Masculinities

www.ZeroAttempts.org
 

Here's to all the real men out there...

Boys play house, men build homes
Boys shack up, men get married.
Boys make babies, men raise children
A boy won't raise his own children, a man will raise someone else's.
Boys invent excuses for failure, men produce strategies for success.
Boys look for somebody to take care of them, men look for someone to take care of.
Boys seek popularity, men demand respect and know how to give it.

Boys will be what we teach them to be.

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A question

A Different Perspective
54:24
42:15
15:56
24:21
1:35:03
Jordan B Peterson on masculinity and the plight of young men - 10/31/18
'Masculinity is essential to society' – full Interview | Modern Masculinit 5/10/19
When you're not working you don't feel like a man | Modern Masculinity
11/25/20
The Insidious War on Men: The Destruction of Masculinity - 12/5/20
The absolute necessity of fathers: Warren Farrell - 5/6/18
18:31
13:08
13:34
48:02
4:02
The Insidious 'Toxic Masculinity' Myth is Damaging Humanity
2/8/19
How barbershops can keep men healthy 6/20/16
The Men of the Future Discuss Toxic Masculinity 11/13/21
Where Have All the Good Men Gone? 9/3/19
How babies were raised in the 1970's
4/3/21
31:05
10:14
10:07
23:21
Funny Gender Reveal Fails
Dads Being Dads for 10 Minutes Straight
Reasons Why Dads Are THE BEST
Hot Dads
Funny Dad play with Babies Fails
What Women Want
6:49
3:10
7:31
Do Women Want Men With Money?
What women ACTUALLY WANT off a man
Why Do Women Run When Men Have Financial Problems?
Modern Masculinity
14:50
10:12
13:38
12:55
11:19
‘Respect is a two-way thing’
6/13/19
Boys won’t be boys. Boys will be what we teach them to be - 1/7/19
What makes a man?
5/16/19 E3
Masculinity is not what you see on TV' |
5/30/19 E4
Why is a woman doing this? 6/27/19
16:02
18:07
18:20
17:32
25:25
What Does "Be a Man" Really Mean? - 1/31/19
The Mask of Masculinity - the traditional role of men is evolving 1/16/16
Unmasking masculinity -- helping boys become connected men
Boys will be boys
The barbershop where men go to heal
Must see!
18:18
14:15
9:59
14:25
15:05
Redefining masculinity
10/28/14
Be A Man
2/20/13
The Masks We All Wear - 11/1/16
Expanding Masculinity: Moving Beyond Boys Will Be Boys - 8/18/15
The Data Men Miss
6/3/16
17:44
24:25
16:05
14:13
17:11
Suffering in Silence: The Emotional Abuse of Men 6/10/16
Why boys are failing? - 7/30/15
Reimagining masculinity; my journey as a male sexual assault survivo
4/2/18
Men Need To Talk About Their Sexual Abuse 12/13/17
Breaking the Boys Code of Masculinity
4/28/11
7:40
9:23
8:55
14:08
8:54
My search for masculinity: - 8/3/12
Boys to men -- myth and masculinity - 7/7/14
The Myth of Masculine Isolation - 10/25/19
Masculinity needs a reboot 5/23/19
The male identity crisis 6/21/19
17:53
5:06
32:55
2:10:25
16:57
Why big boys don't cry 8/15/18
The West Has Lost Faith In Masculinity - 1/5/18
Masculinity is not toxic" - part 2 - 1/26/18
Toxic Masculinity - A 12 Rules for Life Lecture 10/2/20
Tackling The Boy Crisis | Michael Kimmel 6/14/16
10:24
17:32
8:49
59:44
11:00
My boyfriend isn’t allowed to cry unfortunately.
Boys will be boys
Jordan Peterson talks MASCULINITY with Russell Brand 7/22/21
Russell Brand VS Jordan Peterson: Part #3 - 4/17/21
Real Men
17:11
37:18
29:45
20:49
12:50
Why Aren't Men Getting Married Anymore? And Where Have the Manly Men Gone? 11/9/21
Is There A War On Men? Part 1 - 6/10/16
A world without fathers? - 6/11/16  Part 2
Some Religious Overtones
The War on Boys
4/16/17
The Boy Crisis: A Sobering look at the State of our Boys
10/19/15
16:19
14:13
12:35
9:26
5:38
Breaking the Silence of Male Trauma Survivors - 11/15/18
Men Need To Talk About Their Sexual Abuse - 12/13/17
Domestic abuse: not a gender issue - 1/28/20
Domestic Violence from a Son's Perspective - 1/9/18
Alienating Young Men is Deeply Sad - 1/17/18
11:20
9:33
10:42
42:56
4:38
Jordan Peterson: What low-status highly creative men need -
6 Things Women Need to Know About Men - 10/8/21
5 Male Personality Types RANKED! (Which one are you?)
What Are Women?
5 Brutal Truthsd About Masculine Men - 11/19/21
18:32
10:28
18:10
46:30
1:30
Trained not to cry: the challenge of being a soldier
interview about global masculinity
He Reveals What 1950s "Real" Men Thought & Felt & Did & Didn't Do.
What men do.
It's almost automatic.

8:50
1:57:46
Malehood
The Red Pill
Full Documentary

The ManKind Project - A Viable Option
28:02
10:26
1:30
22:20
10:42
Mankind Project - Bill Kauth, Founder on "Like WOW!" Ashland Oregon
ManKind Project - South Africa - the truth about MKP
ManKind Project USA -
Healthy Men's Community
ManKind Project / NWTA Origin Story
Wentworth Miller Talks About Coming Out and ManKind Project
4:36
4:35
7:03
2:23
5:53
Brandon Clift - Before and After the New Warrior Training
ManKind Project on TODAY Show with Maria Shriver
ManKind Project NZ - the truth about MKP - ruthless real honest
BrothaHood Intro Video - Jermaine Johnson
The ManKind Project - Break through your fears! Make life count
17:21
32:33
29:55
4:12
7:32
The ManKind Project Durango - Changing the World
- ManKind Project USA Interview

"Out of Our Heads" interview with Leo Horrigan & Sparrow Hart
the Men's Work 3 Week Course Intro

ManKind Project LA - the truth about MKP - see for yourself
34:30
2:26
9:19
1:12:18
24:50
About Men Film - Interview with Maja Bugge
Mark Rowley talks about the New Warrior Training Adventure
ManKind Project NWTA Homecoming | Warrior Films
Animus Valley Institute and the ManKind Project in 2018
Introducing the Next Step Training - ManKind Project USA
9:35
10:31
3:11
4:23
4:08
ManKind Project - Hawaii - Brotherhood of Men in Paradise
The Oldest New Warrior in the Brotherhood - Gordon Becker Interview
the Men's Work GBTQ Intro Video
ManKind Project - the truth - Fatherhood & Discovery
ManKind Project Open Men's Groups
1:15:14
1:46:12
1:12:10
47:23
1:16:17
Luis Rodriguez Interview | Warrior Films | Rites of Passage
Chike Nwoffiah Interview | Warrior Films | Spiritual Warriors
Starhawk, Fifth Sacred Thing Interview | Warrior Films | Rites of Passage
Robert Bly Interview | Warrior Films | Rites of Passage
Michael Meade Interview | Warrior Films | Rites of Passage
Sigma Males
5:31
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Sigma Male Test | 9 Quick Questions
14 Characteristics of a Sigma Male | The Lone Wolf
15 Signs You're a "SIGMA" Male \& Is it Better Than "ALPHA"?
10 Signs You’re a Sigma Male
The Power of Silence: Why Silent People Are Successful
12:39
8:06
8:05
8:04
4:36
Top 10 Sigma Male Traits | Signs You’re a Sigma Male
Sigma Male as a Father | Lone Wolf or Cool Dad?
The Childhood Struggles of Sigma Males (The Dark Truth)
What Makes a Sigma Male The Best Father? | The Cool Dad
Why Sigma Males WALK Alone? - 1/7/22
6:21
11:20
9:38
8:05
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10 Reasons The World is AGAINST Sigma Males
The Unique Social Media of Sigma Males | Notes From a Sigma Male
Why All Women Want a Sigma Male
How Sigma Males Approach Women
10 Things a Sigma Male Will Do When Rejected
8:36
8:46
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11:51
10 Types of Women Sigma Males Would ALWAYS Date
15 Things Sigma Male Absolutely Hates
5 Things Sigma Males Hate Most About Women
8 Normal Things Sigma Males Do That Women Can't Resist
10 IRRESISTIBLE Sigma Male Traits That Women Can't Resist
8:14
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Sigma Male Quotes that Will Change the way You Think
How Sigma Males CHASE Their Dreams
10 Things Sigma Males NEED From Women
10 Red Flags In Dating That Sigma Males Never Ignore
Gamma Males Explained | Fake Sigma Males?
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8:03
Sigma Males 1O COMMANDMENTS
How Sigma Males Find Their Soulmate

Toxic Masculinity
9:08
8:54
9:22
3913
14:21
Students at Georgetown U Hate Toxic Masculinity But Can't Define It12/8/21
9 Ways Sigma Males Can Improve Their Emotional Intelligence
The Body Language of Sigma Male
For the boys, psychological patriarchy & toxic masculinity explained
Stop Calling it 'Toxic Masculinity' | Reece MacKinney
Boys will be Boys Memes
9:09
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7:17
# 26 - 1/1/22
# 27 - 1/8/22
# 28 - 1/13/22
# 29 - 1/19/22
# 30 - 1/25/22
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8:33
#31 - 1/31/22
#32 - 2/6/22
#32 - 2/12/22
# 33 - 2/19/22
# 34- 2/26/22
Male Loneliness
6:44
20:50
5:38
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Toxic Masculinity In Boys Is Fueling An Epidemic Of Loneliness - 1/18/18
The Loneliness Epidemic - 4/23/19
Men Read Other Men's Deepest Secrets 3/15/19
I'm 25 Years Old And I Have No Friends - 5/8/21
I'm 31 And Have No Friends - 4/14/21
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13:545
11:14
31:50
5:58
Male Loneliness: No One Cares - 8/29/18
25 Years Old: I Have NO Friends...I Have Social Anxiety - 8/5/20
No Friends No Family and Left Behind In Life - 2/9/21
21 Years Old With No Friends And Social Anxiety - 10/12/20
An old man's advice.

