A series of sexual-harassment accusations against well-known business leaders, celebrities and politicians has left people wondering why some successful men behave this way.
In many cases, power seems to play a role. Certainly, the majority of influential men treat women appropriately. But what is going on from a psychological standpoint with the ones who don’t? Research shows they have different motivations yet typically share specific personality traits. Their power amplifies proclivities they already have.
.. Power can be isolating. Psychologists say that people in power sometimes feel removed from others, as if they aren’t subject to the same rules... “Powerful people often surround themselves with people who enable them and who won’t challenge them,”.. power can create opportunities for men to mistreat women. However, those who choose to exploit such opportunities are sometimes men who felt powerless in the past and then suddenly received an increase in power... Power also can make people feel less inhibited.. “There are parallels to alcohol,” she says. “Both make you less constrained by social norms.”.. For many people this is positive. People who are compassionate before they have power, for example, tend to be more compassionate afterwards, the research shows. They’re the good bosses... those who harass or assault women often have a combination of two distinct sets of personality characteristics.. Psychologists call these “hostile masculinity” and “impersonal sexuality.”.. Men with “hostile masculinity” find power over women to be a sexual turn-on. They feel anger at being rejected by a woman. This is something that researchers believe probably happened to them a lot when they were young. They justify their aggression and are often narcissists... Men with “impersonal sexuality” prefer sex without intimacy or a close connection, which often leads them to seek promiscuous sex or multiple partners.
.. Men who harass or assault women also tend to have sexist attitudes, such as an opposition to gender equality or a favoring of traditional roles for women
.. “It’s not automatic; it’s not that power corrupts,” says UCLA’s Dr. Malamuth. “It’s a certain type of man who uses his power in this way.”
.. men who are aggressive toward women are more likely to look for or create a situation where women are more vulnerable. So it’s no coincidence that they are the ones who seek out power—especially over young, beautiful women, who were the ones who tended to reject them when they were young.
.. “The bad behavior is a defense against being powerless,”
Why do working-class conservatives seem to vote so often against their own economic interests?
My stab at an answer would begin in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many Trump supporters live in places that once were on the edge of the American frontier. Life on that frontier was fragile, perilous, lonely and remorseless. If a single slip could produce disaster, then discipline and self-reliance were essential. The basic pattern of life was an underlying condition of peril, warded off by an ethos of self-restraint, temperance, self-control and strictness of conscience.
.. Today these places are no longer frontier towns, but many of them still exist on the same knife’s edge between traditionalist order and extreme dissolution.
.. Many people in these places tend to see their communities the way foreign policy realists see the world: as an unvarnished struggle for resources — as a tough world, a no-illusions world, a world where conflict is built into the fabric of reality.
.. The virtues most admired in such places, then and now, are what Shirley Robin Letwin once called the vigorous virtues: “upright, self-sufficient, energetic, adventurous, independent minded, loyal to friends and robust against foes.”
.. The sins that can cause the most trouble are not the social sins — injustice, incivility, etc. They are the personal sins — laziness, self-indulgence, drinking, sleeping around.
.. Moreover, the forces of social disruption are visible on every street: the slackers taking advantage of the disability programs, the people popping out babies, the drug users, the spouse abusers.
.. In their view, government doesn’t reinforce the vigorous virtues. On the contrary, it undermines them — by fostering initiative-sucking dependency, by letting people get away with their mistakes so they can make more of them and by getting in the way of moral formation.
The only way you build up self-reliant virtues, in this view, is through struggle. Yet faraway government experts want to cushion people from the hardships that are the schools of self-reliance. Compassionate government threatens to turn people into snowflakes.
.. a woman from Louisiana complaining about the childproof lids on medicine and the mandatory seatbelt laws. “We let them throw lawn darts, smoked alongside them,” the woman says of her children. “And they survived. Now it’s like your kid needs a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads to go down the kiddy slide.”
.. they perceive government as a corrupt arm used against the little guy. She argues that these voters may vote against their economic interests, but they vote for their emotional interests, for candidates who share their emotions about problems and groups.
.. I’d say they believe that big government support would provide short-term assistance, but that it would be a long-term poison to the values that are at the core of prosperity.