Hypermasculinity [hahy-per-mas-kyuh-lin-i-tee] is a psychological term for the exaggeration of male stereotypical behavior, such as an emphasis on physical strength, aggression, and sexuality . This term can be pejorative, though it is also used when examining the behavior (as adaptive or maladaptive) dispassionately.

One of the first studies of hypermasculinity was conducted by pyschologists Donald L. Mosher and Mark Sirkin in 1984. Mosher and Sirkin have operationally defined hypermasculinity or the ‘macho personality’ as consisting of the following three variables: a) ‘callous sexual attitudes toward women,’ b) ‘the belief that violence is manly,’ and c) ‘the experience of danger as exciting.’ They developed the Hypermasculinity Inventory (HMI) designed to measure the three components. Research has found that hypermasculinity is associated with sexual and physical aggression against women. Prisoners have higher hypermasculinity scores than control groups.

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