More Manly Action, Less Manly in Fact

More Manly Action, Less Manly in Fact January 23, 2014


A few years ago, a team of researchers led by a professor from UC Berkeley set out to test what they called the masculine overcompensation thesis, the theory that when men sense threats to their manhood, they respond by exaggerating their gender traits.

The researchers used several approaches, from laboratory experiments to large-scale cross-sectional surveys, but they all confirmed that when men faced the implication that they were somehow not men, they tended to increase their support of war, homophobia, male dominance, “purchasing an SUV,” and other stereotypical male bullshit.

Women do not respond this way. If you tell women they’re more masculine, they don’t suddenly rush out to buy pink Priuses.

The conclusion of the study is, to me, indisputable, but it leaves men in an impossible position: The more manly you act, the less manly you probably are.

Browse Our Archives