Daily Dosage: Apparently, macho men are overcompensating
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.