Health sociology review : the journal of the Health Section of the Australian Sociological Association;
This paper explores how masculinity may help us understand the varying ways political leaders are responding to the coronavirus crisis. By focusing directly on masculinity as a social process, this analysis contributes to the broader literature on gender and leadership, unpacking the gendered double bind that leaders who identify as men must navigate in acknowledging and responding to risks. I examine the responses of Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump suggesting that their respective struggles to acknowledge and respond to the public health threat were not simply the result of a lack of available information to inform rational policy decisions. Acknowledging risk and taking measures to prevent rather than 'fight' are not culturally neutral, they are coded as feminine and 'weak'. Clearly, the delay in the response and subsequent spread of the virus in North America was not inevitable, other jurisdictions were able to respond more quickly. The masculinity double bind may have been one of the factors that undermined a prompt response in the increasingly macho context of North America.