Late last year a study was published that found a link between experienced masculinity and voting behaviour. Three different experiments found that men’s concern about failing to meet masculine standards lead them to embrace more aggressive policies and politicians. In the study links were found with politicians like Trump and policies like the death penalty.
The study used the Precarious Manhood theory in its research. This theory differentiates manhood in three ways from womanhood. Firstly, manhood is widely seen as an earned or achieved status (compared to womanhood that is ascribed or assigned). Secondly, once achieved, manhood status is tenuous and impermanent; that is, it can be lost or taken away. Finally, manhood is confirmed mostly by others, thus requiring public displays as proof. These characteristics explain the pressure (some) men feel to actively maintain their reputation as ‘real men’.
The results of the study are no surprise as multiple previous studies have already confirmed links with different kinds of compensation when manhood is challenged. For example, when men feel their masculinity is threatened they display higher values of homophobia, exaggerate their height and previous sexual partners, and express more interest in buying an SUV.
Whether men feel secure in their masculinity has a lot of influence on many of the decisions they make and attitudes they hold. It is something that is rarely incorporated in brand strategy however but can make a difference. Especially for brands that focus on men in particular. For example, men who don’t feel secure in their masculinity are wary of buying typically female products like beauty and grooming products. Meaning these brands should find a way to make men feel secure in their manhood for them to expand the full potential of their target group. Have you ever wondered how your brand can play into the confirmation of masculinity?