What comes to mind when you think about masculinity? Strength? Machismo? Assertiveness? Courage? These behaviors are some of the most common ones that are associated with masculinity but there are also some less attractive ones such as aggressiveness, suppression of emotions, arrogance, violence, and the devaluation of women. These behaviors are generally associated with toxic masculinity. The term toxic masculinity is used to describe the behaviors and roles that have shown to be harmful psychologically and socially. Masculinity is not necessarily a bad thing and it's not only used to describe men. There are plenty of men out there who are more feminine than masculine and plenty of women who are more masculine than feminine. However, toxic masculinity generally manifests itself in men because the bad behaviors associated with toxic masculinity are encouraged in men due to the traditional norms that are placed on them.
While a guy with muscles may be attractive, you may not realize that the reason why your crush goes to the gym every day is because he is insecure. There are many behaviors, qualities, and characteristics that may seem masculine but, in reality, they are based on insecurity. There is nothing more unattractive than a guy who is insecure and it's important to be able to tell when a man is confident in himself or if he is masking deeply-rooted insecurity. This insecurity is less likely to rear it's ugly head if society did not place such strict and traditional rules when it comes to masculinity. The societal pressure creates men whose masculinity is threatened if he has to hold his girlfriend's purse or if he is required to share his emotions. Here are all of the traits and characteristics of a man who seems masculine but, in reality, is probably hiding insecurities.
15 Driving Fast
When a guy is trying to impress a girl, he's like a whole different person. Often times, when an immature guy has a girl in his car, he'll drive faster than usual. Of course, men have a tendency to drive faster than women mostly because they are socialized to take more risks and, subsequently, get in more accidents. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, men are 30% more likely to cause a wreck than a woman. If they have a girl in the car, he'll usually drive faster in order to demonstrate his masculinity but it's really rooted in insecurity because he feels the need to overcompensate. If you're in a car with a guy who's driving too fast, it's best to act like you're unimpressed or disinterested. Actually, the best way to get a guy to stop doing dumb things to impress you is to ignore him.
14 Showing Off
If you're a girl walking down the street and you see some guys who are maybe doing tricks on their skateboard or playing basketball, chances are the guys will try to do something that they think will impress you. This usually leads to one of the dudes wiping out after doing a failed skateboard trick. When a guy is trying to impress you, it may seem flattering but these acts have more to do with themselves than the girl they are trying to impress. Men who do this are often lacking confidence in themselves and they feel they need to get a woman to notice them doing something impressive in order for them to feel more like a man. It generally has nothing to do with whether they are interested in you or not. All they want is your attention.
13 Bad Habits
If you watch old black and white movies, there are a lot of men wearing classy brimmed hats, nice suits, shiny shoes. However, you'll also see a lot of men smoking cigarettes. As classy and sexy as Humphrey Bogart might seem with a cigarette in his hand, just remember that he died of esophageal cancer. Men may think that smoking cigarettes give him a "bad boy" look that is attractive to women but guys who always smell like smoke and tobacco are definitely not attractive. Though vaping is the healthier option, guys who vape are pretty goofy looking. Best not to ingest that stuff at all. It may seem like a masculine thing to do but if he's doing it just to impress women, he probably isn't that confident in himself or his personality.
12 Driving a Big Car/Truck
Surely you've heard of the theory that men only drive big cars or big trucks because they are overcompensating for other things. However, this is not necessarily the case. It's true that men generally drive big cars or trucks because they are over overcompensating for something but it's not necessarily for their size. It's usually because they are not confident in themselves as a whole. It could be because they don't feel like they are tall enough, muscular enough, attractive enough but even tall, muscular, attractive guys can be insecure which leads them to driving big vehicles. It goes back to them trying to be impressive. They want to be noticed because it makes them feel better about themselves.
11 Suppressing Emotions
There is nothing wrong with a guy expressing his emotions or even crying. Frequently, men feel like they can't be in touch with their emotions because it isn't traditionally masculine. But hey, we don't live in the 1940s anymore. Gender norms are changing and masculinity is evolving. Men express themselves in all kinds of ways and they should be allowed to do so. Just because a man can express his emotions does not mean he is weak. It's possible that a guy who suppresses his emotions is insecure in his own masculinity and feels like he has to overcompensate by bottling up his feelings. Of course, it is important to respect emotional boundaries and some men choose to keep some feelings to themselves because they may have experienced trauma in the past. If that is the case, respect his boundaries.
10 Never Goes Shopping for Clothes
There's the old trope on TV and in movies that the boyfriend hates to go to the mall with his girlfriend and he usually ends up moping outside the fitting rooms while his girlfriend tries on dress after dress. It's an old, cliche trope that is not grounded in reality. Men who feel like shopping for new clothes is a feminine activity are generally insecure about their masculinity. He may have learned this from watching too much TV but he should know by now that shopping isn't emasculating and going shopping with his wife or girlfriend, even if he doesn't like shopping, is something he should do for his SO because he loves them. If your boyfriend won't go shopping with you because he thinks it's emasculating, forget him. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
9 Getting Angry When Their Masculinity is Threatened
This sort of plays on the other behaviors on the list but it should be addressed. There are a lot of guys out there who won't even buy feminine products for their girlfriends because they feel like it threatens their masculinity. If you ask your boyfriend to do something that is generally considered to be feminine and he gets angry about it, it's fair to assume that he is dealing with some insecurities. Because men are socialized to be the alpha male in every situation, it can lead to them being aggressive or angry when they are asked or required to do something that may question their prowess or dominance. These behaviors can be psychologically harmful to the man and can also lead to them being outwardly hostile against women. Part of being the alpha male also means that they are required to be dominant over women and that is something to be wary of.