Masculinity is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with men and boys.
Although masculinity is socially constructed, research indicates that some behaviors
considered masculine are biologically influenced. To what extent masculinity is
biologically or socially influenced is subject to debate.
Wikipedia

A Real Man
This appears on our
menstuff.org home page superimposed over Leonardo da Vinci's David.
It's what we stand for.

"Man's inherent nature is to be curious, gentle, intimate, responsible, enthusiastic, sensual, tolerant, courageous, honest, vulnerable, affectionate, proud, spiritual, committed, wild, nurturing, peaceful, helpful, intense, compassionate, happy and to fully and safely express all emotions. When will we stop training him to be otherwise?" - Gordon Clay

Toxic Masculinity *

Toxic masculinity refers to traditional cultural masculine norms that can be harmful to men, women, and society overall, which does not condemn men or male attributes, but rather emphasizes the harmful effects of conformity to certain traditional masculine ideal behaviors such as dominance, self-reliance, and competition.

* Shephard Bliss was one of first if not the first to coin the words "Toxic Masculinity" in his writings "Behaviors of Toxic Masculinity."

Masculinity - Wikipedia
Masculinity
Masculinity Definition
Male Privilege, Another Perspective
Why is the Idea of Privilege so Controversial? 9/1/2018
Man's Inherent Nature (Menstuff.org) Home Page Quote superimporsed over "The Man" 8/1/96
The Traditional Definition of Masculinity - Man in a Box

“Putting My Man Face On” – College Men’s Gender Identity
Work is broken. Can we fix it?
Gen Zed does not dream of labor
The reinvention of a ‘real man’ - The Washington Post - 5/23/22
Initiation

Toxic Masculinity - Wikipedia

See also: Incel, Machismo, Male privilege, Patriarchy, Sexism
The War on Masculinity

What are women? 42:56 video
Toxic femininity
Toxic femininity - Psychology Today - 8/28/19
Men's False Beliefs about Mental Health
Hard Wired
93 Percent
Serious Intent
Men and Suicide
Today's Masculinity is Stifling - The Atlantic - 6/11/18
If Just This One Idea About Manhood Is Changing, There’s Hope 7/23/20
Olympian Vincent Zhou on masculinity, skating, mental health and ‘strict’ parents'
The Daily Dose - Ozy presents troubling trends in Masculinity
Amateur: How Do I Reconcile My Masculinity With The Toxicity of Men?
Older men cling to 1950s, '60s blueprint of masculinity
Raising Boys with a Broader Definition of Masculinity - The Atlantic - 4/15/19
To My Son: Men Have to 'Allow Ourselve to Be Loved' - The Atlantic - 9/15/20
Real Men Can Dance Video 4:15

Why do Football Players Practice Ballet?
Twinkle Toes in the NFL
Competing in Dance to Improve in Football | NFL Films Present - Video 7:37
Why Professional Athletes Take Ballet - Video 1:39

Thinking Critically About Rural Gender Relations: Toward a Rural Masculinity Crisis/Male Peer Support Model of Separation/Divorce Sexual Assault
QAnon’s Unexpected Roots in New Age Spirituality
What Do Gender Relations Look Like in Rural America?
If Just This One Idea About Manhood Is Changing, There’s Hope 7/23/20
War Is the Force that Gives Masculinity Meaning 10/1/14
Men are Killing Themselves
Why men are lonelier in America than elsewhere
What makes a real man? Much more at menstuff.org

Definition of masculinity


mas-cu-lin-i·ty | ma-skye-li-ne-te

: the quality or nature of the male sex : the quality, state, or degree of being masculine or manly
: challenging traditional notions about masculinity and femininity

  • A style which alternates between a polished grace and blunt masculinity.— Stuart Keate
  • The man controlling his environment is today the prevailing American image of masculinity.— Susan Faludi

First Known Use of masculinity

1613, in the meaning defined above

Masculinity


Masculinity is defined as a configuration of practices that are organized in relation to the structures of gender identities and relations (Connell, 1987). Safety Science, 2015

Masculinities and Femininities

M. Kimmel, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001

Masculinities and femininities refer to the social roles, behaviors, and meanings prescribed for men and women in any society at any time. Such normative gender ideologies must be distinguished from biological ‘sex,’ and must be understood to be plural as there is no single definition for all men and all women. Masculinities and femininities are structured and expressed through other axes of identity such as class, race, ethnicity, age, and sexuality. Thus some definitions are held up as the hegemonic versions, against which others are measured. Gender ideologies are more than properties of individuals; masculinities and femininities are also institutionally organized and elaborated and experienced through interactions.

Masculinity and the Focus on Sport

The study of masculinity and femininity provides one method for investigating the underlying sociocultural context of the ideal body image. Masculinity and femininity have been conceptualized as multidimensional constructs which include gender role stereotypes, adherence to traditional gender role norms, gender role conflict, and gender role stress. These constructs reflect stereotypes about the beliefs and behaviors typically attributed to males and females, which are acquired as they learn about the world and their roles in it. They also contain social norms that “prescribe and proscribe what males and females should feel and do.” The Western cultural view of masculinity and the masculine gender roles prescribed for males are very clear. Males need to be powerful, strong, and efficacious. The sporting context is one of the main forums that Western males have for demonstrating the various aspects of masculinity that are closely aligned with the pursuit of muscularity. These include athletic strength and superiority, competitiveness, toughness, endurance, leadership, status, power, and authority.

The focus on sport is also an important positive socializing influence for boys. For adolescent boys, participation in any kind of sport is related to higher self-esteem, and adolescent boys more than girls perceive that the function of sport participation is to increase their social status and peer popularity. A focus on sport is also one of the main ways that males have for demonstrating and strengthening various facets of masculinity that are closely aligned with the pursuit of muscularity. Interviews with adolescents have shown that the majority of adolescent boys are reluctant to focus on their body per se but through their talk about sport, the boys openly discussed what they liked and did not like about their body. In addition, this research showed that what boys liked about their bodies and the aspects they wanted to improve were synonymous with the attributes associated with being successful at sport. Surveys with adolescents have also shown that male physical attributes associated with athleticism and physical superiority are among the main predictors of the drive for muscularity among adolescent boys.

Meditation, Yoga, and Men's Health

Claire Postl, Lawrence C. Jenkins, in Effects of Lifestyle on Men's Health, 2019

Recommendations

Social constructs of masculinity and socialization play a key role in men's ability to seek help. Men struggle with emotional expression and the identification of coping mechanisms due to constructs of masculinity. Meditative practices, which are female dominated in our society, are not as frequently sought out by men [19, 20, 27]. Medical and mental health providers can help men utilize meditative practices as complementary and alternative medicine.

Firstly, providers should incorporate a social worker or mental health provider into their referral network. Social workers can provide men with resources to help manage psychosocial stress, including meditative practices. Awareness of psychosocial adjustment, support systems, and coping skills are needed and should be assessed regularly [47]. Having an integrated social worker or mental health provider can help to normalize the stress that cycles alongside health issues and provide easier linking to services.

Secondly, providers should talk about masculinity and the barriers men face when seeking help. Men are more likely to seek help if barriers are actively addressed by medical providers [3]. Discussing masculinity and social influences that shape emotional expression can help to normalize the stress that the patient may be experiencing.

Lastly, patients should be educated on the different services and interventions available for the management of stress [3]. Providers should educate men on meditative practices and potential benefits related to patients’ stress-related issues. Similarly, providers should encourage participation in meditative practices pre- and postmedical diagnoses. In order for providers to gain comfort in talking with men about meditative practices, it is encouraged that providers practice meditation, mindfulness, or yoga themselves [1].

Gender and Culture

Conceptions of masculinity and femininity vary widely across cultures, but two universals are plausible: (i) To varying degrees, every society assigns traits or tasks on the basis of sex, and (ii) the status of women is inferior to the status of men in every society. As one would expect based on these generalizations, extensive differences do exist in the work roles of men and women. Examining jobs and tasks in 244 societies, Roy D’Andrade found that men were involved in hunting, metal work, and weapon making and tended to travel further from home than women. Women were responsible for food preparation, carrying water, caring for clothing, and various child-rearing responsibilities. Although women’s subsistence activities generally included child-rearing demands, some did hunt in societies in which this activity did not compete with child care. The strong sex segregation for child-rearing duties was mirrored by another study that found that men were significant caretakers in only 10% of the 80 cultures examined. However, both sexes seemed to be flexible enough to adapt to a range of socioeconomic roles.

Today, women account for a substantial proportion of the world’s labor force. With decreases in infant mortality and fertility, women now spend less time in child-rearing roles. Furthermore, technological advances have allowed women in many parts of the world to separate childbearing from child-rearing and thereby contribute to the family through jobs outside the home.

