American Culture Punishes Men 'Just for Acting Like Men,' Majority of Republicans Say

A majority of Republicans and white Christians say American way of life has changed for the worse since the 1950s, with about two-thirds of GOP voters agreeing society has become "too soft and feminine."

Most Americans say the country's culture and way of life have changed for the better over the past 70 years, but majorities of both GOP voters and white Christians see post-1950s society as weak, immoral and too diverse. A new survey released Monday by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found 60 percent of Republicans saying U.S. society is too soft. About 63 percent of Republicans say American culture is "too feminine," compared with twice the percentage of either Democrats (24 percent) or Independents (33 percent) who feel the same.

Less than half of Republicans, 46 percent, say American culture and the country's way of life have changed for the better since the 1950s, the survey finds. Only one-quarter of Americans say the U.S. sets a good moral example for the world.

Far fewer Americans overall agree with these conservative sentiments toward gender roles and masculinity, with 38 percent from all political and religious affiliations saying men today are punished simply for being men. Most white evangelical Protestants and a slim majority of white mainline Protestants agree society is too embracing of feminine qualities and don't allow men to "just act like men," the survey finds.

The survey authors did not define what "acting like men" means to respondents. They instead allowed people to either agree, disagree or abstain from specific statements.

By comparison, fewer than one-third of religiously unaffiliated Americans and white Catholics say men are punished and living in a feminine world. And just shy of half of Black Protestants agree.

To little surprise, there are wide divides between the views of men and women on the issue of masculinity and societal norms. Half of U.S. male adults, 50 percent, say society punishes men for being men, compared to 30 percent of women who agree. And there is a nearly identical gender gap on whether American culture is too feminine in 2020. All of these attitudes are statistically unchanged from the same 2016 survey.

Republicans and white evangelicals are among the few demographics who say American way of life has changed for the worse since the 1950s. But even those percentages are down from 2016 as GOP voters appear to have taken a much more optimistic view of how the country has evolved. Four years ago, only 31 percent of Republicans said American culture had gotten better since the 1950s, compared with 46 percent who say that today. Independent voters are also far more positive, with 57 percent saying changes were for the better versus 44 percent who agreed in 2016 surveys.

The survey authors noted that several optimistic viewpoints emerged from conservative demographics over the past four years, perhaps due in part to the election of President Donald Trump. The "State of the Union: A House Divided" PRRI survey was conducted between September 9 and 22 among a random sample of 2,538 U.S. adults across all 50 states.

Newsweek reached out to the Republican National Committee for any reaction Monday afternoon.

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A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump wears a "Proud Boys" shirt prior to his arrival for NBC News town hall event at the Perez Art Museum in Miami on October 15. Most GOP voters and white Christians see post-1950s society as weak, immoral and too diverse. CHANDAN KHANNA / Contributor/Getty Images