From an article entitled “Precarious Manhood,” which was referred to on a guest post yesterday:1
If manhood is viewed as elusive and tenuous, two implications are that (a) challenges to men’s manhood will provoke anxiety and threat-related emotions among men and (b) men will often feel compelled to demonstrate their manhood through action, particularly when it has been challenged.
There are undoubtedly many actions that men can perform to bolster their status as “real” men and thus assuage their feelings of gender role stress even if these actions provide only temporary relief from masculinity concerns. For example, men may display manhood by drinking heavily, driving fast, excelling at sports, making lots of money, bragging about their sexual exploits, and fathering many children, to name a few.
Indeed, across several empirical demonstrations of responses to gender identity threats, men who underwent challenges to their masculinity showed decreased liking for other nonprototypical members of their gender in-group (Schmitt & Branscombe, 2001), projected assumptions of homosexuality onto a male target (Bramel, 1963), sexually harassed a woman (Maass, Cadinu, Guarnieri, & Grasselli, 2003), took stronger levels of electric shock (Holmes, 1971), and overestimated their height and sexual experience (Cheryan, Cameron, Katagiri, & Monin, 2008).