Men Feel Pull To Be More Masculine, Says Study


Trending News: New study suggests many men struggle with manliness

Masculinity is a subjective concept that many men struggle, leading to adverse effects on mental health, according to new research from Movember. Going by the data, nearly a quarter of all men feel pressured to be seen as manly.

“The hard truth is a lot of guys are reluctant to share what’s going on inside because they don’t want to be seen as weak,” says Dr. John Moore, a licensed psychotherapist MV spoke to about the study.

“As a society, we need to do a much better job at encouraging men to reach out and push back against toxic stereotypes about what it means to be a man,” Moore adds.

Research findings

The research revealed that nearly half of males consider being masculine a net positive when it comes to landing a partner, getting (and maintaining) work, and dealing with activities of daily living.

The good news is that men recognize the benefits of emotionally sharing. The not so good news is that a lot of men don’t do it.

About the research

The Movemember’s “Perceptions of Masculinity and Challenges of Opening Up” used data from Ispos Mori, a market research company. Using online surveys, the organization surveyed men between the ages of 18 to 75 from Canada, the United States, Australia, and the U.K., with 1000 participants from each nation.

The findings were revealing and concerning:

  • Nearly half of men equated being masculine to being strong.
  • Approximately a third of men avoided talking about their feelings because they feared being judged as unmanly.
  • Nearly a third of the guys surveyed felt they needed to be perceived as masculine; something that acts as a barrier to emotional disclosure.
  • A majority believed society expects men to be emotionally strong and not show weakness.
  • A substantial number of men wished they could talk to someone about their issues.

Here are a few quotes appearing from the research:

“To be manly/masculine is to always try to act tough even when you feel like you just want to break down and cry.”

-UK survey participant

“To be manly/masculine is to be] strong, not open about feelings, always fix everything.”

-Canadian participant

“To be manly/masculine is someone who doesn't like sharing their feelings or discussing them.”

-Australian participant

Implications of perceived manliness

The findings from this study are important because suicide is a leading cause of death for males in the United States and the United Kingdom.

A wide body of research suggests that an effective way of addressing feelings of depression and anxiety is having strong support systems in place. In other words, men need to do a better job of creating emotional bonds with others and using them to share what’s going on inside.

“Working with a mental health counselor certainly can be beneficial, but that’s only part of the equation. Men, like everyone else, need supportive relationships to talk about their emotions without worrying about being seen as weak,” suggests Moore.

“But for that to happen, there need to be major societal changes on perceptions of manliness. While things are improving, we still have a long way to go,” he adds.

About Andy Seaborn 27 Articles
Andy Seaborn is a Seattle based freelance writer who blogs about relationships, parenting and men's issues. When he's not writing, he's usually spending time with his family outdoors. Look for pieces that focus on a variety of topics.