R u defining tuffness
as the ability to withstand pain,
the willingness to inflict it ?
Interesting aside about American culture, especially those raised up in the middle class:
Most people get through life rarely involved in physical conflict.
A few years ago I conducted an informal study at a police academy in a large city; of the class of 30, only four had frequently been involved in physical fights. One was a former gang member as a kid (got out early enough to pass the background to be hired); two had regularly been in fights in high school.
None had been in fights as an adult.
One told me later she had been abused by a boyfriend, but got in licks herself in a very dysfunctional relationship.
Interestingly, these four were the most comfortable with the 'fighting' part of training.
Most American adults, if they were to get punched in the face, would stand there in shock until they got beat up the rest of the way. I don't think conservative or liberal plays into it much.
A willingness to fight plays large in this. Not being a bully; rather, once a fight begins, a willingness, almost a desire, for physicality, usually reflects the toughness that I think everyone is referring to.