However, women’s increased autonomy has not been paralleled by increased acceptance or equality. For example, in a 56-country study of labor trends from 1960 to 1980, the job market was marked by declines in women’s occupational opportunities and increases in sex segregation. When measured by per capita gross national product and women’s level of education, modernization was associated with increased segregation of the sexes. Additionally, increased workplace involvement for women correlated with decreases in total fertility rate. Women continue to be disadvantaged in the workplace, most overtly through persistent salary discrepancies that favor men. In addition to women’s lower salaries is evidence suggesting that women prefer traditionally female jobs, especially those offering extensive contact with other people. Moreover, these jobs tend to be low paying. On the contrary, men tend to prefer jobs with high income and promotion opportunities.

Even in the countries with the highest proportion of females in the labor force, women continue to face inequality within the home. Studies in several North American and European countries have found that women perform a majority of the housework, regardless of the extent of their occupational demands. Along with children and larger homes comes reduced male involvement in domestic chores. This is surprising in light of the previous suggestion that increases in education and income are associated with more modern sex role views (i.e., equality in the workforce). However, studies suggest that systematic differences in sex role ideology persist in these more modern countries. For example, in the United States, Great Britain, West Germany, and Austria, people with relatively high levels of education and women with employed husbands indicated less support for efforts to reduce gender inequality compared to those with less education and women without employed husbands. Such findings suggest that even the subjective change in perceived life quality associated with improved socioeconomic conditions may be greater for men than women.

Men’s Mental Health and Masculinities

Overview and Theories of Masculinity

Within broad definitions of health and wellness, gender figures significantly in individuals’ feelings, thoughts, appearance, behavior, and embodiment. Masculinity is a form of gender, variously defined as an identity, a social role, and a form of power and is typically, though not exclusively, associated with men. In the socialization of masculinity, boys and men are encouraged to reject or avoid anything stereotypically feminine, to be tough and aggressive, suppress emotions (other than anger), distance themselves emotionally and physically from other men, and strive toward competition, success and power. In particular, anti-femininity and homophobia are at the core of what traditional masculinity means. Boys and men are rewarded in a variety of settings such as schools, intimate relationships, the workplace, military, and prisons for adhering to these stereotypic expectations and often are punished or rejected for violating them. However, fulfillment of these gendered expectations is also associated with a range of health and social problems including anxiety and depression, substance abuse, and interpersonal violence.

The role of gender in health is often analyzed in terms of sex differences, in which the prevalence and severity of men’s mental health disorders and help-seeking are compared to women’s. Although such comparative analysis may be useful in identifying domains where there is a possible connection between biological sex and health, such analyses are analytically incomplete and potentially misleading. The relatively few differences in actual behavior and health outcomes between men and women are overemphasized and the greater variation existing within each group is underappreciated. An expanded analysis is needed that goes beyond a sex comparative lens to address the connection between masculinity and mental health among diverse men. Consequently, we pursue an intersectional analysis that attends closely to the complex diversity in masculinities as they are related to mental health among individuals belonging to different cultures marked by race, class, gender, age, sexuality, ability, and so forth.

We begin our analysis by tracing the development of theories of gender and masculinity, including the psychoanalytic theory of gender identity, the social psychological theory of gender roles, and a sociological theory of intersectionality in masculinities. Next, we summarize what research has shown about the relationship between various aspects of masculinity, such as male gender role stress, and mental health among men. In particular, we review the connection between masculinity and specific health problems that men experience including depression and suicide, violence victimization and perpetration, substance abuse, and stress. Then, we discuss how the values comprising masculinity are especially reinforced and amplified in particular settings, such as prisons and jails. The impact of masculinity on men’s mental health and well-being is especially pronounced in these contexts. Finally, we examine the implications of theory and research on masculinity for psychological practice, intervention and social action that improves men’s mental health and well-being.

Gender Identity

The earliest theory of masculinity in modern psychology was built on psychoanalytic and personality theories that ascribed gender mainly to natural, inevitable biological forces. Gender identity theory argues that biological sex and gender are synonymous in healthy, well adjusted individuals. Gender identity is unidimensional, such that greater masculinity means the person has less feminine identity, and vice-versa. Healthy, securely-adjusted men identify and display characteristics defined as masculine while also disidentifying with and not displaying feminine characteristics. In this view, normative personality development among biological males leads to a masculine gender identity (Terman and Miles, 1936), and deviations, such as men with stereotypically feminine gender identity, including homosexual behavior, or exaggerated masculinity (i.e., hypermasculinity) indicated unhealthy or insecure gender identity development. The conflation of gender and sexuality is noteworthy. Failure among men to demonstrate masculinity is understood to be problematic, a symptom of gender identity disorder or weakness. Personality tests such as the Attitude Interest Analysis Test that were designed to measure gender identity included assessments of specific interests and knowledge of the respondent that were believed to indicate an underlying gender identity. Some data using measures of conventional adjustment at the time indicated that more masculine men were better functioning and healthier.

Sex (Gender) Role Identity

In the late 1970s, Bem (1981) advanced an alternative theory, known as gender schema or sex role identity theory. She argued that masculine and feminine identity and characteristics vary independently within persons. Consequently, individuals could have clearly masculine or feminine identities, or an androgynous combination of stereotypically gendered characteristics, or characteristics not identified with either gender (i.e., undifferentiated). The assessment used to measure sex role identity emphasized an individual’s endorsement of personality traits that were defined by the authors as either masculine or feminine. Androgynous individuals were defined as those who rated themselves as having masculine and feminine characteristics; and substantial data indicated that these individuals were typically the most well adjusted and mentally healthy.

Gender Role Conflict and Strain

Subsequent gender role theories emphasized more directly the destructive and harmful aspects of masculinity as well as the stress of fulfilling and of failing to fulfill the role normative expectations (Pleck, 1981, 1995). The general characteristics associated with this role comprise what is referred to as traditional masculinity and include themes of antifemininity and homophobia, success and achievement, independence, and toughness and aggression (Brannon, 1976), as well as heterosexuality. Beliefs about the normative characteristics that men should display in order to fulfill the male gender role constitute the dominant masculinity ideology (Smiler, 2004). Individuals vary in the extent to which they endorse traditional masculine ideology.

Belief in, and adherence to, normative gender role expectations for men is theorized to cause gender role stress and strain, in part due to the contradictory and unattainable aspects of the role, and because many of the role demands are associated with unhealthy behaviors, such as suppression of emotion or aggressive responses to interpersonal conflict. Further, to the degree that the expectations are discrepant from men’s inherent characteristics, they experience gender role conflict (O’Neil et al., 1986). Individual variation in gender role conflict is associated with a large range of health risk behaviors and negative health outcomes.

Masculinity and Power in Context

In the 1990s, sociological theorists developed critiques of gender role theories of masculinity on the basis that they do not adequately incorporate an analysis of power into how the roles are created, enforced, and maintained within social systems. In this view, masculinity is intimately interwoven with the dynamics of power and privilege. As such, the terms ‘dominant masculinity’ or ‘hegemonic masculinity’ (Connell, 2005) are used to extend and sharpen the concept of ‘traditional masculinity,’ emphasizing that masculinity is imbued with both symbolic and material power in a society. Importantly, the majority of men do not possess the characteristics idealized in hegemonic masculinity, nor have access to the social, cultural, and material resources on which hegemonic masculinity is built. Were it otherwise, hegemonic masculinity would not be an effective way for some men to consolidate and maintain power over other men.

Diversity of masculinities

Consequently, men belonging to diverse groups and from varied geographic places and cultures perform masculinity in varied ways. Included within this diversity are masculinities among men who identify with different racial and ethnic groups, sexualities, and genders. Further, men manifest masculinities differently, and have different opportunities and capabilities to perform hegemonic masculinity, depending on their socioeconomic class, religion, body and abilities, age, and living context and environment (e.g., prison). Rather than being discrete or additive, these positions of privilege intersect in dynamic ways to create unique, contextually specific masculinities. These diverse masculinities differ in terms of their correspondence to hegemonic masculinity and are defined by men’s race, class, sexuality, ability, age, and other symbolic and material markers of power.

Men from diverse backgrounds have varying capabilities to successfully perform hegemonic masculinity. For example, individually and as a group, gay black men cannot perform hegemonic masculinity as do heterosexual white men. As a result, these men may attempt to demonstrate hegemonic masculinity in alternative ways, or in different settings and domains. For example, the cool pose, the machista, and the queer bear all perform powerful forms of masculinity within their respective African American, Latino, and gay male cultures. Machista describes Latino men who portray a complex macho persona characterized both by toughness and the devaluation of femininity and women as well as emotional connectedness, care for family, and a sense of dignity. The queer bear is an identity for gay men who present an exaggeration of certain stereotypic masculine characteristics such as a large (usually muscular) body type, considerable facial hair, and a general show of toughness or propensity for aggression. Although these variations in gendered expressions contain many characteristics of traditional masculinity (e.g., toughness and anti-femininity), they are nonetheless particularly defined by their departure from hegemonic white, heterosexual masculinity.

Scholars have noted that signifiers of hegemonic masculinity may change over time within American culture (Kimmel, 2012; Rotundo, 1994). However, the underlying characteristics and meanings associated with hegemonic masculinity remain quite stable, even as the signifiers of those characteristics (e.g., clothing, hair style, occupation, and recreations) may shift. Hegemonic masculinity consistently represents anti-femininity, success and achievement, independence, and toughness and aggression, but the symbolic displays of those characteristics in men’s appearance, sexuality, activities and so forth are more transitory, in part because of their commercialization. Anxieties about one’s manhood, often located in men’s bodies, are exploited through marketing of products and services. Manhood must be proven, and proven again, through symbolic and behavioral demonstrations to others, typically male peers, who are in positions of validating, questioning, and challenging assertions of manhood, as well as policing and punishing those men whose demonstrations are judged to be inadequate. There is no way to establish manhood once and for all. Manhood is thus a perpetually vulnerable, contested, and fleeting status. Men’s denial and repression of their vulnerabilities function as an attempt to validate their masculinity.

