Hypermasculinity: When Masculinity Turns Toxic

Hypermasculinity has been around for centuries. Much like feminism for females, it is thrust onto men at an early age. Young boys are teased by their peers for crying “unnecessarily.” Jests of playing sports like a girl and being oversensitive are part of every boy’s childhood. We as a society breed hypermasculinity into our male children and then act surprised when these hypermasculine characteristics are present later on in life.

Not until a man realizes that it’s okay to cry, feel, and like non-manly things can he be free of this societal influence. In this article, we will take a look at what hypermasculinity is, what happens when that masculinity turns toxic and how hypermasculinity differs from being an alpha male. Finally, we will take a look at how all three of these qualities affect dating.

close up of angry hypermasculine bearded man
The Face of a Hypermasculine Man

Defining Hypermasculinity

Encyclopedia Britannica defines hypermasculinity as a sociological term denoting exaggerated forms of masculinity, virility, and physicality. Essentially hypermasculinity is avoiding all things that are perceived to be feminine and exaggerating manly qualities.

There are four main defining characteristics of someone who has a hypermasculine personality. First, a hypermasculine individual typically views violence as manly. Second, they perceive danger as exciting or exhilarating. Third, they exhibit callous behavior towards women. Finally, they regard emotional displays as feminine.

How to Tell if You Are Hypermasculine

If you are sitting at home in your favorite recliner, watching a boxing match, drinking a beer, and cussing up a storm while your wife or girlfriend is cleaning the house or cooking dinner, then chances are you are at least partially hypermasculine.

If this is your typical weekend evening it does not necessarily mean that you are hypermasculine. You are only hypermasculine if you are performing these actions to seem more manly. You might inherently love beer and boxing and your wife or girlfriend might love to clean. The key here is the reason why you are performing these actions.

Let’s break down this situation to demonstrate how someone performing these actions can be perceived as hyper-masculine. You’ve probably chosen a beer because you’ve been taught from a young age that beer is a manly drink. To drink anything else would be considered feminine.

You are watching boxing because you enjoy the exhilaration of the violence and are picturing yourself as the dominating force in the ring.

You are cussing loudly to hide any sympathy you might feel for the damage the two fighters are doing to each other or any fear you might feel from imagining yourself in a similar situation. All the while, you are disregarding your wife or girlfriend’s needs or wants while they pick up the mess in the house.

Hypermasculine men also tend to objectify women. They see them as an object there to please them and tend to disregard their feelings.

What to Do If You Are Hypermasculine

Preferring things that are traditionally male or even exhibiting a few hypermasculine traits is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. It is when you take these male characteristics too far and won’t acknowledge emotion or treat non-male qualities with a disregard that it becomes hypermasculinity.

Therefore, enjoying sports, going hunting, or even demonstrating your physical superiority isn’t a bad thing in itself. If you notice yourself exhibiting hypermasculine traits consider if you are taking it too far and make sure to acknowledge your emotions and feeling instead of pushing them away.

Hypermasculinity vs Toxic Masculinity

While hypermasculinity is seen as an annoyance or a negative quality, toxic masculinity is downright dangerous. Toxic masculinity is when the negative qualities of masculinity become extreme. It is often associated with misogyny, homophobia, sexual assault, and domestic violence.

Hypermasculinity typically turns into toxic masculinity often after years of emotional repression. It’s usually spurred by depression, increased stress, and substance abuse. It is the result of societal pressure that having or acknowledging your emotions is considered to be girlish or feminine.

angry husband arguing with his wife while holding a cigarette and a drink
Angry Man Arguing With His Wife

Signs of Toxic Masculinity

The signs of toxic masculinity are often easy to spot, but hard for the individual exhibiting the signs to self-identify or even acknowledge. Some of the indicators of toxic masculinity in a man are:

  • Showing aggression or physical harm towards a partner
  • Extreme homophobia
  • Being prone to anger or violence
  • Substance abuse
  • Having to be in control of one’s emotions at all times
  • Always having to win an argument or never admitting that they are in the wrong

A relationship with someone who is exhibits signs of toxic masculinity and is unsafe. These types of relationships can often lead to sexual assault or domestic violence due to the male’s disregard for the woman that he is with.

What to Do If You Are Exhibiting Signs

If you are exhibiting signs of toxic masculinity it is best to stay out of a relationship for the safety of yourself and your potential partner. Since those who exhibit signs of toxic masculinity often have underlying mental health issues. It is best to go see a therapist and work out the circumstances behind this issue. Once you have addressed the underlying cause of the issue it is okay to start dating again.

Hypermasculinity vs Being an Alpha Male

While Hypermasculinity and being an alpha male are closely linked, being an alpha male leans more towards dominance than someone who is hypermasculine. For example, a hypermasculine male may drink whiskey, because it’s a manly drink, while an alpha male will only drink 21-year-old Glenlivet because it is perceived as the best whiskey.

Alpha males are often territorial and will often get jealous of anyone that they perceive as a threat. They have to be the best and have the best of absolutely everything, nothing else will do.

Signs That You Are An Alpha Male

While some people regard being an alpha male as a positive quality, the only people who actually believe that are probably alpha males. Of course, it’s a good thing to have confidence and be sure about your decision-making, but alpha males take it a step further.

If you find that you are often jealous of people who have things that are nicer than you or overly protective of your property or a woman that you date, you are probably an alpha male. If you are a sore loser or cannot rest until you have the fanciest car or nicest watch, then you are likely an alpha male.

What To Do If You Are an Alpha Male

Being an alpha male is not dangerous like toxic masculinity, but you can come off as arrogant or aloof. While certain aspects, like confidence and success, of being an alpha male should be maintained it is important to acknowledge when you are going too far.

If you find yourself getting angry about losing or over-protective over a random stranger talking to your girlfriend take a step back and consider if either situation is a real threat to your wellbeing. It’s impossible to have the best of everything in life so focus on the things that are important to you and settle for mediocrity on things that are not important.

How Hypermasculinity, Toxic Masculinity & Being an Alpha Male Effect Dating

Let’s face it none of these personalities are great for someone who is looking to share their life with a partner. All three of these personalities are defined by men who are self-centered and demonstrate a disregard for the needs of a female partner. Let’s take a look at how each personality type affects dating individually.


While hypermasculinity might seem appealing at first to a woman due to a male exhibiting “manly” characteristics, it often ends poorly. Those in a relationship with a hypermasculine male often tend to conform to gender norms and resent each other for it. In this modern age, females are not content with playing the role of housewife, and males are expected to do more than just earn money. Therefore, hypermasculine males either change their ways or the relationship comes to a bitter end.

Toxic Masculinity

As mentioned earlier, it is not recommended that a male exhibiting signs of toxic masculinity enter into a relationship. The emotional frustration and unwillingness to change often lead to sexual abuse or domestic violence.

Alpha Males

Alpha males can be attractive to women who crave confidence in a man. However, alpha males often get jealous easily, are over-protective, or can even be controlling when entering into a relationship. They often do not want women to spend time with anyone but themselves and this lack of trust often ends poorly.

The Silver Lining

While these personality types are not great for relationships, the great news is that there is still time to change. No one is perfect and now that you have the tools necessary to identify if you fit into one of these personality types, you can start making the change. Ultimately, if you put in the time to build on the best qualities of these personality types and get rid of the bad traits you will find yourself in more successful and meaningful relationships.

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