In 2017, the “Soy Boy” meme went viral. The Soy Boy was a feminine and physically weak man, with the idea taken from the belief that products containing soy increased estrogen levels and, so, made men more effeminate. In that left-wing males were clearly more likely to virtue-signal with their food via being vegetarian and even vegan, “Soy Boy” soon became a term that was deployed against left-wing men [‘Soy boys’ is the far-right’s newest favorite insult, by Jay Hathaway, Daily Dot, October 27, 2017].
Well, now we have proof in a yet-to-be published psychological study that leftist men are insecure about their masculinity, and, when challenged about it, they channel that insecurity into support for politically aggressive public policies.
Before getting to that, it’s worth observing that leftists responded to the Soy Boy meme the way we would expect:
Here’s hoping “soy” will take the same path as “cuck,” become widely known, and will be used to take the piss by the very people labelled “soy boys” in the first place. Because really, who cares if you’re called “soy” if all it means is “not meeting guidelines of masculinity defined by alt-right trolls who appear to be terrified of all things feminine??
[What is a Soy Boy?, by Ellen Scott, The Metro, October 28, 2017]
As William Shakespeare would say, methinks the lady doth protest too much. It’s as if the Woke, on the rare occasions that they’re honest with themselves, know that Woke males are relatively feminine; as if Woke males are “insecure about their masculinity.”
They certainly should be. Leftist men are shorter, less muscular, and weaker in the upper body than conservatives:
But forget that and think about this: Leftists support politically aggressive policies and politicians because they are weak.
A study by New York University’s Sarah DiMuccio and Eric Knowles found, as their pithy title makes clear, that threats to masculinity evoke aggression in leftist men but not conservatives [Something to Prove? Manhood Threats Increase Political Aggression Among Liberal Men, Psyarxiv Preprints, The Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science, October 22, 2022]. “Cognitive dissonance”—being confronted with unpalatable truths, especially those that undermine one’s positive self-perception—causes an aggressive response [A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, by Leon Festinger, 1957].
DiMuccio and Knowles found that chronic masculine insecurity and political aggression—“supporting candidates that communicate toughness and strength”— are related. Until now, researchers had not explored whether it is leftist or conservative men who are more likely to act aggressively in response to slights on their masculinity. The study also explores the nature of “masculinity” and why it can be threatened. A girl becomes a woman because she grows up; a boy becomes a man through rituals that prove his masculinity. Being a real “man” is an ongoing struggle; so there is little worse, for some men, than having their masculinity questioned.
“Politics is an especially appealing avenue through which men can express aggression and thus reaffirm their masculinity,” the two wrote:
First, because it impacts millions of people, the political domain is highly consequential and therefore can provide a heightened sense of power and influence. Second, politics enables male voters to signal their masculinity vicariously, through support for politicians and political positions that most evince masculine traits of toughness, risk-taking, and aggression. Third, displaying aggression through politics can be an effective way of proving manliness without violating social norms against physical violence.
One would expect, they write, that conservatives are more prone to back politically aggressive candidates or public policies, meaning the death penalty or military action, because they are, indeed, more masculine than leftists.
Their own work “shows that masculine anxiety predicts a wide range of aggressive political beliefs.” But then, they say, not so fast:
One must be cautious about claiming that masculinity anxiety causes aggressive political views. The reverse causal pattern is possible; for instance, it may be that endorsing aggressive policies and candidates serves to highlight associated notions of manhood, thus priming men’s concerns about their own masculinity. [Emphasis added]
Thus, the two conducted three experiments to find out.
First, men were essentially told that they were feminine. Second, they were told to paint their nails as part of an important scientific experiment. Third, they were led to believe that they were physically weak. After that, the researchers asked the men to react to hypothetical political scenarios, for instance, by listening to “a foreign policy vignette.” That enabled DiMuccio and Knowles to rate how aggressive the ideas they advocated were. Those results were paired with scores on an earlier test about how conservative or liberal they were.
The result was this:
Our findings run directly counter to our initial prediction as to which men—liberals or conservatives—would be most affected by masculinity threat. Although we hypothesized that conservative men would increase in political aggression after masculinity threat, they did not; instead, across our three experiments, it was liberal men who exhibited politically-aggressive reactions to manhood threat. [Emphasis added]
For a number of reasons, the authors hypothesized that conservatives would react more aggressively when their masculinity was attacked.
Conservative policies are tougher and less compassionate than leftist policies, and conservatives tend to hold more traditional beliefs about sex roles. Earlier, the researchers had “found that men whose manhood had been challenged were more supportive of Donald Trump, and that this effect was mediated by the desire for a more masculine president.”
DiMuccio and Knowles were rather surprised to find their experiments completely overturned this hypothesis. All three showed that leftists became markedly more politically aggressive than conservatives when they perceived a threat to their masculinity.
Surprisingly, the authors completely failed to understand why they found what they found. In their “General Discussion” section they suggested a number of reasons:
The simplest explanation for all this—which I’ve explored many times—is that leftists are more neurotic than conservatives. That’s why they suffer more from depression and might be more aggressive. They are also less altruistic and more impulsive, which would also make them more aggressive.
Strong negative feelings include envy and insecurity, so they desire power—they are Machiavellian—and attempt to achieve it covertly because they are insecure and anxious about fighting and instead prefer virtue-signalling. They are high in narcissism, so they deal with intense negative feelings by creating a false perfect self. Thus, telling a leftist he isn’t masculine invites aggression because he experiences cognitive dissonance.
Amusingly, the authors’ findings were unwelcome, and instead of suggesting that leftists grow a pair, stop consuming soy, and act like men, they recommended undermining masculinity more than our increasingly feminized—and feminist—society already has:
A challenge for the future is to inoculate all men from chronic and acute masculine insecurity—perhaps through concerted efforts to combat societal stereotypes and sex roles that limit what it means to be a “real man.”
What maudlin nonsense. The study should have concluded what the authors surely know but cannot admit because it would concede that the stereotype is true. Leftist men are insecure about their masculinity, and become aggressive when it’s questioned, because they are more insecure and more aggressive in general, which is what makes them leftists in the first place.
Lance Welton [email him] is the pen name of a freelance journalist living in New York.