To sell a mammoth SUV or the unprovoked invasion of a country to a man the best technique is to question his masculinity. Cornell University researchers reported in Science that they tested the effect of insecurity on men's attitudes by giving a survey on gender identity to about 50 men. The men were then told that an analysis of the survey showed that they exhibited "weak" male characteristics, that their attitudes were effeminate.
The researchers then surveyed men's attitudes toward politics, homosexuals, and car purchases, comparing them with a group of men whose masculinity had not been questioned. The threatened men were more likley to support the war in Iraq, more likely to oppose gay marriage and denounce gays, and more likely to express a desire to buy an SUV. In fact, they were so eager to buy an SUV that they said they'd be willing to pay up to $7,000 more for the vehicle than were men in the other group.
"Masculinity-threatened men also reported feeling more ashamed, guilty, upset and hostile," said lead researcher Robb Willer.The study found that women didn't change their attitude when told their attitudes were masculine.