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Small wonder then that many people confuse “being a man” with “bullying”.

This sort of behavior – where displays of “dominance” are equated with manliness – is wonderfully exemplified by the conservative media; Fox News, for example the idea of “traditional” masculinity and its attendant values, continually trying to demean progressives by comparing them to women.

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To be a man – having the biggest, clanging-est of brass balls – means to be Billy Bad-Ass, a scotch-swilling, meat-eating ball of testosterone-powered swagger.

And yet, if traditional masculinity is defined by anything, it’s by No, I’m not trolling. I’ve written about the fragility of masculinity before and how easily one’s manhood can be “taken away” and the reactions that fear causes in men.

This need to continually reaffirm one’s masculine credentials means that you literally cannot relax; you are forever in danger of having your own man-card taken away by other men.

It creates a culture where the need to assert power over others is all-important, even when those others are just glowing phosphors on a monitor.

But team sports like hockey, football, soccer or baseball just leave me cold. That jock/nerd divide, however, also depends heavily on ideas of masculinity; jocks are seen as inherently more masculine than geeks because of the emphasis on athleticism and aggressive attitudes and forceful behavior.

Jocks, we are told, are “alpha males”, the dominant of the pack.

Moreover, men whose masculine identity was threatened were found to feel more guilty, ashamed and – critically – writes something vaguely critical about men or masculinity, the reflexive response is almost always for men to lash out.

Witness the hue and cry every time Antia Sarkeesian releases a new Tropes vs.

Women video; the response isn’t a nuanced discussion about the the nature of fiction, the complex history of how women have been portrayed in media and literature, and the external forces that lead to companies marketing games exclusively to men, it’s a bunch of angry voices screaming about how Sarkeesian doesn’t know anything, that she’s a bitch, that she needs to get laid (and can’t because who would have her…

reinforcing the idea that the ultimate insult to a woman is to deny that she is sexually desirable) and all the horrifying things that they’d like to do to her. Men who are critical of masculine behavior rarely get as violently harassed, but certainly face their share of backlash by people who want to dismiss and diminish them.

presumably by letting them be provoked into throwing down.

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