Androgyny

2.1 Development of Androgyny Measures

Development of psychometrically sound masculinity and femininity scales based on the revised assumptions was an important first step for androgyny researchers. The favored scale format was paper-and-pencil self-descriptions using Likert scales. Criteria for item selection were somewhat variable. Although a (small) number of measures were eventually developed, only two achieved prominence: The Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) (Bem 1974) and the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ) (Spence and Helmreich 1978). The items on the BSRI and the PAQ reflected judges' ratings of personality characteristics utilizing criteria of sex-based social desirability or of sex typicality, respectively. The PAQ incorporated only characteristics generally seen as desirable. The BSRI included some femininity items with less positive connotations (e.g., ‘childlike,’ ‘gullible’), a decision that complicated subsequent analyses considerably (Pedhazur and Tetenbaum 1979).

Correlations between the masculinity and femininity scales of a single androgyny measure tended to be small in magnitude as was desired, and the content of corresponding scales across androgyny measures was overlapping but not identical. Factor analyses (e.g., Wilson and Cook 1984) indicated that the content of the femininity and masculinity scales corresponded generally to theoretical definitions of femininity as representing empathy, nurturance, and interpersonal sensitivity and masculinity as representing autonomy, dominance, and assertiveness. The emergence of this factor structure is interesting in that item selection procedures did not specifically select items to be congruent with the expressive/communal and instrumental/agentic distinctions. These content distinctions appear to be central to the broad-based perceptions of the sexes' personalities and behaviors elicited by the androgyny measures (Cook 1985).

Stress, Depression, Mental Illness, and Men's Health

Contribution of Class, Race/Ethnicity, and Sexual Minority Status to Men's Experience of Stress

Social factors, other than masculinity, are also implicated in the experience of stress, and can significantly impact many men's health outcomes [27]. Social status and social roles determine the types and amount of stress. Baum et al. describes socioeconomic status as a predictor of health and illness outcomes [28]. Dowd and colleagues evaluated the effect of socioeconomic status on stress and discovered that low socioeconomic status was highly associated with higher levels of perceived stress and stressful life events [29]. Low socioeconomic status is also associated with adverse psychosocial situations that can result in high levels of stress [30].

Men's other identities, including ethnicity and class, can shape the male role and result in added stress [31]. Minority men have higher age-adjusted morbidity, mortality, and death rates. This is a pattern that has been documented for over 150 years [32]. Compared with White men, African American men have higher odds of stressful life events, including racism and social exclusion with resulting higher levels of psychological distress [29, 33]. Income inequality is also a contributor given large racial differences in socioeconomic status [34]. In studies of racial differences in health, adjustment for socioeconomic status markedly reduces and, in instances, eliminates racial disparities in health [32, 35]. Men who cannot reach traditional norms of social success and status due to poverty, minority status, and/or marginalization may compensate by demonstrating their masculinity and mastery by engaging in risky behaviors that can be detrimental to their health, such as high-risk sexual behavior [36].

Gay men experience a different form of minority stress, resulting from social stigma and rejection. For some gay men, repeated social discrimination may result in internalized homophobia, which adds an inner conflict to the experience of hostility from the social environment [37, 38]. Research shows that gay men suffer from more mental health problems than their heterosexual counterparts as a result of stigma, prejudice, and discrimination. They also suffer from inadequate response to their health-care needs by health-care providers through the lack of providers’ understanding of their needs and, in some cases, through rejection by providers. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations have been declared as suffering from health disparities by the Institute of Mental Health, and research to improve health-care provision has been encouraged by the National Institutes of Health [39, 40].

It is important to recognize that some men experience all the factors that tend to be risk factors for poor health: struggle with their masculine role, low economic status, non-White race, and gay sexual orientation. This combination of factors, also dubbed as “intersectionality,” multiplies the risk beyond the contribution of any individual one and must be taken into consideration when a health assessment is conducted [41].

Cross-Cultural Psychology, Overview

5.5 Sex Differentiation

Hofstede has identified a dimension he calls masculinity–femininity. In feminine cultures, members of the culture attach more importance to relationships, to helping others, and to the physical environment than people in masculine cultures. In masculine cultures, people emphasize careers and money. The goals of men and women are more differentiated in masculine than in feminine cultures. National samples that emphasized male goals were found in Japan, Austria, and Venezuela, whereas the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands emphasized female goals. In the countries that were high in masculinity, men and women gave very different responses to Hofstede’s value questions, while in the countries that emphasized female goals, the answers obtained from men and women were the same. Similar differences were observed across occupations, with engineers giving masculine and secretaries giving feminine answers. The consequences of this cultural difference included such matters as people in masculine countries wanting brilliant teachers versus people in feminine countries wanting friendly teachers. Differences in politics were also identified. In masculine countries people supported tough policies toward poor people and immigrants. Economic growth was given priority over preservation of the environment in masculine countries. In feminine countries, compassionate policies toward the weak and the environment were given high priorities.

Body Image Development – Adult Men

Penis size

Finally, just as muscularity has been equated with masculinity, so has penis size. Comparatively little research has examined the role of men’s genitals in body satisfaction, despite many men expressing dissatisfaction with the size of their penis. Research reveals that actual penis size is normally distributed. Although most men view their penises as average in size, there is discrepancy in the research as to whether more men underestimate or overestimate the relative size of their penis. Given that penis size is culturally equated with masculinity, it is not surprising that fewer men who rate their penis as modest or small in size are satisfied with their size compared to men who believe that their penis is average-sized or larger than average. Recent research has also revealed a relationship between satisfaction with penis size and global body satisfaction.

Gender and Physical Health

The distinctions between biological sex, ‘gender,’ masculinity, and femininity and their importance for health are examined. There has been a recent shift in emphasis from concerns about women's reproductive health to a gender analysis of health, but men's health remains neglected. Societal gender roles and relationships pattern women's and men's health, and intersect with other structures, especially social class and age. Gender differences in mortality and morbidity are considered, together with explanations for these gender differences. The previous orthodoxy that women are ‘sicker’ than men has recently been challenged in developed societies, but continued gender disparity in disability remains, especially in later life. Lone mothers' health is particularly poor, mainly due to their disadvantaged material circumstances. The divergent structural positions and roles of women and men lead to gender differences in the nature of inequalities in health, which vary across the life course, over time, and among societies.
Source:
www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/masculinity

Toxic Masculinity - Wikipedia


The concept of toxic masculinity is used in academic and media discussions of masculinity to refer to certain cultural norms that are associated with harm to society and men themselves. Traditional stereotypes of men as socially dominant, along with related traits such as misogyny and homophobia, can be considered "toxic" due in part to their promotion of violence, including sexual assault and domestic violence. The socialization of boys in patriarchal societies often normalizes violence, such as in the saying "boys will be boys" about bullying and aggression.

Self-reliance and emotional repression are correlated with increased psychological problems in men such as depression, increased stress, and substance use disorders. Toxic masculine traits are characteristic of the unspoken code of behavior among men in prisons, where they exist in part as a response to the harsh conditions of prison life.

Other traditionally masculine traits such as devotion to work, pride in excelling at sports, and providing for one's family, are not considered to be "toxic". The concept was originally used by authors associated with the mythopoetic men's movement, such as Shepherd Bliss. These authors contrasted stereotypical notions of masculinity with a "real" or "deep" masculinity, which they said men had lost touch with in modern society. Critics of the term toxic masculinity argue that it incorrectly implies that gender-related issues are caused by inherent male traits.[1]

The concept of toxic masculinity, or certain formulations of it, has been criticized by some conservatives as an undue condemnation of traditional masculinity, and by some feminists as an essentialist concept that ignores the role of choice and context in causing harmful behaviors and attitudes related to masculinity.

Etymology and usage

The term toxic masculinity originated in the mythopoetic men's movement of the 1980s and 1990s.[2] It later found wide use in both academic and popular writing.[3] Popular and media discussions in the 2010s have used the term to refer to traditional and stereotypical norms of masculinity and manhood. According to the sociologist Michael Flood, these include "expectations that boys and men must be active, aggressive, tough, daring, and dominant".[4]

Mythopoetic movement

Some authors associated with the mythopoetic men's movement have referred to the social pressures placed upon men to be violent, competitive, independent, and unfeeling as a "toxic" form of masculinity, in contrast to a "real" or "deep" masculinity that they say men have lost touch within modern society.[5][6] The academic Shepherd Bliss proposed a return to agrarianism as an alternative to the "potentially toxic masculinity" of the warrior ethic.[7] Sociologist Michael Kimmel writes that Bliss's notion of toxic masculinity can be seen as part of the mythopoetic movement's response to male feelings of powerlessness at a time when the feminist movement was challenging traditional male authority:

Thus Shepherd Bliss, for example, rails against what he calls 'toxic masculinity'—which he believes is responsible for most of the evil in the world—and proclaims the unheralded goodness of the men who fight the fires and till the soil and nurture their families.[8]

Academic usage

In the social sciences, toxic masculinity refers to traditional cultural masculine norms that can be harmful to men, women, and society overall; this concept of toxic masculinity does not condemn men or male attributes, but rather emphasizes the harmful effects of conformity to certain traditional masculine ideal behaviors such as dominance, self-reliance, and competition.[9][10] Toxic masculinity is thus defined by adherence to traditional male gender roles that consequently stigmatize and limit the emotions boys and men may comfortably express while elevating other emotions such as anger.[11] It is marked by economic, political, and social expectations that men seek and achieve dominance (the "alpha male").

