Liberal men who experience threats to their masculinity tend to become more supportive of a wide range of aggressive political policies and behaviors, according to new research published in the scientific journal Sex Roles. However, this effect was not observed among conservative men who experienced threats to their masculinity.
This study was motivated by the observation that there is an increase in political aggression, characterized by the use of harsh and demeaning language in debates, the coarsening of language in political communication, and a growing tolerance for political violence. This aggressive behavior is not limited to any particular political ideology but can be observed among both right-wing and left-wing individuals.
The researchers noticed that this political aggression is often associated with male politicians and citizens. They proposed that this rise in aggression could be linked to the concept of “precarious manhood” or “fragile masculinity.” In other words, men who feel insecure about their masculinity may be more likely to support aggressive political attitudes and behaviors as a way to reaffirm their sense of manhood.