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Evangelical Subculture and Phallically Insecure Masculinity [new study]

What little things do some men get excited about? That’s one of the questions addressed in this new study:

Linking Evangelical Subculture and Phallically Insecure Masculinity Using Google Searches for Male Enhancement,” Samuel L. Perry [pictured here] and Andrew L. Whitehead, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, epub 2021. The authors, at the University of Oklahoma and Indiana University, explain:

we analyze Google Trends data and focus on the prevalence of explicit searches for “male enhancement” terms and phrases, simultaneously indicating (1) the internalization of a subculture that prioritizes essentialist, phallocentric standards of masculinity and (2) a privately felt failure to meet those standards. Even after accounting for a host of state‐level confounds, the preponderance of evangelicals in a state consistently predicts more Google searches for terms and phrases like “male enhancement,” “ExtenZe,” “penis pump,” “penis enlargement,” and others. We theorize that the largely patriarchal―and increasingly embattled and radicalized―evangelical subculture explicitly or implicitly promotes equating masculinity with physical strength and size, leaving men influenced by that subculture (whether evangelical or not) to seek solutions for their privately felt failure to measure up.

The authors note that: “All data for replication are freely available from Google and can be found on

BONUS: Professor Perry discusses some of his other, related research, in this video:

UPDATE (March 12, 2021): Our friends at the Museum of Bad Art reminded us that one of their exhibition paintings may relate to this study. Here is a reproduction of that painting, accompanied by the museum’s official description:

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