In a gender studies context, Raewyn Connell refers to toxic practices that may arise out of what she terms hegemonic masculinity, rather than essential traits.[3] Connell argues that such practices, such as physical violence, may serve to reinforce men's dominance over women in Western societies. She stresses that such practices are a salient feature of hegemonic masculinity, although not always the defining features.[3][12]

Terry Kupers describes toxic masculinity as involving "the need to aggressively compete and dominate others"[13] and as "the constellation of socially regressive male traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia and wanton violence".[14][15] According to Kupers, toxic masculinity includes aspects of "hegemonic masculinity" that are socially destructive, "such as misogyny, homophobia, greed, and violent domination". He contrasts these traits with more positive traits such as "pride in [one's] ability to win at sports, to maintain solidarity with a friend, to succeed at work, or to provide for [one's] family".[14] Feminist author John Stoltenberg has argued that all traditional notions of masculinity are toxic and reinforce the oppression of women.[16][17]

Gender norms

According to social learning theory, teaching boys to suppress vulnerable emotions, as in the saying "big boys don't cry", is a significant part of gender socialization in Western society.[18][19]

According to Kupers, toxic masculine norms are a feature of life for men in American prisons, where they are reflected in the behavior of both staff and inmates. The qualities of extreme self-reliance, domination of other men through violence, and avoiding the appearance of either femininity or weakness, comprise an unspoken code among prisoners.[20][21] Suppressing vulnerable emotions is often adopted to successfully cope with the harsh conditions of prison life, defined by punishment, social isolation, and aggression. These factors likely play a role in suicide among male prisoners.[20][22]

Toxic masculinity can also take the form of bullying of boys by their peers and domestic violence directed toward boys at home.[23] The often violent socialization of boys produces psychological trauma through the promotion of aggression and lack of interpersonal connection. Such trauma is often disregarded, such as in the saying "boys will be boys" about bullying.[24] The promotion of idealized masculine roles emphasizing toughness, dominance, self-reliance, and the restriction of emotion can begin as early as infancy. Such norms are transmitted by parents, other male relatives, and members of the community.[18][25] Media representations of masculinity on websites such as YouTube often promote similar stereotypical gender roles.[25]

According to Ronald F. Levant and others, traditionally prescribed masculine behaviors can produce harmful effects including violence (including sexual assault and domestic violence), promiscuity, risky and/or socially irresponsible behaviors including substance use disorders, and dysfunction in relationships.[18][26]

Health effects

The American Psychological Association has warned that "traditional masculinity ideology" is associated with negative effects on mental and physical health.[27][28] Men who adhere to traditionally masculine cultural norms, such as risk-taking, violence, dominance, the primacy of work, need for emotional control, desire to win, and pursuit of social status, tend to be more likely to experience psychological problems such as depression, stress, body image problems, substance use, and poor social functioning.[29] The effect tends to be stronger in men who also emphasize "toxic" masculine norms, such as self-reliance, seeking power over women, and sexual promiscuity or "playboy"[clarification needed] behavior.[10][30]

The social value of self-reliance has diminished over time as modern American society has moved more toward interdependence.[25] Both self-reliance and the stifling of emotional expression can work against mental health, as they make it less likely for men to seek psychological help or to possess the ability to deal with difficult emotions.[25] Preliminary research suggests that cultural pressure for men to be stoic and self-reliant may also shorten men's lifespans by causing them to be less likely to discuss health problems with their physicians.[31][32]

Toxic masculinity is also implicated in socially-created public health problems, such as elevated rates of alcoholism and certain types of cancer among men,[33] or the role of "trophy-hunting" sexual behavior in rates of transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.[34][non-primary source needed]

Psychiatrist Frank Pittman wrote about how men are harmed by traditional masculine norms, suggesting this includes shorter lifespans, greater incidence of violent death, and ailments such as lung cancer and cirrhosis of the liver.[17]

Criticism

Toxic masculinity has received criticism as a concept. Some conservatives, as well as many in the alt-right, see toxic masculinity as an incoherent concept or believe that there is no such thing as toxic masculinity.[35]: 2 [36] In January 2019, conservative political commentators criticized the new American Psychological Association guidelines for warning about harms associated with "traditional masculinity ideology", arguing that it constitutes an attack on masculinity.[37] David French of the National Review criticized the APA guidelines on "traditional masculinity ideology" for including "very common, inherent male characteristics" including "anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence." French argued that these traits are not "inherently wrong or harmful," and that a proper understanding of traditional masculinity "rejects harmful extremes."[38] APA chief of professional practice Jared Skillings responded to conservative criticism, stating that the report's discussion of traditional masculinity is about "negative traits such as violence or over-competitiveness or being unwilling to admit weakness" and noting that the report also discusses positive traits traditionally associated with masculinity such as "courage, leadership, protectiveness".[37]

The concept of toxic masculinity has also been criticized from a feminist perspective. Andrea Waling and Michael Salter have argued that the concept of "toxic masculinity" in contradistinction to "healthy masculinity" emerged from a misunderstanding of Raewyn Connell's 1987 work on hegemonic masculinity.[39]: 366 [36] To Waling, "toxic masculinity" is problematic because it presents men as victims of an unavoidable pathology,[39]: 368 an essentialist approach that ignores the surrounding social and material context and the personal responsibility of men.[39]: 369 Waling also argues that instructing men to practice "healthy masculinity" dismisses androgyny and adopting aspects of femininity as valid options for men, thereby perpetuating gender binaries and privileging masculinity over femininity.[39]: 369 Waling also argues that "toxic masculinity" dismisses certain traditionally masculine traits that are appropriate in some situations.[39]: 368 Salter notes that, properly interpreted, Raewyn Connell's work presents male violence, not as a result of toxicity intruding into masculinity itself but rather as resulting from the surrounding sociopolitical setting, which induces "inner conflicts over social expectations and male entitlement".[36]

References

1. Salter, Michael (27 February 2019). "The Problem With a Fight Against Toxic Masculinity". The Atlantic. Retrieved 3 May 2020.

2. Salter, Michael (27 February 2019). "The Problem With a Fight Against Toxic Masculinity". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 11 May 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.

3. Ging, Debbie (20 May 2017). "Alphas, Betas, and Incels: Theorizing the Masculinities of the Manosphere" (PDF). Men and Masculinities. 22 (4): 638–657. doi:10.1177/1097184X17706401. S2CID 149239953. Although the term 'toxic masculinity' has become widely used in both academic and popular discourses, its origins are somewhat unclear.

4. Flood, Michael. "Toxic masculinity: A primer and commentary". XY. Archived from the original on 12 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.

5. Ferber, Abby L. (July 2000). "Racial Warriors and Weekend Warriors: The Construction of Masculinity in Mythopoetic and White Supremacist Discourse". Men and Masculinities. 3 (1): 30–56. doi:10.1177/1097184X00003001002. S2CID 146491795. Reprinted in Murphy, Peter F., ed. (2004). Feminism and Masculinities. Oxford University Press. pp. 228–243. ISBN 978-0-19-926724-8.

6. Longwood, W. Merle; Schipper, William C.; Culbertson, Philip; Kellom, Gar (2012). Forging the Male Spirit: The Spiritual Lives of American College Men. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 65–6. ISBN 978-1-55-635305-5.

7. Hartman, Rebecca (2003). "Agrarianism". In Carroll, Bret (ed.). American Masculinities: A Historical Encyclopedia. SAGE Publications. pp. 20–22. ISBN 978-1-45-226571-1.

8. Kimmel, Michael S., ed. (1995). The Politics of Manhood: Profeminist Men Respond to the Mythopoetic Men's Movement (and the Mythopoetic Leaders Answer). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. pp. 366–7. ISBN 1-56-639365-5.

9. Hess, Peter (21 November 2016). "Sexism may be bad for men's mental health". Popular Science. Archived from the original on 7 July 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.

10. Kaplan, Sarah (22 November 2016). "Sexist men have psychological problems". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.

11. Liu, William Ming (14 April 2016). "How Trump's 'Toxic Masculinity' Is Bad for Other Men". Motto (Time). New York. Archived from the original on 21 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.

12. Connell, R. W.; Messerschmidt, James W. (December 2005). "Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept". Gender and Society. 19 (6): 829–859. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.175.7094. doi:10.1177/0891243205278639. JSTOR 27640853. S2CID 5804166.

13.Kupers, quoted in Ging (2017), p. 3

14. Kupers, Terry A. (June 2005). "Toxic masculinity as a barrier to mental health treatment in prison". Journal of Clinical Psychology. 61 (6): 713–724. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.600.7208. doi:10.1002/jclp.20105. PMID 15732090.

15. Kupers, Terry A. (2010). "Role of Misogyny and Homophobia in Prison Sexual Abuse" (PDF). UCLA Women's Law Journal. 18 (1): 107–30. doi:10.5070/L3181017818. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017.

16. Cooper, Wilbert L. (26 July 2018). "All Masculinity Is Toxic". Vice. Archived from the original on 12 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.

17.Dowd, Nancy E. (2000). Redefining Fatherhood. New York University Press. pp. 185–6. ISBN 0-8147-1925-2. [Pittman] links toxic masculinity to men being raised by women without male role models. In his view, if men raised children they would save their lives, and save the world. On the other hand, John Stoltenberg views toxic masculinity from a strongly antimasculinist, radical feminist perspective, arguing that masculinity can be serious, pervasive, and hateful.

18. Levant, Ronald F. (1996). "The new psychology of men". Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 27 (3): 259–265. doi:10.1037/0735-7028.27.3.259.

19. Lindsey, Linda L. (2015). Gender Roles: A Sociological Perspective. Routledge. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-31-734808-5.

