When a man hesitates to hug male friends in public or sweats at the mere thought of carrying a female friend’s purse for her, it makes you wonder how come this is such a big deal. But while we all bear different perspectives on the world around us, some of these unexplainable behaviors can reveal a way bigger picture.
People say it has to do with some men being insecure about their masculinity. How come? Well, it’s the fear of losing one's status as a “real man” in other people’s eyes, which makes the guy think he would be looked at as tenuous. There’s an old-fashioned belief that a man has to earn his status through proof of action, or a test of some sort, that makes him the man he really is. And although many men are aware of the fact that this is not how gender works, some still follow this ancient notion of manhood.
So when a TikToker @richtiktoxic asked people “What is something that men do that lets you know their insecure about their masculinity?” his video went viral with 1.1M views. “I’ll go first. As soon as a man refers to himself as an alpha, you know he’s insecure,” said Rich and passed the baton onto other people on social media who had a lot to say on the topic.
Bored Panda reached out to the author of the video named Richard, better known by his TikTok handle @rich.tik.toxic. Rich is a successful online content creator and journalist with 333.7k TikTok followers who was happy to answer some questions for us. When asked how Rich got the idea to ask people about the signs of insecure masculinity, the author said that “the video that sparked this entire debate was one created by my good friend Brittany Guzman (@_brittguz on TikTok).”
“It was a reference to a study done in the UK regarding the prevalence of sexual harassment. She encountered an incredible amount of hate comments simply for referencing a study. Men made it known they were unhappy with her bringing this data to light; so much so that at one point I think her video had 100 likes and 1000 comments,” Rich explained.
“In comparison,” he continued: “most videos have five to ten times more likes than comments. If you are not a man who sexually harasses women, why would you be triggered by this study? I realized it's because 'being a man' has become the defining characteristic of men’s self-identity.”
Rich also said that “Pointing out how problematic typical male behavior has become is perceived by men as a personal attack.” According to him, “until men can realize that their biological sex is no more than a scientific category, they’ll be unable to truly define their self-identity.”
Speaking of the answers he received, Rich said a few of them caught him by surprise, “more so because of how accurate and detailed many of the responses were. Just about all of these behaviors are the manifestation of outdated societal norms that men are told to abide by.”
“Things like driving a lifted truck, unnecessary assertions of dominance, and disliking anything feminine were common responses. Those behaviors seem so ridiculous when looked at from an objective standpoint.”
“The beauty of the time we live in is that you get to be whoever you want,” Rich said and added: “Don't do yourself the injustice of using outdated gender stereotypes and norms to create your identity. Stop putting value in the contemporary ideals of what is masculine and what is feminine.”
“Masculinity is defined,” he concluded, “as having the traits of someone who identifies as a man. If you identify as a man, you are already masculine. You get to decide what masculinity means for you.”
Rich’s TikTok audience is expanding rapidly, but he assured us that he never wanted to be an influencer. “Even calling myself an influencer feels so ridiculous. I was always the person behind the camera. I worked with a few social media celebrities when I was starting as a photographer and videographer creating viral content on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram,” the author confessed.
“However, my life's goal has always been to do everything possible to save the planet. As I got older, I started to realize that without copious amounts of money, the only way I could have a substantial impact would be to put myself both behind and in front of the camera. That's when I started utilizing everything I had learned in the years creating content for influencers for my own content.”
Rich believes that as much as virality hinges on luck, “the only people that get lucky creating viral videos are the ones actively trying to create them. Fight to get to the front of the line so you have the highest chance of actually getting what you want,” he concluded.