Research shows that many men feel pressure to look and behave in stereotypically masculine ways — or risk losing their status as “real men.” Masculine expectations are socialized from early childhood and can motivate men to embrace traditional male behaviors while avoiding even the hint of femininity. This unforgiving standard of maleness makes some men worry that they’re falling short. These men are said to experience “fragile masculinity.”
Nothing says insecure and fragile like holding yourself to demanding standards.
Fragile masculinity, they explain, is what happens when “an unforgiving standard of maleness makes some men worry that they’re falling short.” These men worry so much about losing their status as “real men” in society that they overcompensate with stereotypically masculine behavior and attitudes, and shun anything even remotely feminine.
Measuring how many men actually feel this way is a bit tricky. Since fragile masculinity is all about putting on a show for the world and refusing to admit your own vulnerabilities, the researchers couldn’t exactly get this information by asking men about it in a questionnaire and expecting them to be truthful.
So they turned to the one place where people can be most honest about their deepest fears and desires: Google search results.
The researchers came up with a list of search topics related to insecurity about living up to the ideals of manhood — the phrase “how to get girls,” and search terms related to erectile dysfunction, hair loss, penis enlargement, penis size, steroids, testosterone, and Viagra.
Yep, sounds legit.