20. Kupers, Terry A. (2004). "Prisons". In Kimmel, Michael S.; Aronson, Amy (eds.). Men and Masculinities: A Social, Cultural, and Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 630–633. ISBN 978-1-57-607774-0.

21. Kupers, Terry A. (2007). "Working with men in prison". In Flood, Michael; et al. (eds.). International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities. Routledge. pp. 648–649. ISBN 978-1-13-431707-3.

22. Mankowski, E.S.; Smith, R.M. (2016). "Men's Mental Health and Masculinities". In Friedman, Howard S. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Mental Health, Volume 3 (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK; Waltham, Massachusetts: Academic Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-12-397753-3.

23. Keith, Thomas (2017). Masculinities in Contemporary American Culture: An Intersectional Approach to the Complexities and Challenges of Male Identity. Routledge. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-31-759534-2. In some ways, bullying and other forms of coercion and violence are part of what has been termed toxic masculinity, a form of masculinity that creates hierarchies favoring some and victimizing others. Disrupting these forms of toxic masculinity benefits boys and men, rather than attacks and blames men for these behaviors.

24.Liu, William Ming (2017). "Gender Role Conflict". In Nadal, Kevin L. (ed.). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender. Thousand Oaks, Calif. p. 711. ISBN 978-1-48-338427-6.

25.Weir, Kirsten (February 2017). "The men America left behind". Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association. 48 (2): 34. Archived from the original on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.

26. Liu, William Ming; Shepard, Samuel J. (2011). "Masculinity Competency Typology for Men Who Migrate". In Blazina, C.; Shen-Miller, D.S. (eds.). An International Psychology of Men: Theoretical Advances, Case Studies, and Clinical Innovations. Routledge. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-13-528065-9.

27. Salam, Maya (22 January 2019). "What Is Toxic Masculinity?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 14 May 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.

28. Fortin, Jacey (10 January 2019). "Traditional Masculinity Can Hurt Boys, Say New A.P.A. Guidelines". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 7 June 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.

29. Wong, Y. Joel; et al. (2017). "Meta-analyses of the relationship between conformity to masculine norms and mental health-related outcomes" (PDF). Journal of Counseling Psychology. 64 (1): 80–93. doi:10.1037/cou0000176. PMID 27869454. S2CID 8385. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.

30, Panko, Ben (22 November 2016). "Sexism Sucks for Everybody, Science Confirms". Smithsonian. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.

31. Horowitz, Kate (28 March 2016). "Psychologists Say Macho Behavior May Help Explain Men's Shorter Lifespans". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on 22 January 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2017.

32. Ellis, Marie (24 March 2016). "'Tough guys' less likely to be honest with doctor". Medical News Today. Archived from the original on 14 July 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.

33. Kirby, Roger; Kirby, Mike (2019). "The perils of toxic masculinity: four case studies". Trends in Urology & Men's Health. 10 (5): 18–20. doi:10.1002/tre.712.

34. Muparamoto, Nelson (December 2012). "'Trophy-hunting scripts' among male university students in Zimbabwe". African Journal of AIDS Research. 11 (4): 319–326. doi:10.2989/16085906.2012.754831. ISSN 1608-5906. PMID 25860190. S2CID 25920016.

35. Sculos, Bryant W. (2017). "Who's Afraid of 'Toxic Masculinity'?". Class, Race and Corporate Power. 5 (3). doi:10.25148/CRCP.5.3.006517. Retrieved 20 January 2021.

36. Salter, Michael (27 February 2019). "The Problem With a Fight Against Toxic Masculinity". The Atlantic. Retrieved 20 January 2021.

37. Dastagir, Alia E. (10 January 2019). "Psychologists call 'traditional masculinity' harmful, face uproar from conservatives". USA Today. Retrieved 20 January 2021.

38. French, David (9 January 2019). "The APA Can't Spin Its Way Out of Its Attack on 'Traditional Masculinity'". National Review. Retrieved 20 January 2021.

39. Waling, Andrea (14 October 2019). "Problematising 'Toxic' and 'Healthy' Masculinity for Addressing Gender Inequalities". Australian Feminist Studies. 34 (101): 362–375. doi:10.1080/08164649.2019.1679021. S2CID 210366077. Retrieved 20 January 2021.

Academic sources

  • Addis, Michael E.; Cohane, Geoffrey H. (June 2005). "Social scientific paradigms of masculinity and their implications for research and practice in men's mental health" (PDF). Journal of Clinical Psychology. 61 (6): 633–647. doi:10.1002/jclp.20099. PMID 15732091.
  • Banet-Weiser, Sarah; Miltner, Kate M. (December 2015). "#MasculinitySoFragile: culture, structure, and networked misogyny". Feminist Media Studies. 16 (1): 171–174. doi:10.1080/14680777.2016.1120490. S2CID 146362716.
  • Bliss, Shepherd (1995). "Mythopoetic Men's Movements". In Kimmel, Michael S. (ed.). The Politics of Manhood: Profeminist Men Respond to the Mythopoetic Men's Movement (And the Mythopoetic Leaders Answer). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. pp. 292–307. ISBN 978-1-56-639365-2. JSTOR j.ctt14bswd0.
  • Connell, R.W. (2005). Masculinities (2nd ed.). Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-74-563426-5.
  • Karner, Tracy (January 1996). "Fathers, Sons, and Vietnam: Masculinity and Betrayal in the Life Narratives of Vietnam Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder". American Studies. 37 (1): 63–94. JSTOR 40642783.

Popular press

  • Campbell, Olivia (23 October 2017). "The Men Taking Classes to Unlearn Toxic Masculinity". The Cut.
  • Friedman, Jaclyn (13 March 2013). "Toxic Masculinity". The American Prospect. ISSN 1049-7285.
  • Gilchrist, Tracy E. (11 December 2017). "What Is Toxic Masculinity?". The Advocate. ISSN 0001-8996.
  • Hamblin, James (16 June 2016). "Toxic Masculinity and Murder". The Atlantic. ISSN 2151-9463.
  • Hays, Charlotte (27 February 2018). "Jordan Peterson on the Nihilism that Contributes to the Creation of a School Shooter". Independent Women's Forum. Archived from the original on 7 January 2020.
  • Holloway, Kali (12 June 2015). "Toxic masculinity is killing men: The roots of male trauma". Salon. OCLC 43916723.
  • Kohn, Isabelle (15 November 2018). "Inside the Movement to Reprogram Masculinity". Broadly. Vice Media. Through classes and workshops, men across the United States are attempting to unlearn 'toxic masculinity'—for society and for themselves.
  • Marcotte, Amanda (18 October 2021). "Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan, and the Proud Boys: How the fragility of the male ego fuels the far-right". Salon. OCLC 43916723. Archived from the original on 18 October 2021.
  • Marcotte, Amanda (24 October 2017). "Toxic Masculinity Is Killing Us in Many Ways". AlterNet.
  • Masciotra, David (4 July 2016). "Toxic masculinity doesn't just target women: The viciousness and vacuity of modern American manhood is also harmful to the self". Salon. OCLC 43916723.
  • Weiss, Suzannah (23 February 2016). "6 Harmful Effects Of Toxic Masculinity". Bustle.
  • Winton, Tim (9 April 2018). "About the boys: Tim Winton on how toxic masculinity is shackling men to misogyny". The Guardian. ISSN 1756-3224. OCLC 60623878.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxic_masculinity

Men's False Beliefs about Mental Health


Common Belief: “I don’t need help. I got this.”

Research shows that, often, the men who need mental health services most – stressed out, successful, athletic, family men – are also the least interested in getting help. The traditional male role encourages a preoccupation with success, power and competition. And yet these types of men are at higher risk of negative psychological consequences, such as depression, anxiety, and relationship problems.

Common Belief: “Talking about my problems is not going to change anything.”

The term “normative male alexithymia” has been used to describe men’s problems with expressing their emotions, a possible contributor to depression and barrier to treatment. Men are geared towards problem solving, but sometimes holding in how you feel is part of the problem. When you start talking about things that bother you or are causing stress, the problem solving can begin. Athletes will “huddle up” on the court or field to make a plan or a game strategy and make adjustments as they go along. This is similar to what happens in counseling or therapy.

Common Belief: “It’s not that bad, it’s the way I’ve always been.”

Most likely, you don’t like to go to the doctor when you have a fever, sore throat, and cough. You probably want to ride it out and see if you can just get better on your own. But then you realize the cough has now turned into bronchitis and you aren’t able to work. Mental health issues can be similar. It can be hard to know when it’s time. Sometimes, you just need to talk. And, other times, it’s pretty bad. You can’t get out of bed or function. Untreated depression and other psychiatric problems can result in personal, family, and financial problems, even suicide. According to NIMH, four times as many men as women die by suicide in the United States, which may result from a higher prevalence of untreated depression. Yet eight out of 10 cases of depression respond to treatment.

Common Belief: “People will think I am crazy if I see a psychologist.”

Our brains are sensitive organs that respond to our genetics, traumatic life events, and stress. Many of these factors are not in our direct control. Men may express their depression in terms of increases in fatigue, irritability and anger, loss of interest in work, and sleep disturbances. It has also been shown that men use more drugs and alcohol, perhaps to self-medicate. This can mask the signs of depression, making it harder to detect and treat effectively. A diagnosis is not a life sentence. A diagnosis can be a name of a condition that provides a road-map for proper treatment and improvement in your mood, relationships, and life.

Start a conversation. With someone you trust. With someone who is trained. With someone who cares. Ask questions. Start the conversation. Are you okay?
 

