Exploring Young Men’s Experience of Resistance to Masculine Norms

Matthew G. Nielson, Carol Lynn Martin, Leoandra Onnie Rogers, Sarah Lindstrom Johnson, Cindy Faith Miller, Hannah Berendzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


There are costs and benefits to conforming and resisting gender norms, and this ratio likely changes during the transition to adulthood. In this paper, we explore the development of young men’s masculine norm resistance from adolescence through emerging adulthood. Using thematic analysis on interviews with cisgender young adult men who reported feeling at least somewhat gender atypical (N = 30, Mage = 23, White = 74%), we found that: (a) men reported more direct and indirect gender norm resistance (GNR) as they aged, (b) as men felt less pressure to conform to gender norms, they reported more ease with expressing indirect GNR, and (c) that direct GNR generally paralleled developing an understanding of critical consciousness of broader social inequities. Our study answers the call to utilize a developmental approach to study men and masculinities, and in so doing, illuminates men’s dynamic navigation of masculine norms during the transition into adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-379
Number of pages15
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • critical consciousness
  • gender norms
  • pressure to conform
  • resistance
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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