It’s not hard to find a reference to masculinity and penis size. In North America, and many cultures across the world, there is a pre-occupation with the concept that a larger penis means more masculinity and power. Many insults, as well as compliments, play into this idea. We hear it when people criticize a person for their actions by suggesting they have a small dick. Or when someone has done something brave that others admire, they are referred to as “having some serious balls”. It’s highly ingrained in our language and perspectives but where did this link come from? And what implications does it have for our overall happiness?
Masculinity & Penis Size: Why Are We Stuck On This Idea?
The link between masculinity & penis size rests on a few key ideas. Traditionally masculinity is often associated with strength and aggression. People who have these traits can be seen of as “more of a man”. From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense why our thoughts about masculinity evolved this way. In the history of our species, stronger and more aggressive males would have been able to defend and provide for their mates and any children. Evolution has favored this aggression by allowing their genetic traits to be passed on to future generations.
When we look at the animal kingdom we see other examples of this in action. It is well noted among the different species of apes that those who have larger testicles are more highly aggressive than the apes who do not. Research suggests that this is because the larger testicles also come with higher levels of testosterone. Testosterone is responsible for many things in the bodies of men. It regulates the sex drive, fat distribution within the body, muscle mass, strength, bone mass, as well as the production of sperm and red blood cells.
All the things that testosterone controls are linked to common and traditional ideas of what masculinity looks like. So if we think about it, makes a certain amount of sense that we would associate larger penises with masculinity.
How Does This Impact Us in the Modern Day?
Evolution happens slowly and over long periods of time. Thanks to the development of culture and technology, things are not impacted in the same way. Natural selection evolution does not have the same hold over humanity in the way it did in the history of our species. Our society has changed us and how we interact but we are still dancing to the tune of evolution based on centuries before us. It is not necessary for men to be hunters, protectors, and providers. So where does that leave us?
With the evolutionary drive still present but no outlet for its original purpose, the outlet for it has changed. In some ways, this change has not done us any favors. The traditional ideas of strength and aggression end up being expressed in other ways.
In our modern day world, masculinity can be easily and often called into question. Many men feel the need to prove their prowess and strength. No one wants to be seen as less or diminutive. Often this need ends up being expressed through aggression and violence. In many cultures, there is a high level of violence from men towards men as well as other groups. Male perpetuated violence is a serious problem. It’s also a problem that impacts everyone, not just men.
How Does All This Impact Male Security?
Many men worry about the size of their penis. There is a whole industry centered around quick fix ways to convince men that they can make their penis larger even though many of them don’t work. Some forms of erectile dysfunction are rooted in feelings of inadequacy and anxiety over penis size.
The traditional ideas of masculinity create a fragile sense of ego for many men. Some men can’t handle any perceived challenges to their masculinity. Other men suffer from low self-esteem and self-worth because they don’t see themselves as masculine at all.
The difficult thing about both these situations is that traditional ideas of masculinity don’t give men a way to ask for help. If a man is struggling with mental health, self-esteem, or body dimorphism not only are there fewer resources available but the guy in question may be less likely to reach out. They may see seeking help as a further blow to their sense of masculinity. So how do we help men overcome these challenges?
Many traditional ideas and concepts that we have held onto as a society were created by past generations. They continued to be passed along through generations often because people see it as the way things have always been. The problem with this is that these traditions were created in a time when things were totally different. It may have made sense then but does it make sense now? Does the hunter/gatherer perspective of masculinity make sense in today’s age?
We need to re-evaluate what we think of masculinity and what it means. As a society, we are already starting to re-think some of these concepts. Acknowledging the existence of toxic masculinity is one way we have begun to explore new concepts and ways of thinking about masculinity.
By exploring these new ideas we can redefine what makes sense for masculinity in today’s world. We can give men the freedom and rights to express their emotions without being seen as less masculine. We can give men the freedom to accept help for mental and emotional problems. All of these things will eventually lead to less male perpetrated violence.
Don’t Get Too Hung Up on Masculinity & Penis Size
The link between masculinity & penis size is something many of us were raised with. One of the wonderful things about getting older is the ability to develop critical thinking skills and challenge the status quo. Just because something has always been a certain way doesn’t mean that it’s right. Don’t be afraid to challenge your own assumptions.
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