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Aug. 24 2009 - 8:50 am | 13 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

Daily Dosage: Apparently, macho men are overcompensating

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For men who choose to express their Extreme Selfdom by pumping iron, wearing tight-fitting tank-tops and shotgunning Pabst while listening to Metallica, listen up: I’ve suspected for years that you’re overcompensating for a humiliating bedroom failure, or closeted homosexuality, or a fat childhood. And now, science is onto you too.

Researchers at the University of South Florida have published a paper concluding what reasonable women (and a select cadre of men) have known for years. They polled groups of men on various facets of aggressiveness, including how the behavior is perceived by peers, whether or not it is attractive to women and whether aggression is a normal male characteristic. When given a “conflict scenario” to imagine (either being punched or watching another man being punched), the participants responded in ways that yielded the following conclusions:

Men (but not women) overestimated the aggressiveness of their peers.

Men (but not women) overestimated peer approval of aggression and disapproval when an affront was not responded to aggressively.

Men overestimate how attractive aggression is to women.

Greater perceived discrepancies in aggression between self and peers was related to lower self-esteem, a weaker gender identification, and greater feelings of social marginalization…

To the dude pumping iron for four hours on a Saturday afternoon: your aggressive grunting and bicep curls are not turning me on. And ditto to the fellows who spend nights at the bar with the sole intent of picking a fistfight in an alley. I’m sorry that you feel socially marginalized, but spare us the cringe-worthy displays of your self-esteem problems: that’s fodder for your diary.


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  1. collapse expand

    I guess it’s time to rethink my life’s game plan.

  2. collapse expand

    Ms. Drummond,

    I fear that the dudes most in need of learning these key facts are not reading this blog, or even True/Slant.

  3. collapse expand

    Howdy; at the Calgary Stampede a couple of years ago the enquiry to cowboys was ” are you tough enough to wear pink “. Many were and lets hope that men learn to celebrate the subdued side of life and that it doesn’t equate to “sub-dude”. I think I’ll sport my pink shirt in a cotton/silk blend today; my girlfriend loves it !

  4. collapse expand

    Mr. Drummond:

    I have enough to say about the Calgary Stampede to fill another blog post, but I’ll leave it at this. Don’t you think asking men if they’re “tough enough” to wear a “feminine” color is perpetuating the problem, rather than solving it? Why should that even be a question?

    And please, let’s leave mentions of non-vegan clothing items off the blog. Pink or otherwise.

    Ms. Drummond

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    About Me

    I'm a full-time heath & science writer at Sphere and a contributing editor at True/Slant. I also contribute military health news to Danger Room at Wired.com, and have recently written for Marie Claire, World Politics Review and Next American City.

    My first foray into journalism came in middle school - at a French-speaking plaid-kilt-wearing educational institute somewhere in the Canadian tundra. It was there that I decided to start my own newspaper, to disseminate my sarcasm and attitude problem among my peers. We lasted three issues.

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