Hair braiding study finds that men find “womenly tasks” demeaning and rage-inducing

Pin it

braided hair

Looks like the rigid demands of gender norms piss a lot of dudes off. A study, conducted by psychologists at the University of South Florida, asked guys to braid either a woman's hair or a rope and then let them choose to either complete a puzzle or punch a bag. The guys who braided the hair mostly chose to punch. They then repeated the study and let everyone punch the bag. Once again the guys with the hair punched harder (as quantified by sensors), as if to say "Take that, you emasculating task!" And in a third test, everyone was made to braid the hair, but only half of the guys could punch the bag. The ones who didn't were significantly more anxious afterwards, left without an outlet to channel their rage. 

It's pretty lame that a guy can feel that unmanned just by playing with hair, but apparently cultural stereotypes regarding what constitutes feminine and masculine actions induce an awful lot of stress when they're transgressed, especially under coercive circumstances, as the study indicates.

While I guess a guy can feel less manly by societal standards from simply playing beauty school, it seems there are far more ways women are made to feel unwomanly. If  her confidence is mistaken for aggression, if she's sexually empowered, if she gains weight, if she grows old… it seems the list of ways women are deemed unfeminine is, sadly, seemingly endless. The cultural rigidity of gender norms needs to be shattered on both sides. In other words, don't be ashamed to do laundry, guys.