Masculinity Challenged, Men Prefer War and SUVs

Men whose masculinity is challenged become more inclined to support war or buy an SUV, a new study finds.

Their attitudes against gays change, too.

Cornell University researcher Robb Willer used a survey to sample undergraduates. Participants were randomly assigned feedback that indicated their responses were either masculine of feminine.

The women had no discernable reaction to either type of feedback in a follow-up survey.

But the guys' reactions were "strongly affected," Willer said today.

"I found that if you made men more insecure about their masculinity, they displayed more homophobic attitudes, tended to support the Iraq war more and would be more willing to purchase an SUV over another type of vehicle," said Willer said. "There were no increases [in desire] for other types of cars."

Those who had their masculinity threatened also said they felt more ashamed, guilty, upset and hostile than those whose masculinity was confirmed, he said.