If you thought toxic masculinity couldn’t get any worse, think again – being sleep-deprived is now considered a “manly” quality.
According to research published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, a combination of six studies have found that “sleeping less is related to increased perceptions of masculinity, and increased masculinity is related to decreased perceived sleep amounts”.
As well as this, “based on how much they sleep, men face social judgements favouring men who sleep less”.
Men who got less sleep were viewed as being less assertive, individualistic, and goal-oriented, and these judgements also caused men to judge themselves by this stereotype as well.
One of the studies asked men how it felt to say the words “I sleep a lot more than the average person”, and found that they felt significantly less “manly” than those who were asked to say the words “I sleep a lot less than the average person”.
Once again, toxic masculinity has proved to be just that.
“Inadequate sleep has been connected to a wide range of detrimental physical, mental, and social health outcomes, including increased instances of heart attack, diabetes, depression, and interpersonal violence,” researchers Nathan Warren and Troy Campbell wrote.
They added: “Men often choose to ‘tough it out’ by avoiding feminine associations with health care.
“Despite the severe consequences for men’s health, demonstrating stoic toughness allows men to display stereotypically masculine and agentic traits of strength, independence, autonomy, and resilience.”
Demonstrating what they call the “sleep-deprived masculinity stereotype” in action, the researchers cited Donald Trump as the prime example.
They wrote: “Further complicating the sleep-health-gender discussion, some culture leaders seem to believe that getting less than the recommended amount of sleep signals something positive about an individual.
“For example, US president Donald Trump has boasted about getting less than four hours of sleep per night and regularly derogates his political opponent Joe Biden as ‘Sleepy Joe’.”