A term applied by Alfred Adler to an urge to escape from the feminine role in life.The masculine protest occurs primarily in women but may also be found in men. Among women it consists of attempting to take over the supposedly superior position of the male, or at least to adopt characteristics which are associated with masculinity, such as aggressiveness, masculine dress, male mannerisms, and sexual freedom. In males it takes the form of an extreme emphasis on self-assertiveness, conquest, and power over other people.Adler (1924) interpreted the masculine protest as an overcompensation for feelings of inferiority. In men it arises from feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and infantile doubts as to whether they are really males. The drive is particularly significant in women, however, and the term masculine protest is usually applied to their desire to compete with men and deny their own femininity. It is a form of rebellion against the lower status accorded women in our culture, and the sense of inferiority which it generates.Adler considered the masculine protest a prime motive in neurotic disorder, for it sets up an unrealistic and distorted goal—a “Active” goal, to use Adler’s term—that interferes with relationships to others. Instead of using the normal feelings of inferiority, which Adler believes exist in everyone, as the motivating forces for constructive behavior, the neurotic woman or man develops an excessive, insatiable drive to be masculine in the false sense of dominating others. This goal is substituted for healthy motives such as friendship, love, and social interest.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "MASCULINE PROTEST," in, November 28, 2018, (accessed July 3, 2022).


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