8 min read

27 Disturbing Statistics About Masculinity And Bullying In The U.S.

We are facing a bullying crisis in America.

We are facing a bullying crisis in America.

According to stopbullying.gov,between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school.” 

Promundo, a global leader in engaging men and boys to promote gender justice and prevent violence against women, recently released a study about masculinity and bullying. The research explores the drivers and consequences of bullying among young men in the U.S. Needless to say that it does not paint a pretty picture.

The study was created with the support of Axe, Unilever’s leading male grooming brand as part of their Find Your Magic Initiative; which aims to break the cycle of toxic masculinity by providing guys with resources to live more freely.

Why a study about masculinity and bullying?

When I questioned Axe’s representatives about the nature of their partnership with Promundo and the objectives of the study, here is what they said:

“We partnered with Promundo – along with other experts in this space – because toxic masculinity and bullying are deeply complex and impactful issues. We wanted to have a clear understanding of the challenges guys are facing today, as well as how we can best help them overcome these challenges to confidently embrace and express their true selves. 

To this end, we commissioned several studies from gender-equality research experts Promundo. The first study, published last year, “The Man Box: A Study on Being a Young Man in the US, UK and Mexico,” truly opened our eyes to the set of rigid expectations imposed by society that tells guys there’s only one way to be “a man.”

This year’s research, “The Bullying Crisis,” then takes those findings a step further to explore one of the key negative behaviors that stems from the pressures of the “man box” – bullying.”

What a great example of corporate responsibility!

27 Disturbing Statistics About Masculinity And Bullying

The study is thorough and offers many insights about the drivers and consequences of bullying among young men. I have listed below 27 of the most disturbing statistics about masculinity and bullying that I found inside the report.

The goal is not to be alarmist. The goal is to expose the morbid normalcy of bullying among boys. I truly hope these figures will open your eyes and inspire you to take an interest and read the study.

In terms of “bullying” (*): 

1. 63% reported being shoved, pushed, or blocked;

2. 16% reported experiencing this form of physical violence in the previous month;

3. 55% said their property had been destroyed, stolen, or sabotaged at least once;

4. 32% reported that they had ever shoved, pushed, or blocked someone’s way;

5. 33% of the sample reported experiencing some physical beating;

6. 21% reported ever using such physical violence;

7. 75% of the young men reported that they had been verbally bullied because of the way they look or dress;

8. 40% said they had called someone mean names or insulted them because of the way they look or dress;

In terms of “indirect bullying” (*): 

9. 76% reported ever experiencing someone spreading false gossip or rumors about them;

10. 32% said they had ever used this form of bullying;

11. 66% of respondents reported that someone had ever made fun of them because of their hobbies or interests…

12. … with 33% percent having ever done this;

13. 41% of young men reported ever experiencing social exclusion based on the way they look or dress;

14. 42% reported being made fun of because of their sexual orientation;

15. 24% reported they had been deliberately ignored or excluded because of their race or ethnicity;

* General bullying experiences and practices are divided into “direct bullying” – referring to forms of physical and verbal bullying – and “indirect bullying” – referring to forms of social and relational bullying.

In terms of witnessing bullying:

16. 60% reported having witnessed someone hitting a peer, classmate, or coworker with a fist or beating someone up;

17. 63% of the young men reported having seen others destroy, steal, or sabotage someone else’s property;

18. 87% had witnessed others calling someone mean names or insulting the way they look or dress;

19. 85% reported witnessing false gossip or rumors being spread;

20. 71% witnessing someone being made fun of because of their sexual orientation;

21. 57% witnessing someone being deliberately excluded because of the way they look or dress;

In terms of Cyberbullying:

22. 44% of the sample reported posting unflattering images of someone on the internet without their approval;

23. 42% of the sample reported making negative comments about someone’s appearance on social media;

24. 10% of the sample had experienced at least one form of cyberbullying in the previous month alone;

In terms of witnessing Cyberbullying:

25. 62% reported having witnessed someone post negative comments;

26. 51% reported having seen someone post a photo or video to make fun of someone based on their appearance;

27. 57% said they had witnessed negative posts about someone’s sexual orientation;

Source: Gupta, T., and Heilman, B. (2018). The Bullying Crisis: Drivers and Consequences Among Young Men in the US. Washington, DC and London: Promundo-US and Unilever.

Download the executive summary | Download the full study

About the sample: 

The sample consisted of 1,068 men aged 18 to 24 residing in the United States. The sample was selected to be representative of young men from all income, educational, and ethnic groups – as well as from urban and rural settings – across all geographic regions of the United States.

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