8 Acting Like A Model
Strutting goes hand in hand with showing off. It may seem like an act of confidence but it is often rooted in insecurity. Man-spreading is the act of sitting in public places such as a bus, a park bench, an airplane, etc. and taking up as much space as possible. You've probably noticed guys on the bus or the train sitting next to you with their legs spread so wide that their knees veer into your personal space--while you're sitting with your legs crossed. Women are taught to take up as little space as possible while men are socialized to take up as much space as possible. Man-spreading and strutting are often seen as arrogant behaviors but they are often rooted in insecurity because, again, they don't feel confident in their own masculinity. Nobody likes an arrogant guy anyway.
7 Only Watches Action Movies
Like not going into the drug store to get female products for their girlfriend, there are many guys who refuse to watch "feminine" movies like romantic comedies or "chick flicks". However, the concept of chick flicks is outdated considering that the modern women can enjoy any genre and that goes for horror, action, drama, romance, comedies, etc. Because action movies consist of blood-pumping, testosterone-fueled scenes, they are generally intended for male audiences but women can enjoy them too. That being said, some men don't like action movies and they would rather go see a romantic comedy. Here's the thing: not all men are the same and not all women are the same. Crazy concept, right? Men who feel emasculated by watching The Notebook with you should be dumped immediately.
6 Doesn't Have Any Female Friends
The idea that men and women can't be friends is an outdated idea. Of course men and women can be friends! If one of them is interested in a romantic relationship and the other isn't, then obviously it would be difficult but if neither has any romantic feelings then it's totally possible for them to be friends without it being weird. This idea is incredibly heteronormative because it assumes that all men and women are attracted to the opposite gender. If a man says that he's never had friends who are girls and/or he can't be friends with girls then it probably means that he sees all women as objects and not as human beings. If your boyfriend has friends who are girls, it's not a bad thing! In fact it should be seen as an attractive attribute. Why? Because he is able to see women as more than just conquests--he sees them as people.
5 Fighting Other Guys
There are just some guys who are always looking for a fight. This has to do with their desire to be the dominant alpha male in every situation. The desire to be the alpha is a toxic behavior can lead to disastrous consequences. Guys who fight each other are obviously overcompensating for their insecurity and if your boyfriend is the kind of guy who gets aggressive towards a guy who's hitting on you or even your male friends, you can assume that he's insecure. For example, if you can't talk about your work day without him getting angry when you bring up male coworkers, he probably doesn't feel confident in his masculinity. That can be a dangerous situation to be in because that aggressiveness can easily be turned toward you. Be wary of a guy who always wants to fight other guys.
4 Having a Side Chick
Guys who want more than one woman are trash, plain and simple. The concept of having a "side chick" lends itself to toxic masculinity. It comes from the idea that men are not supposed to respect women and that they are supposed to spread their seed to as many women as possible. This may seem like an animalistic concept and that's because it is. It's rooted in the male instinct of all animals from dogs to lizards. However, we are much more evolved than lizards. If a man feels like he needs or deserves more than woman, you can definitely assume that he is insecure in his masculinity. He feels that he needs to be with as many women as possible because committing himself to one woman is not masculine. Cheating may make some guys feel more masculine but it really just makes them pathetic.
3 Going to the Gym Every Day
Guys with muscles may be attractive but if they're at the gym every day, it could be a problem. Sure, a guy with abs is hot but guys with muscles on top of their muscles are not so hot. What's interesting is that men who bulk up are often only complimented or noticed by other guys who also bulk up. Chances are, a guy who has giant muscles is not going to get girls fawning over his or stopping him on the street to give him their numbers. While an obsession with the gym may indicate insecurity, it also may have something to do with body dysmorphia which is a real issue. If you feel that a man in your life may be struggling with that, you should talk to him and sympathize with him and not ridicule him. However, more often than not, a guy who spends all his time at the gym is insecure in his masculinity.
2 Not Being Able to Say Another Man is Attractive
Even if a man isn't attracted to other men, he should be able to at least see other men as being attractive. This goes back to men becoming insecure and aggressive when their masculinity is threatened. The thing about toxic masculinity is that it can lead to outward aggression and that includes homophobia. A straight man should not feel that his masculinity is threatened if he is friends with a man who isn't straight. He also shouldn't feel uncomfortable around gay people and assume that they're going to hit on him and that, in some way, detracts from his own orientation. Gay guys generally don't hit on straight guys and if a straight guy is hit on by a gay guy, he should feel flattered. He is probably dealing with homophobia brought on by his own toxic masculinity. Being homophobic is not attractive.
1 Blasting Loud Music in Their Car
Men who blast loud music in their car (or rev up the engines) might as well be screaming, "Notice me! Notice me!" to anyone within earshot. Regardless of it being rude and inconsiderate, it's also pretty pathetic. When men are being loud and boisterous around women, it's like some sort of animalistic mating call or a male peacock ostentatiously showing his brightly colored feathers. That's why when men try to impress women, it's referred to as pea cocking. However, women are not birds and do not (and should not) respond to these types of displays. If a man feels the need to get your attention through catcalling you, playing loud music in his car, revving his engines, driving too fast, or anything else, you know that he doesn't have much to offer.