Men Are Fragile and Do Not Need Your Common Courtesies, Says Science

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Holding the door open for a man lowers their self-esteem and self-confidence compared to those who open the door themselves, a recent study has found. Yes, men really are that fragile. Simple courtesies for your fellow man are slowly breaking his spirit.

A man holding the door open lowered the self-esteem of other
men, but not women. (via)

The study by Purdue University researchers, which appeared in Taylor & Francis Online and was highlighted by Pacific Standard magazine on Monday, mixed a field study with a self-reported survey to come to the results. In the experiment, researchers walked with a subject into a building with a double door. In half, the researcher opened the door for the subject; in the other half, both opened their own door at about the same time. In follow-up questions, men who had the door opened for them reported a lower self-esteem and self-confidence than men who opened it themselves. Women did not show any significant response to this traumatizing experience.

The fragility of manly egos has been shown in other studies related to how men react to mild emasculation. A study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, for example, found that male self-esteem dropped when men were told their wives performed better on a test than they did. Being told they were outsmarted and in the less-superior position had a real effect on their confidence. Women were not affected either way. The door-holding authors noticed that same effect. "This work also finds that brief, seemingly inconsequential but unexpected helping behavior that violates gender norms can have unforeseen negative consequences," they write.

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The studies' conclusions are clear: helping a man in a way that is culturally understood as only for women hurts our feelings. Taking this into mind, here are some things that you should no longer do to your dude friends.

  • Hold the door open – duh.
  • Pull a chair out to sit in — Men would rather sit on the floor.
  • Offer a coat in the cold — So what if you properly prepared for the Polar Vortex and he just wore a light sweatshirt? They can handle the cold; they cannot handle your attempt at kindness.
  • Help them up from the floor — You did not just see them fall on the ice and they can pick themselves up thank you very much.
  • Defend him from attacking wolvesFrozen was wrong.

(Top image: michaeljung via Shutterstock)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.