination and of patriarchy. Anything less was not American or not manly enough. This patriarchal and masculine definition would come to define America’s neo-colonialism post-1945 as well. Henry Luce, founder of Time magazine, in his famous treatise ‘The American Century’ laid the groundworks for America’s position as the benevolent and reluctant policeman of the global world order. This article was once again laced with American notions of male dominance and its strong links with empire. Luce, for instance, wrote, “If America meets [an issue] correctly, then, despite hosts of dangers and difficulties, we can look forward and move forward to a future worthy of men.” The issue Luce refers to here is America’s destiny as the benevolent dictator of the twentieth century. The link between empire and a future worthy of men -American men, is thus once again evident in Luce’s discourse. Roosevelt’s speech thus depicts how ideals of American masculinity rested on dominance and empire, in contrast to American women and minorities who were seen as docile and in need of male paternalism Masculinity has thus been central in shaping ideas of the American nation. This masculine definition of the white American male has been essential in normalising and disseminating the sexism men like Kavanaugh uphold. Self-avowed patriots and proponents of American greatness like Trump and Kavanaugh adhere to a notion of masculinity that carries a callous disregard for women and minority rights, and which is a product of the historical definition of masculinity in America. This is not to say, however, that all American white males are sexist or think along the same lines as Roosevelt, Trump or Kavanaugh. Far from it. Instead, it is essential to realise how toxic masculinity has defined American thinking and thus shaped ideas of misogyny and patriarchy in America. Nowhere is this toxic masculinity more prominent than in fraternities at American colleges, many of which continue to remain all-white male spaces. Kavanaugh too, in fact, was a member of a fraternity at Yale which naturally shaped his thinking. It is thus absolutely essential to assess the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh in a historical context that looks at how central misogyny has been to American thinking and to notions of American statehood. White, male Americans have also continued to monopolise corridors of power in America, which explains why Trump is so heavily supporting Kavanaugh, a misogynist like himself. In the morass of FBI hearings and Brett Kavanaugh’s male privilege, it is essential that we support Dr Christine Ford and her quest to reveal the ugly misogyny that exists in America. We must also remain cognisant of how misogyny exists in Pakistan as well, and how masculinity and power combine to silence and oppress millions in our own country. The writer graduated from Aitchison College and Cornell University, and also studied at Oxford University. He is the editor-in-chief at Timsaal magazine, and can be reached at email@example.com, www.timsaal.com Published in Daily Times, October 23rd 2018.