We all know men who have to prove how masculine they are.

There are the old jokes about the size of his car proving that he’s compensating for something.

American men especially are brought up to perceive a very narrowly defined definition of masculinity as “right.”

Recently, a TikTok user challenged those assumptions when he asked his followers what their biggest indicator was for a man feeling insecure in his masculinity.


He also provided his own answer.

“I’ll go first. As soon as a man refers to himself as an ‘alpha,’ …”

In many circles, this is referred to as toxic masculinity.

Buzzfeed explains:

According to dictionary.com, toxic masculinity is defined as “a cultural concept of manliness that glorifies stoicism, strength, virility, and dominance, and that is socially maladaptive or harmful to mental health.”

Here are some of the top responses that @richtiktoxic, a photographer and environmentalist, received:

Mal: when they lift their cars/truck unnecessarily high to make their vehicle look bigger (laughing face with crying eyes). RichTikToxic: THIS.

Image credit: TikTok

A lot of the responses shared similar themes.

One indicator was an obsession with money:

“When they get upset at how much money you make.”


“I made more money than my ex, so I would pay for things. But he wouldn’t let me pay — as in, he wouldn’t let me physically hand my card over to the server. So when the server would come, my ex would look me straight in the eyes and say, ‘I got this, babe.’ Then, he would hand her my card.”


Another common theme was emphasizing their straightness.

Zsuuuuu: being weirdly specific about how he's not gay.

Image credit: TikTok

“When they refer to themselves as ‘super straight.'” —@reggieherold

A very common theme centered on a general aversion to anything associated with being female.

Redd: When they refuse to talk about anything relating to eMoTiONs because it's too girly.

Image credit: TikTok

“When he says, ‘Periods are gross.'”


“Whenever they find ANY reason to discredit women’s issues.”


Zeke Yeager: Refuse to do any form of self care because it's only for woman (rolling eyes emoji)

Image credit: TikTok

“When they hate or dislike something for the sole reason for it being a ‘girls thing.'”


Many women found it was a big red flag if the guy won’t help you out with your bag.

user8830742952726: Omggggg if they refuse to hold your purse. (frowning face)

Image credit: TikTok

And of course several reasons just fell into the category of having a generally gross personality.

“Whenever someone gets off on hating everything and constantly projecting toughness. I was like that when I was, like, 15, and my entire personality was a device to try and convince people I was tough in some way. Like, if a new song came out, I had to assert that it was terrible.”


“When they won’t date a tall girl.”


“Owning guns is a personality trait rather than just owning them.”


“It was when he said ‘I’m the BOSS in this relationship’ for me ?”


These would definitely all be red flags for me. What do you think? What is the most obvious indicator for you?

Let us know in the comments.