PROTECTIVE MASCULINITY’ AND THE POPULIST RADICAL RIGHT
Explaining the gender gap in populist radical right electoral support in Europe?
Although the gender gap in populist radical right electoral support has been examined extensively over the last decades, little scholarly attention has been paid to the role that gender – as opposed to sex – plays in shaping political attitudes and behaviour. Concurrently with the gendered element of populist radical right support being heavily undertheorized, the gender ideology of the party family is frequently disregarded. Importantly, this renders the expression and propagation of masculinity by populist radical right parties and their supporters virtually invisible, omitting a crucial factor that might contribute to understanding the gender gap. Consequently, this author proposes to use the concept of ‘protective masculinity’ as an analytical tool explaining the gender gap. Moreover, it is suggested that the two mechanisms of mediation – men and women differ on the attitude of ‘protective masculinity’ that predicts populist radical right support – and moderation – men and women differ on the effects of the ‘protective masculinity’ attitude that predicts populist radical right support – might be at play. This research is conducted through employing a multilevel logistic regression where ‘protective masculinity’ is operationalized as the interaction variable of both anti-Muslim attitudes and low gender egalitarian attitudes. Using the 2017 wave of the European Values Study on 25,967 individuals nested in 24 European countries, this author finds that ‘protective masculinity’ attitudes indeed are related to populist radical right support. Yet, although men are slightly more likely than women to hold ‘protective masculinity’ attitudes, these attitudes are unable to explain the gender gap, as only a small partial mediation and no significant moderation effect has been found.