The virus “does feminize people,” the Fox News host told Nigel Farage, of all people.
Tucker Carlson has found a new symptom of coronavirus — one that you won’t find on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. During an episode of Tucker Carlson Today, a morning show set in a faux log cabin that is as authentic as Carlson’s everyman persona, the host dug deep into the manosphere and pulled out the most toxic take he could find: Getting infected with coronavirus will feminize you.
Carlson’s latest research on the virus, which apparently no peer-reviewed publication has the stones to publish for fear of upsetting the Feminized Elite, came out in conversation with, naturally, Brexit leader Nigel Farage. The two were talking about Boris Johnson, the current prime minister of the United Kingdom, and his leadership, which they found to be lacking. Farage said that Johnson lacked leadership qualities and changed direction too often, and Carlson suggested the real reason for it.
“So somebody who knows him told me, and I'd be interested in getting your take on this, that getting COVID emasculated him, it changed him, it feminized him, it weakened him as a man,” Carlson said. Men, you see, are rational and reasonable and stay the course because they are strong and have convictions. Women, though, are wishy-washy and emotional and their beliefs blow in the wind. Totally normal shit to read on a manosphere blog circa 2003, but a little jarring to hear out of the mouth of a talk show host in 2021.
Even Farage, who is not exactly a progressive thinker himself — he called Donald Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” comment “alpha male banter” and joked about Trump sexually assaulting Theresa May — tried to back Carlson away from this take, noting that when Johnson contracted COVID, “he was very seriously ill.” Johnson had to be rushed to the hospital and placed on oxygen support for his condition.
Carlson acknowledged this basically by going, “Yeah, just like a woman would do.” Continuing on his bizarre attempt to diagnose symptoms, Carlson explained, “The virus itself, this is true, does tend to take away the life force in some people, I notice. I mean it does feminize people. No one ever says that, but it’s true.”
A couple classic Carlson tricks are on display here. First: If you say “this is true” then you cannot question it, especially when it is something completely unmeasurable like whether a virus takes a person’s life force. Usually that is just called that getting sick, but sure, it really sucks their soul right out of them. That’s what all the doctors say. The other Tucker trick: If no one is talking about it, it must be because they are hiding it. It isn’t because it’s complete bullshit that he just made up right then, it’s because it’s a truth that only Carlson is brave enough to say out loud.
Farage has never shied away from saying off-the-wall nonsense (here’s one, just picked randomly: “I think Obama, because of his grandfather and Kenya and colonization, I think Obama bears a bit of a grudge against this country”). But even he seemed unsure what to do with Carlson’s weird, pseudoscientific and mysticism-based misogyny. So he pivoted to a more traditional form of it that felt more familiar to him: “Let’s be honest about it, it’s the new wife,” he said, blaming Johnson’s behavior on his partner Carrie. There you go, Nigel! Way to pivot into a kind of grossness that we all can recognize.
It’s really not worth trying to debunk Carlson’s claims here, because they are so goddamn stupid. But real quick: The stereotype of men being rational and women being emotional has been debunked time and time and time again, and the suggestion otherwise is based on stupid stereotypes that have been ingrained in our way of thinking for too long. Also, men are more likely to die from contracting coronavirus than women, so maybe being more feminine isn’t so bad.