An un-bylined article in Medical News Today says
Manhood is a "precarious" status-difficult to earn and easy to lose. And when it's threatened, men see aggression as a good way to hold onto it. These are the conclusions of a new article by University of South Florida psychologists Jennifer K. Bosson and Joseph A. Vandello. The paper is published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
"Gender is social," says, Bosson. "Men know this. They are powerfully concerned about how they appear in other people's eyes." And the more concerned they are, the more they will suffer psychologically when their manhood feels violated. Gender role violation can be a big thing, like losing a job, or a little thing, like being asked to braid hair in a laboratory.
In several studies, Bosson and her colleagues used that task to force men to behave in a "feminine" manner, and recorded what happened. In one study, some men braided hair; others did the more masculine-or gender-neutral-task of braiding rope.
What's funny about that study (which all grains of salt small-scale studies should be taken with) is that men felt anxious about their "masculinity" after being asked to braid hair vs. braiding rope.
I don't get that. Some of the hottest sex I've had with women was after braiding their hair or doing other nominally "feminine" things with them. Now it might not be "masculine" behavior but for some reason (can't imagine why) a lot of women really, really like it when men braid their hair. And not in a "thank you, now I'm ready for church" sort of way either.
Further down in the article Bosson adds
Who judges manhood so stringently? "Women are not the main punishers of gender role violations," says Bosson. Other men are.
It's pretty obvious that most men aren't attracted to "feminine" men the way a lot of women are, and that's fine. But if men really aren't the main punishers of gender role violations" then why should any other man give a crap?
When it comes to a choice of doing things that men think are "masculine" that turn women off, vs. things that men don't think are that "masculine" but turn women on, I'll take the second choice any time. But I think that's mostly because, being heterosexual and liking to get laid, being attractive to women seems like a much better idea.
What am I missing here?
Update: In comments tu quoque points out, correctly, that this post is pretty heterocentric since I focus on gender in terms of getting laid. Mea semi-culpa. First because this is primarily a sex blog, but also second because a heck of a lot of ostensible purpose of performing gender revolves around what is and isn't supposed to be attractive to the "other" gender. And finally because there's a lot of judgment, too often accompanied by ostracism and/or violence, around men who don't perform hetero "masculinity" I'm interested in critiquing both the subject itself and logic underlying the judgment. Since "being attractive to women," and consequently "getting laid" is supposed to be the gold standard of masculinity I definitely think it's worth pointing out that men appear to be more concerned about masculinity than most women, and that manifestations of that concern (anxiety about braiding hair, for instance, or carrying your wife's fucking purse!) can be outright counterproductive to the goal as stated.