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5 Signs Your Boyfriend Might Be Struggling with Fragile Masculinity

A deep explainer to the fragile masculinity

fragile masculinity
Crazy Rich Asians

“A man does not cry,” “a man must be in control”, and many lines that we hear on a daily basis. Traditional norms often challenge the notion of masculinity. Men are encouraged to embrace vulnerability, express their emotions, and reject outdated stereotypes. However, some men may find this transition challenging, leading to what is often termed as “fragile masculinity.” Fragile masculinity refers to an exaggerated sense of masculinity that is easily threatened by anything perceived as feminine or weak. If you suspect your boyfriend might be struggling with fragile masculinity, here are five signs to watch out for.


Men who grapple with fragile masculinity often feel the need to overcompensate for any behavior or trait they perceive as weak or feminine. This can manifest in exaggerated displays of strength, aggression, or dominance. For instance, your boyfriend might constantly boast about his physical prowess, engage in risky behaviors to prove his bravery, or belittle others to assert his superiority. These actions are often driven by insecurity and the fear of being emasculated.

fragile masculinity
Movie: Revolutionary Road


They say: “A man does not cry.” Vulnerability is often seen as a sign of weakness in traditional masculine norms. Men conditioned by fragile masculinity may avoid expressing vulnerability or emotions, fearing it will undermine their masculinity. Your boyfriend might find it challenging to open up about his feelings, struggles, or insecurities. He might dismiss emotional conversations or resort to anger or defensiveness when confronted with his vulnerabilities. This avoidance of vulnerability can strain relationships and hinder emotional intimacy.


Men influenced by fragile masculinity tend to adhere rigidly to traditional gender roles and stereotypes. They may believe that certain activities, interests, or behaviors are exclusively masculine, while others are strictly feminine. Your boyfriend might mock or ridicule anything he perceives as “girly” or “unmanly,” such as enjoying romantic comedies, cooking, or expressing empathy. Minor acts like calling for the waiter at a restaurant instead of him, offering to pay, or not letting him drive your car sometimes may trigger the fragile masculinity in him.


Fragile masculinity often leads to insecurity. Men who struggle with their masculinity may feel threatened when they go out with their girlfriend 


A hallmark of fragile masculinity is the resistance to self-reflection and personal growth. Men trapped in this mindset may perceive any acknowledgment of flaws or weaknesses as a threat to their masculinity. Your boyfriend might resist therapy, self-help resources, or constructive criticism, fearing it will undermine his sense of self. This resistance to growth can lead to stagnation in personal development and strain relationships as communication breaks down.

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