35 “Hot Masculinity Takes” That Are So Wrong, They Had To Be Shamed On This Twitter Page (New Posts)
What does it mean to be a "real" man? Well, masculinity is one of those topics everyone has an opinion on, as gender norms remain a delicate subject that tends to spark heated debates online. And even though public attitudes are becoming more accepting in many ways, stereotypical patterns of masculine behavior are still deeply rooted in our society — according to the age-old cliché of the masculine guy, men are expected to be strong, brave, and dominant.
But in reality, when people are telling everyone that a macho man doesn't cry, takes risks, makes money, fears nothing, and — heaven forbid! — never shows any signs of emotional vulnerability, it can spark some pretty warped ideas about manhood.
Thanks to one illuminating corner of Twitter called 'Hot Masculinity Takes,' we get to see a galore of absurd cases when this happens online. "Welcome to the Alpha Zone," says the account’s description, and you already know it’s gonna be a wild ride. So continue scrolling to check out the absolutely ridiculous opinions about men on the Internet, and don’t miss the chat we had about masculinity with licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Jesse Matthews right below.
Psst! After you’re done with this list, more madness awaits in Part 1 of this feature right here.
It’s hard to avoid encountering the term toxic masculinity these days. But as the person behind the account, who preferred to stay anonymous, told my colleague Rokas in a previous interview, this social media project is not purely about that. The philosophy of the page is to post the takes and let people make their own conclusions. "I do draw a lot from the manosphere but a lot of the takes are from women speaking about men, and I include left-wing hot takes too," the creator added.
A brief scroll through the list proves that harmful stereotypes about what it means to be a man are abundant in today’s society. But what exactly urges people to share their absurd statements without any second thought? And how can these ideas affect men seeking out their masculine identity?
To gain more insight on the topic from an expert, we reached out to Dr. Jesse Matthews, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist based in Chester Springs, PA. According to him, ideas about masculinity have become quite polarized in our society.
"As masculinity has moved away from the 'manly man' or 'tough guy' definitions, many people have not only clung to these stereotypes, but they have made them more extreme," Dr. Matthews told Bored Panda. This usually stems from people rejecting the changing views, and "social media in particular creates echo chambers for this, with various influencers carrying the flags for those who identify with their views."
While we all bear different perspectives on the world around us, masculinity especially can be a very deep rabbit hole with a variety of different viewpoints. But Dr. Matthews raised an important question: why do these ideas matter so much to people?
"Obviously, it’s part of life for any guy or anyone who identifies with masculinity, but the obsession with being a 'real man' is more based in insecurity. The person essentially needs to ensure that they present a masculine enough identity to avoid judgment or being called out as not masculine by other guys," the psychologist explained.
Men who are insecure about their manliness exhibit behavior that is often exaggerated and even caricature-like. But Dr. Matthews says there’s also irony at play here. "Many of these individuals would tell you that being a real man means just doing your thing and not caring about what anyone thinks about it. However, one can’t simultaneously obsess over portraying an ultramasculine image, yet claim to be unconcerned about judgment. It just doesn’t compute."
Hypermasculinity — or toxic masculinity as it’s usually called — is also based on the false belief that masculinity needs to be saved, Dr. Matthews argued. "In the same way that some people seem to be afraid that racism or homophobia might one day die out. So they embrace stereotypes, or how they think things 'should' be or were in 'the good old days.'"
But putting men (half of the world’s population!) in a box can seriously harm their well-being. "It’s limiting at best, and at worst it leads people to play into these stereotypes." For example, hypermasculinity often makes people act in ways "that are sexist or homophobic, or at least not challenging others on this kind of behavior."
"It also has the power to create toxic environments, uncomfortable for women or men viewed as not masculine, and of course to lead to situations involving sexual assault," Dr. Matthews continued. "As well, if these men carry on these thoughts and behaviors through adulthood, they may pass them down to their children or other young people they come into contact with, like kids they are teaching, coaching, and so on."
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), instilling elements of traditional masculinity into men and boys can be psychologically harmful, as it has been shown to limit their development, constrain their behavior, and result in gender role conflict. What’s more, it can negatively influence their mental and physical health.
For men who try to seek out their identity and find a healthy relationship with their inner guy, these societal pressures and expectations can be especially burdensome. "It can be hard for people to stand out or to be seen as going against those around them. For example, a male raised in a family or in a community with traditional masculine stereotypes may find it hard to explore or adopt a less stereotyped identity," Dr. Matthews said, adding the person is likely to be criticized, punished, or excluded for it.
Unfortunately, most people who are raised in stereotyped environments tend to internalize those behavior patterns. Psychologist Matthews explained this happens because they don’t know anything else and it feels right to them, or they feel pressure to fit in.
"This can mean demonstrating extreme or toxic masculinity, as not only could one fit in that way, but he could be praised or more highly valued in the group for it." And, alarmingly, "in places like prisons where this applies, it could actually help you to survive."
Extreme views like the painfully ridiculous ones featured on 'Hot Masculinity Takes' are rarely a positive thing. But as the modern world now teaches us, the subject matter is much less black-and-white.
"Masculinity is not simply the opposite of femininity, just as it is not synonymous with heterosexuality," Dr. Matthews noted. "Many people today see being masculine as being calm and controlled vs angry and reactive, being a good problem solver rather than one who relies on brute force to solve everything, or standing up for other people or what’s right vs trying to control or overpower others."
What people see as healthy masculinity may differ, but generally, we can all foster it by not judging other people. "This means not being worried about what other men are doing and giving people the space to be themselves," Dr. Matthews added. "We can all do what we want to do and believe what we want to believe. Masculinity isn’t going anywhere, so people don’t need to try to be the protectors of it or to act in stereotyped ways to let people know they exist."
Many men in Dr. Matthews’s practice have never gone to therapy before, and some wouldn't even be expected to be found in a psychologist’s office at first glance. But they are sure glad they did. "This idea of what it really means to be a man and the positive and negative ways in which they have lived this is a frequent topic of conversation."
"I would encourage anyone concerned with issues of identity, including ideas about masculinity, to start reflecting on it in some kind of organized way. Don’t just watch videos by your favorite IG or Tik Tok influencers, but start journaling, reading books, or going and seeing a therapist. It really can change your life," Dr. Matthews concluded.
Note: this post originally had 75 images. It’s been shortened to the top 35 images based on user votes.