Men in groups can behave much differently than when alone. Purveyors of pseudo-masculinity use social pressure to create a problem, and then offer the cure.
If you’ve ever been to a strip club on a weekend night, you have likely witnessed a mouth-breathing, hyper-masculinized, and liquored-up bachelor party. It’s why I loathed working weekends as a stripper. In fact, in the latter years of my career, I avoided them altogether if it could be helped. I made it through more than twenty years as an adult entertainer, and maybe surprisingly, I didn’t come away hating men. But it wasn’t because of these kinds of guys. It was in spite of them.
The strip club is arguably the place for sexist and crude behavior. But most men don’t behave that way. Even when faced with a gaggle of naked women. I am aware that it is the accepted stereotype that men revert to their lizard brains in such an environment. However, that is simply not my experience in the majority of cases.
Guys in a group, like a work or a bachelor party, can behave vastly different than when they are by themselves—naked boobs or not. When I have had the opportunity to separate one of these “neanderthals” from their tribe, their behavior changes almost instantly.
Let me caveat. Some guys are the misogynistic creeps they appear to be, whether with their friends, their mothers, or one on one. But, the vast majority of guys just aren’t that.
It’s not immediately obvious in that situation. Very often, when I would take a man away from his friends and back to the private lap dance booth, the change could be instantaneous. A reverse Jekyll and Hyde scenario. Where the monster they appeared to be moments before, gave way to a kind, gentle, and real human being. Sure, the sexual element complicated that just a little, but the caveman façade crumbled.
Male shame and pseudo-masculinity
The phenomena I witnessed wasn’t something I had a grasp of outside of a layman’s understanding of psychology. I knew that they were obviously trying to impress their friends. It was the why that wasn’t completely clear. And it wasn’t until I quit dancing and became involved with the secular community that I learned it.
Raised Catholic or sort of Catholic as I was, I was familiar with the shame around sex and the female body. It wasn’t until I became a stripper, that I started to understand that men face shame around the female body and sex as well.
The flip side of the shame that is put upon women is that men are supposed to behave a certain way around women. Particularly around women such as strippers, who are expected to be ashamed of themselves according to the religious and even some secular people.
In short, to be a real man means to be a total dick to women who refuse to be shamed for their sexual expression or bodies.
The irony in this whole social construct is that kind of behavior isn’t attractive to most women. Successful partnerships require compassion, openness, and respect. But if you listen to some of the most prominent masculinity-promoting male podcasters, YouTubers, and authors, that just isn’t manly.
Unbeknownst to their followers, these purveyors of pseudo-masculinity use a well-known sales tactic. They use social pressure to create a problem and then offer the cure. Anything from supplements to books to long-winded rants on podcasts and videos.
“Masculinity is dying!” they proclaim and then proceed to explain why their audience isn’t enough of a man.
It isn’t unlike the health and wellness Live, laugh, love gurus, who use unrealistic media depictions of slender bodies. And the saccharine-sweet smiles of models who appear to have everything to push their own books and podcasts. It’s how we ended up with Dr. Oz, Goop, and… religion.
When people are removed from the peer pressure to act like they think they are expected to, the whole con falls apart. The façade shatters and you are left with just a regular human being.