Most men in society today are victims of fragile masculinity. However, the topic is hardly talked about, and worse is that some men get offended when it is brought up. Unknown to them is that they could be suffering from this condition too. So, what is it, and what are the observable signs that you are suffering from it?
People set varying standards and roles for males and females, and most people blindly force themselves to conform to these rules. In most cases, males feel that females will laugh at them if they talk about masculinity fragile topics that affect them, and women avoid bringing them up for fear of getting hurt by men.
What is fragile masculinity?
Fragile masculinity refers to the peculiar anxiety felt by men, who believe that they are falling short of manhood's cultural standards. Fragile masculinity can motivate compensatory attitudes/behaviours meant to restore the threatened status of being a ‘real’ man.
Men are expected to actively achieve and defend their high-value status as part of the male gender. If they fail to demonstrate their manhood convincingly, they risk losing their status as ‘real men’.
For many males, the pressure to earn and prove their manhood triggers anxiety that motivates various compensatory behaviours and beliefs. Therefore, fragile masculinity concerns the anxiety derived from manhood insecurities and the behavioural consequences of this anxiety.
Fragile masculinity is not just the fear that one will be punished or condemned for failing to conform to society’s gender expectations, but also the fear of losing their membership to the high-status category.
Why is masculinity so fragile?
It is not a disease but a deadly emotional weakness that affects males who feel like the social standards that define a real man are too high for them. Demanding and coercing men to act in a certain way should stop before it leads to major severe chaos.
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Fragile masculinity can sink a man into depression and make him mentally ill. Elliot Rodger, the 2014 Isla Vista killings perpetrator, confessed that sexual and social rejection motivated him to commit the crimes.
An in-depth look at masculine fragility
Fragile masculinity results in violence against females or low self-esteem in males. Black women still have to endure both Black and White male fragility because some men hate being challenged by Black women.
A man can become aggressive and abusive when a female challenges his masculinity. Another category of males will feel nervous and hide in a shell because he feels less of a man. In some parts of the world, men are mocked when they cry, hold hands, hug, or wear pink attires. These are considered 'feminine' characters that a man should never display to society.
You will find that some males physically abuse or kill females because they rejected their sexual advances, did not do house chores, are striving towards financial independence, and many more reasons.
What are the signs of fragile masculinity?
Fragile masculinity is a problem faced by certain males as it is evident in the man's behaviour when interacting with women. Society's standards push the man to behave that way, and females also contribute to making men adopt these toxic characters.
If females look down on males who do not adhere to masculinity norms, they are likely toxic feminists and fragile masculinity supporters.
Here is how to tell that your masculinity is fragile:
- You take risks like driving recklessly, drug abuse, and more related activities to display dominance over women. Note that you often act this way when you are in the company of females.
- You rarely support healthy feminist ideas like anti-female circumcision campaigns, forced wife inheritance practices, couples sharing house chores, and more. An increase in women empowerment programs makes you complain that the world is giving females all the attention and forgetting about men.
- You are verbally and physically aggressive towards women because you feel entitled to sex, submission, and love from the female gender. In other cases, you believe that you must win an argument between you and a woman. You quickly jump into "it is a guy thing" whenever you are on the wrong rather than apologizing.
- You do not display emotion in public. Emotion is treated as being a feminine characteristic, and stifling emotion is seen as true manliness. From childhood, males are shamed to conform to the standard that showing emotion is weak and feminine.
- You discourage women in your life from taking care of themselves because you believe you must protect and provide for them. Therefore, you become overprotective and overspend money on them even when you are straining financially.
- You have a traditional male stereotype that inspires you to look down upon the LGBTQ+ community. If you attack the LGBTQ+ community rather than discuss your opinion with them peacefully, your masculinity is so fragile.
- You do not engage in household chores and caregiving. Again, housework and childrearing are seen as feminine qualities. Therefore, being asked to do a feminine-deemed task such as housework, or worse, a man being criticised by a woman for not cleaning appropriately is often interpreted as an emasculating assault and provokes a masculine overcompensation response.
- You feel that you are self-reliant and independent enough to live a happy life without a partner to the extent that you feel sorry for those who are married or dating.
- You conform to toxic masculinity standards, and you are more likely to make sexual comments or sexist jokes to women, commit sexual harassment, and accept r*ape myths. You also behave as if you are entitled to women’s bodies.
Fragile masculinity memes
Society as a whole should think twice before mocking the males deemed as unsuccessful men. Trolling them online using fragile masculinity memes motivates them actually to stay away from male norms.
1. When it is all about complaining
Fragile masculinity breaks your self-control, and thus you tend to get more annoyed on slight provocation. Sometimes you complain about petty things.
2. Challenging nature
A man whose masculinity is fragile will desperately do things to outsmart their female counterparts. For instance, a baseball player standing on a bucket to appear taller than a female reporter.
3. Most have a conservative mindset
Most of the men who suffer from fragile masculinity tend to have stereotypic views of how men are supposed to behave.
4. When he is too much
Well, some degree of fragile masculinity as portrayed by men out here may be acceptable. However, some tend to be too much, especially if it is detrimental to the opposite gender.
5. When they can't explain their actions
When fragile masculinity takes over you, chances are, you may engage in some unlawful activities to prove yourself. For example, attack someone to show your prowess and control.
Fragile masculinity memes always go viral on the internet. They are hilarious; however, these memes hurt others. They portray them as deviants (they seem not to behave like real men).
Society should fight fragile masculinity to get rid of it finally. Accepting men for who they are may encourage them to go out of their way and even do better than what society expects of them. Men portray a tough exterior on the outside, but some are more sensitive than women, which should be considered normal and acceptable.
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