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Manhood Is a Tricky Thing

In a new study, researchers asked men to undertake a “feminine” activity: braiding someone else’s hair. The control group (another group of men) were asked to do the gender-neutral task of braiding a piece of rope. Afterwards, men in both groups were given the option of punching a punching-bag or doing a puzzle. Interestingly, the men who had braided hair overwhelmingly chose to punch a bag while the rope braiders chose evenly between the punching-bag and the puzzle.

It seems, that when men perceive loosing their manhood, they feel the need to compensate by doing “guy things” to regain it. Of course, an action or a situation is perceived as feminine or masculine according to cultural norms. But in most cases, men will try to maintain their feeling of manhood.

Ladies, the next time you drag your partner along shoe shopping or have him sit through a discussion on nail polish, don’t be surprised if back home he turns on the sport channel and kicks his feet on the table! Yes, it’s a bit stereotyped, but this compensation often takes place and it does most of the time without us (men) being aware of doing so. With constantly and rapidly evolving cultural norms, achieving and maintaining our manhood is sure not going to get any easier.

Source: Current Directions in Psychological Science.