QAnon’s Unexpected Roots in New Age Spirituality


Masculinity, faith and the strange convergence of counterculture and hate
I didn’t choose New Age culture. But I grew up in a college town in Northern California in the 1980s, where the ubiquitous Grateful Dead stickers, crystal shops and tarot card readers suggested that the 1960s ethos of self-discovery never ended. Psychedelic accoutrements and people who self-identified as seekers were normal to me — and so I craved mainstream American culture. I rebelled — mildly — by eating Domino’s pizza at sleepovers and idolizing the nihilism of 1970s punk.

It turns out that I didn’t entirely resist it. In the past decade or so, my fluency in the world of New Age culture, wellness, woo-woo (whatever you might call it) became a professional boon as a journalist. These ideas were taking off once again, especially among women who are White and middle-class, which I also am. I understood that world and had a lot to say about it. While on assignment I’ve gone to menstrual huts and tea ceremonies; I’ve gotten massaged by boa constrictors and I’ve meditated at sound baths. I’ve greeted this all with professional curiosity, something between an open mind and a world-weary arched eyebrow.

On Jan. 6, along with the rest of the country, I followed the news of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the prominence of Confederate flags, nooses and other symbols of the far right. Like many others, I took note of the so-called QAnon Shaman: 33-year-old Jake Angeli, born Jacob Anthony Chansley, of Arizona. He was bare-chested and covered in Nordic tattoos, at least one of which, the Valknot, is a Norse symbol sometimes associated with white supremacy. But he was also, infamously, wearing a headdress fashioned from buffalo horns and coyote skin — elements associated with the American West that seemed to telegraph a pagan spirituality. I’ve been around a lot of White people who have adopted a mishmash of pagan and Indigenous signifiers as a New Age aesthetic. It’s a cringeworthy and offensive display of appropriation that I don’t endorse, but it’s common in that world.

After the attack on the Capitol, news reports unearthed that Chansley was a founder of something called the Star Seed Academy (in a certain New Age vernacular, a star seed is a higher being). The Facebook page for the venture, before it was taken down, read: “Star Seed Academy creates leaders of the highest order! We help people to awaken, evolve and ascend! Are you ready to be a leader? Are you ready to ascend?” Recently, Chansley’s lawyer, Albert Watkins, told me in a statement that his client “is deeply spiritual. His spirituality is serving him well as he traverses the pending federal charges.” He added that Chansley has “a personal commitment to Ahimsa,” the principle (found in Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism) of doing no harm.

As a devotee of QAnon — the sprawling set of false claims that have coalesced into an extremist ideology deemed a domestic terrorist threat by the FBI — and a freedom fighter for Donald Trump, Chansley was my ideological opposite; yet there was also a lot about him that was familiar. It felt shocking and suggested serious flaws in a culture I thought I understood: a fine line between the kind of zeitgeist-y, sensitive New Age-guy version of masculinity, and something more nefarious. The idea of spiritual lineage is too generous to bestow on Chansley, but he represents a growing pipeline between New Age male spirituality, new masculinity movements and QAnon. This pipeline is one of unlikely connections and strange bedfellows, of mixed martial arts fighters and poets, evangelical Christians and yoga teachers.

In 2009, Charlotte Ward, an independent researcher on alternative spirituality — religious beliefs outside of conventional groups — began to notice a hybrid of conspiracy theory beliefs and New Age culture cropping up online. Two years later, she co-wrote a paper titled “The Emergence of Conspirituality” in the Journal of Contemporary Religion. She and co-writer David Voas, a quantitative social scientist at University College London, noted an emphasis on patterns and connections in both conspiracy culture and alternative spiritual beliefs. Nothing is as it seems, and nothing is an accident. “These worldviews make public and personal life respectively seem less subject to random forces and therein lies part of their appeal,” they wrote.

Ward and Voas defined “conspirituality” as a “politico-spiritual philosophy based on two core convictions” — one core to conspiracy theories and the other rooted in New Age belief systems: “1) a secret group covertly controls, or is trying to control, the political and social order, and 2) humanity is undergoing a ‘paradigm shift’ in consciousness. Proponents believe that the best strategy for dealing with the threat of a totalitarian ‘new world order’ is to act in accordance with an awakened ‘new paradigm’ worldview.”

In our cultural moment, when baseless claims about both a rigged election and the dangers of vaccines hit Americans almost simultaneously, there has been renewed interest in Ward and Voas’s decade-old paper and, specifically, the idea of conspirituality. (During the week I interviewed Voas, he had three other similar interviews lined up.) With the image of Chansley in animal horns and fur leading an attack on the Capitol, conspirituality was more than an idea in an academic paper or on the Internet. It had become our shared reality.

When I was about 10 years old, my mother became interested in the idea of the divine feminine, specifically centering spirituality on women rather than the patriarchal notion of a male god. She had never shown interest in spirituality before but dived in with, well, a religious fervor. She took me to a screening of the 1989 Canadian documentary “Goddess Remembered,” about goddess worship in ancient European culture and its potential as a renewed spiritual movement. Judging from the attendees of the goddess fairs in hotel ballrooms I was also taken to, this was a fairly White, progressive and privileged group of women. It served as a kind of spiritual extension of the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s, parallel to feminism.

Men soon started to realize that they, too, had a gender to consider, and the men’s movement took off in the ’70s and ’80s. It manifested in three expressions, says Cliff Leek, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Northern Colorado and vice president of the American Men’s Studies Association: “You get pro-feminist [men’s] groups that do work around reproductive health and sexual violence; and, on the other end of the spectrum, men’s rights groups that say, ‘We are gendered and the system is out to get us.’ The middle way is the mythopoetic: tying masculinity back to the sacred and mythological.”

The prevailing figure in the mythopoetic movement is the poet Robert Bly. In 1990, Bly, who was in his 60s (he’s now 94), published “Iron John: A Book About Men,” which includes lines like, “Where a man’s wound is, that is where his genius will be.” Bly’s idea, told through Jung-influenced archetypes and fairy tales, was that men had been robbed of true masculinity via emotionally withholding fathers who raised soft sons. With some reflection — and maybe some banging on drums with other dudes in the forest — they could reclaim their inner Zeuses and thrive. The book was sometimes the butt of jokes, but spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. It was so popular and so part of the New Age canon that I bought a copy as a teenager. I thought it seemed a bit corny, like the kind of thing long-haired aging hippie dads of my friends might enjoy. But I read it because I knew it was an element of a cultural conversation that I wanted to be a part of.

The spirit of “Iron John” can still be found in mythopoetic men’s groups. Take, for example, Embodied Masculine, a men’s community that offers retreats and coaching. (A representative of the company declined to comment for this article.) The retreats promise a lot. “In this meticulously held circle of men, you will be both met with compassion and called to deepen,” one description reads, accompanied by images of mostly White men patting each other on the shoulder or sitting atop rocks. “Your embodied presence will expand, your relationship to consciousness will deepen, and the sword of your integrity will sharpen. You will be challenged, nourished, and given the tools and brotherhood you wish you had found years ago.” Sounds enriching, but the wording around Embodied Masculine’s retreats for women has a distinctly anti-feminist flair: “Women, we’ve reached a point in history in which many of you are equalling and surpassing men in earning, personal growth and spiritual capacity. ... And yet, there is a longing deep in your heart for something more.”

“As soon as we tie masculinity to spirituality, we turn masculinity into something ‘sacred’ as well as distinct and exclusive of women,” says Leek. “I’m not entirely sure that is something that can be done in a way that doesn’t reinforce or naturalize inequalities.” These retreats seem to be encouraging strong behavior from a group — White, ruling-class men — who are already the most privileged in our society. But you also see this core message about strong men in socially conservative packaging. There’s a fear of women getting too powerful and a veneration of the housewife that, frankly, reminds me of the Proud Boys, the alt-right group with a history of violence that believes women are best left at home raising children.

“The wellness and spirituality world is very parallel to the evangelical Christian world, especially when it comes to the messaging around masculinity,” Leek explains. “The mythopoetic aspect of the men’s movement is very much rooted in patriarchal notions of chivalry and men as protectors and warriors. Evangelical masculinity is basically identical.” He wasn’t surprised to see the QAnon Shaman beside evangelical groups at the Capitol. QAnon, with its fixation on pedophilic conspiracies led by Hollywood and the liberal elite, can give a certain kind of man in search of purpose a way to feel like a literal protector.

Last year, Matthew Remski, a writer and co-host of the “Conspirituality” podcast, was reporting a story on QAnon for the Canadian magazine the Walrus, and he interviewed Lamont Daigle, founder of a Canadian QAnon spinoff group. During the interview, Remski noted to Daigle that he talked about his political journey as if it were a spiritual journey. Daigle responded, Remski told me recently, that it all started with “Iron John.”

I emailed Daigle to ask how “Iron John” had influenced him. He wrote back praising the book’s view of pre-industrial history, including the tradition of fathers passing down a trade to their sons. “?‘Apprenticeship’ was lost and is/was key for bonding,” Daigle wrote. “As ‘Iron John’ was suggesting, the love unit most damaged by the industrial revolution has been the father-son bond.” His view of society today is much darker: “From what I’ve seen on the streets and stage of this New World Order agenda in the last year, fierce protective men have been noticeably absent, and the women are standing up stronger and more vocal.”

All of which fits with Remski’s analysis of this subculture. “There’s a kind of iconographic romance between swole but New Agey male figures who are taking supplements and staying disciplined, and women who have deep connections to the divine,” he says. “There’s a righteous and holy and sacralized sexuality, an immunological radiance around the holy couple.” I know exactly the type of couples he’s talking about. I see them on Instagram espousing the know-your-strength relationship consciousness taught at the Embodied Masculine retreats, and in the vulnerable but divine masculinity of “Iron John.”

