Let’s all take a ride through the jungle of Hyper-masculinity to know how it affects our men and how can we help them to emerge out of this jungle safely.

Many people consider hyper-masculinity as an interchangeable term with toxic masculinity. While both of them are by due diligence of patriarchy, both have very different context and meanings.

Toxic masculinity means to use masculine traits to be abusive, hostile or to hold social power to condescend others. While on the other hand, hyper masculinity is just an very exaggerated form of masculinity, which works towards reinforcing the conventional and rigid concept of masculinity.

Taking an example, for instance you’re walking on the footpath, you see a car parked next to it, the car has a man just sitting, what’s amusing is the moment a girl passes by he cranks up his football radio or tries to loudly tinker his car so that girl can see how  masculine that man is. This in its truest form is hyper-masculinity.

Hyper-masculinity, is a sociological term denoting exaggerated forms of masculinity, virility, and physicality. With that answered, let’s trying answering few other questions to understand this concept better.

Why are we considering hyper-masculinity as a dire problem?

Every man is not the same. The individual freedom that each man is entitled to is often taken away by hyper-masculinity. It burdens them with unrealistic standards of being a man. It promotes a binary concept of gender, than what it is, fluid. In many cases it leads to violence against men, and in all cases it leads to mental harassment.

Scholars have suggested that there are three distinct characteristics associated with the hyper-masculine personality. They are-

  • The view of violence as manly
  • The perception of danger as exciting and sensational
  • Callous behaviour toward women and a regard toward emotional displays as feminine


Consider the above with these few real life examples of our own nation.

  • A 12 year old boy was beaten traumatically by his classmates for wearing a pink shirt to his classroom.
  • More than 56% of men face psychological abuse from unrealistic male expectations.
  • Almost all boys have always been told that they’re not supposed to be kind or gentle or even cry.


Hyper-masculinity enforces toxic masculinity which paves way for many social evils like rape culture, mental harassment and much more.

How have we internalized this behaviour as a society?

Hyper-masculine archetypes abound in the mass media, especially action films. There are uncountable films that features a strong, silent hero who exhibits no emotion as he dispatches his enemies. A female lead character with exaggerated “feminine” qualities is often added to accentuate the masculine traits of the hero.

The other way of internalization comes from family power dynamics. It’s imperative to realise how to raise our men. Mothers raising their son to be tough, to not allow them to play with dolls and laugh at any sensitive thing they do are the prime cause of this evil.

Often, these ideals of idol men are enforced on men of the society by their most inner circle of family and friends, making them feel maybe this is the way to be.

How can we help?

The biggest help would recognising this behaviour and calling it out. If it’s been told as wrong then are there, it will be stopped from being a norm. Calling out of people, movies even elders is the way to go.

The other way is to sensitive about it with them, this is what they’ve seen their entire lives, they would need time to realise this isn’t the way to be.

Another way could be to normalise them with them also expressing their feelings and also crying.

Hyper-masculinity isn’t a man’s problem, it’s a societal issue. It’s a burden with which most men live, and it’s time for them to break free.


Feature Image Credits: What’s wrong?

Chhavi Bahmba

[email protected]

It is time that the problematic and hyper-aggressive portrayal of what it means to be a man is effectively fought against. This narrative alienates and hurts people and society at large, irrespective of their gender and sexual orientation.

International Men’s Day is an occasion meant to raise awareness regarding the health of men and boys, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting male role models. A lot of us would wonder why we need one day to talk about the issues of men when every day of the year feels like Men’s Day. In 1966, James Brown recorded the song “This is a man’s world”, which talked about the contribution of men to modern society. The narrative in this song, one which reiterated the importance of men is still strong, more than 50 years after.

When we look at gender dynamics, men are applauded for their role in the development of modern society and the fact that women were never allowed to pursue similar activities is conveniently ignored. Sexism is a very real problem, with men at a ridiculous advantage over women, transgender and, non-binary people in terms of acceptance, freedom, and opportunities offered. The question that comes to mind is- why should a day be devoted to celebrating men when they are at an obvious advantage already? Here is why- because, as much as this planet is man’s world, the definition of what makes a man is very narrow. Heteronormative boundaries and a problematic glorification of “manliness” have hurt males just as much as it has hurt members of other genders. The likes of Don Draper and James Bond have across decades created a rigid definition of what it means to be a man. Popular culture glorifies and promotes toxic masculinity, and has increased conformity in behaviours such as misogyny, homophobia, and violence. One look at your television screen is enough to tell you how little boys from a young age are taught to objectify, disrespect, and mock anyone and everyone who isn’t a “manly man”.  Words and language like “sissy” and “no homo” promote the ideology that there is just one right way of being a man- by being a caveman-like, hyper-masculine, violent, emotionally unavailable individual with ridiculous sexual prowess who is at the top of the social hierarchy.  Take one look at the popular men on television and in films- characters like Barney Stinson, who for all his charm is a misogynistic womanizer who lies, cheats and plays by every possible trick for the sake of sexual activity. Charlie Sheen is another beloved television character who devoted his life to alcohol and objectifying women. These characters, these little jokes propagated in the name of comedy contribute to the formation of a social structure where the only men who are respected are the ones who engage in the aforementioned behaviour. Donald Trump cited his crass and vulgar interview of grabbing women by the genitalia as “locker-room” talk and a ridiculous number of his followers bought that lie, simply because his language fit into what their idea of locker room talk is.

Toxic masculinity is a deep problem that is never addressed enough. I have an acquaintance added on Facebook who responds to every joke his friends make on him on social media with a line that starts or ends with “your mom”. This is a classic case of toxic masculinity, where the only appropriate, “manly” way to respond to an insult is to bring down a woman. “Hyper-masculinity” means exaggeration of stereotypical male behaviour, such as the emphasis on physical strength, aggression, etc.  Glorification of hyper-masculinity undermines ever male who does not fit into its narrow definition.

This November 19th, we need to talk about such issues. I have seen innumerable body-positivity and well-being pages aimed at women and not one-tenth of such pages aimed at men. Toxic masculinity is so deep-rooted and powerful, that the idea that men need positive reminders, hope and encouragement is largely forgotten by most of us.  Transgender men, gay men, or men who do not fit into the narrow definition of masculinity are unfortunately marginalised. Their problems and issues aren’t talked about, their existence often ridiculed and mocked. Most of the posts that I have seen regarding men facing sexual assault too, or being victims in domestic relationships, are in response to women talking about their hardships and subjugation. The “men get harassed, stalked, raped too” statement is all too common, meant to undermine a woman, transgender or non-binary individual talking about a form of violence they have faced. It is time we remove the “too” from this statement. Instead of saying “men get assaulted too” when women talk about harassment; let’s start saying things like “men get harassed”, “men are stalked”, “men can be victims”, period. The problematic “too” at the end of these sentences, aimed to silence the voices of those trying to talk about their struggles needs to be discarded.  Conversations regarding male subjugation should not be treated as a method to silence the voices of those trying to talk about their problems. If male-rights activists wish to gain authenticity and respect, they need to move from their narrative of “XYZ happens to men too” and need to start talking about issues that affect men. This International Men’s Day and on all subsequent days to follow, may we be able to identify, target, and effectively dismantle toxic masculinity, all the while creating a wider definition of masculinity that is accepting of all men irrespective of their height, physical appearance, the amount of sexual activity they engage in, or how they choose to identify themselves amongst all the sexual orientations out there.


Feature Image Credits: Time For An Awakening

Kinjal Pandey

[email protected]