In the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s, a series of stock
characters emerged to define and bolster white masculinity.
Alongside such caricatures as "the Playboy" and "the Redneck" came
a new creation: "the Male Chauvinist Pig." Coined by second-wave
feminists as an insult, the Male Chauvinist Pig was largely defined
by an anti-feminism that manifested in boorish sexist jokes. But
the epithet backfired: being a sexist pig quickly transformed into
a badge of honor worn proudly by misogynists, and, in time, it
would come to define a strain of right-wing politics. Historian
Julie Willett tracks the ways in which the sexist pig was sanitized
by racism, popularized by consumer culture, weaponized to demean
feminists, and politicized to mobilize libertine sexists to adopt
Mapping out a trajectory that links the sexist buffoonery of Bobby Riggs in the 1970s, the popularity of Rush Limbaugh's screeds against "Feminazis" in the 1990s, and the present day misogyny underpinning Trumpism, Willett makes a case for the potency of this seemingly laughable cultural symbol, showing what can happen when we neglect or trivialize the political power of humor.