I think of the macho wellness dude as epitomized by the comedian-turned-podcaster Joe Rogan, who sells mugs and tube socks that read “conquer your inner b----” and Hindu-deity-inspired T-shirt designs. (I reached out to Rogan, but his representative did not respond.) Then there is the pandemic-era bro upgrade to the mythopoetic archetype — which is how you find MMA fighters like Tim Kennedy on the podcast of comedian JP Sears, with both men arguing that we’ve overreacted to covid.

A vast landscape of lost people — who need a belief system to guide their actions — constitutes promising terrain for someone seeking to attract believers, proteges or followers (online or otherwise). The central figures in this subculture “are guys who don’t know how to manage their charisma,” says Remski. “They are burdened with unwarranted confidence amplified and recycled by social media until it’s habitual but also viral.”

Jules Evans, an honorary research fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary University of London, has investigated the history, philosophy and psychology of well-being. In an article for Medium called “Nazi Hippies: When the New Age and Far Right Overlap,” Evans wrote about how leading members of the Nazi party in the 1930s and ’40s were followers of alternative spirituality and medicine. “There was an idea that western culture has lost its way and we need to return to traditional sources of wisdom, whether that be Hinduism or Sufism or traditional gender roles,” Evans told me. It’s a concept that’s popular today with the alt-right. “There is an overlap,” he says, “between New Age and far-right populism in traditionalist thinking, that the West has lost its way with feminism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism, and we need a return to order.”

In December, an NPR/Ipsos poll asked respondents whether they believe the myth behind QAnon: that “a group of Satan-worshipping elites who run a child sex ring are trying to control our politics and media.” Seventeen percent said it was true, and 37 percent said they didn’t know. It would be easy to write this off as simply a mass lack of critical-thinking ability — and that is certainly part of it — but when Jeffrey Epstein, whose friends were some of the most powerful people in the world, was charged with sex trafficking involving underage girls, it’s easy to see how someone might be tempted to blur the line between real-life corruption and conspiracy theories.

“Conspiracy theories are going to attach to how we already see the world,” says Joseph E. Uscinski, a professor of political science at the University of Miami who researches American conspiracy theories. They are representative of people’s concerns at the time: the Bavarian illuminati of the 18th century, the Freemasons in the 1930s, the JFK assassination in the 1960s.

I have a sense of how women in the wellness world can fall down these rabbit holes. Alternative spirituality “is related to issues that are thought to be of greater concern to women, such as self-care or connectedness,” Voas told me. “This is thought to be upbeat and optimistic in its orientation — which is a contrast to conspiracy theory, which is darker, more pessimistic, more political, about secret forces controlling things behind the scenes.” And yet, alternative spirituality and conspiracy are, in the end, united by a narcissistic idea: that there are things in the world crying out for explanation and that you alone are unraveling the truth. As Voas puts it, “The central point is that we have, in our society, competition between trust and doubt.”

An article last year in the European Journal of Social Psychology called “An exploration of spiritual superiority: The paradox of self-enhancement,” by Dutch behavioral scientists Roos Vonk and Anouk Visser, found that “the road to spiritual enlightenment may yield the exact same mundane distortions that are all too familiar in social psychology, such as self-enhancement, illusory superiority, closed-mindedness, and hedonism (clinging to positive experiences) under the guise of alleged ‘higher’ values.” This spiritual form of narcissism reminds me of Chansley’s language on Facebook around star seeds. According to Evans, it’s derived, in a copy of a copy kind of way, from an idea in Gnosticism — a collection of beliefs from early Christian sects, popular in alternative spirituality, that there are spiritual aliens who are different species: “You are from another planet, you’ve fallen into this prison of the material world, and you’re working to ascend to your true home. It’s an extreme expression of spiritual alienation and spiritual narcissism.”

I am guessing Chansley probably wanted to achieve notoriety for his ideas — and that a desire to stand out is part of the reason he chose such a bizarre costume to wear to an attempted coup. He is, to use a term popular on the Internet, a spiritual version of a clout chaser.

But I don’t want to tease anyone for their spiritual ideas, even Chansley, who has been charged with six federal crimes and awaits trial. Rather, I’m interested in the larger question this raises about contemporary masculinity. What void is this filling? If QAnon provides an easy answer for a small but steady group of men, we should think about what a healthier spiritual alternative looks like. “Whatever it is, it should be offline for starters,” says Remski. “It could focus on community service, but at the very least it should be built in the neighborhood, not on the consumer workshop circuit. The last thing the ex-QAnon man needs is a leader or a group commodifying his recovery or monetizing his confessions or emotions.” Remski has already noticed a rise in men’s groups based on spiritual bodybuilding, sacred real estate and supplement pyramid schemes. “I guarantee,” he predicts, “that within the year a pair of bros will start up a [multilevel marketing business] that sells QAnon recovery products.”
Source:
www.washingtonpost.com/magazine/2021/03/29/qanon-new-age-spirituality/?no_nav=true&tid=a_classic-iphone

Thinking Critically About Rural Gender Relations: Toward a Rural Masculinity Crisis/Male Peer Support Model of Separation/Divorce Sexual Assault


Abstract

After decades of neglect, a growing number of scholars have turned their attention to issues of crime and criminal justice in the rural context. Despite this improvement, rural crime research is underdeveloped theoretically, and is little informed by critical criminological perspectives. In this article, we introduce the broad tenets of a multi-level theory that links social and economic change to the reinforcement of rural patriarchy and male peer support, and in turn, how they are linked to separation/divorce sexual assault. We begin by addressing a series of misconceptions about what is rural, rural homogeneity and commonly held presumptions about the relationship of rurality, collective efficacy (and related concepts) and crime. We conclude by recommending more focused research, both qualitative and quantitative, to uncover specific link between the rural transformation and violence against women.
Source: 
link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10612-007-9038-0

Older men cling to 1950s, '60s blueprint of masculinity


Study: Older men adhere closely to an idealized masculinity script that is incompatible with the realities of later life

As men age, they continue to follow dominant ideas of masculinity learned as youth, leaving them unequipped for the assaults of old age, according to a new study.

The mismatch between aging and the often ageless expectations of popular masculinity leaves senior men without a blueprint to behave or handle emotions, according to a new literature review from Case Western Reserve University.

Men who embodied the prevailing cultural and societal hallmarks of manliness as younger men—projecting an aura of toughness and independence, avoiding crying and vulnerability, while courageously taking risks—are confronted by the development of health problems, loss of spouses and loved ones, retirement and needing to be a caregiver for ailing family members in later life.

"Who you are in the past is embedded in you," said Kaitlyn Barnes Langendoerfer, a doctoral student in sociology at Case Western Reserve and co-author of the review, which mined narrative data from nearly 100 previously published studies. "Men have trouble dealing with older age because they've followed a masculinity script that left little room for them to negotiate unavoidable problems."

"In our study, we hear men struggling with grief—which is a vulnerable state—and caregiving, which is associated with femininity," she said. "If they must cry, men feel it's to be done in the home, away from others, even when spouse has died. They have to renegotiate their masculinity in order to deal with what life is bringing their way."

This masculinity "script" still embraced by older men was outlined as the four-part Blueprint of Manhood, first published by sociologist Robert Brannon when the men in the studies were entering adulthood in the 1970's. The blueprint included:

No Sissy Stuff - men are to avoid being feminine, show no weaknesses and hide intimate aspects of their lives.

The Big Wheel - men must gain and retain respect and power and are expected to seek success in all they do.

The Sturdy Oak - men are to be ''the strong, silent type" by projecting an air of confidence and remaining calm no matter what.

Give 'em Hell - men are to be tough, adventurous, never give up and live life on the edge.

"We're all aging; it's a fact of life. But as men age, they're unable to be who they were, and that creates a dissonance that is hard to reconcile," said Langendoerfer, who studies aging in men.

"We need to better understand how older men adapt to their stressors—high suicide rates, emotions they stifle, avoiding the doctor—to hopefully help them build better lives in older age," she said.

The review, published in the journal Men and Masculinities, was co-written by Edward Thompson Jr., an emeritus professor of sociology and anthropology at the College of the Holy Cross and now an affiliate of the Department of Sociology at Case Western Reserve.

Most of the data came from studies with white, middle-class men from the United States, Canada and Europe who had stable careers. "More research inclusive of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds is needed to obtain a more complete picture of how older men adapt," Langendoerfer said.
Source:
phys.org/news/2016-10-older-men-1950s-60s-blueprint.html?utm_term=OZY&utm_campaign=daily-dose&utm_content=Friday_06.18.21&utm_source=Campaigner&utm_medium=email

If Just This One Idea About Manhood Is Changing, There’s Hope 7/23/20


It was a competitive nine-year-olds’ baseball game. Grandson’s team was in the process of experiencing their first loss of what was so far an eight-game season.

Watching a grandson thrive as a truly self-motivated, avid – and grampa would add gifted – baseball player who is supported without pressure by parents continued, even on that day, not only to be thrilling entertainment. It felt as if it were a gifted connection with a fast-growing boy I had spent cherished time with from day one.

His own joy in the game, often seen in his smiles while pitching and fielding, also brought back forgotten memories of good times with my own dad when he took me to the old Milwaukee Braves’ games at County Stadium back when bleacher seats were $5.

That evening’s game began with a bad night for the Coyote’s starting pitcher. He walked ten batters so that the top of the first inning ended at the league’s seven-run per inning limit. His second inning was hardly better.

His team has some surprisingly good nine-year-old pitchers whose pitches are quite fast and accurate. So, you could see that this young guy felt as if he had let all his teammates down (much less disappointed the team’s loyal fans) when he was relieved by a friend who was, instead, in his rhythm that night.

But “the damage,” as the sportscasters’ say, “had been done.” And when he retreated to the dugout, even as fans applauded his effort, this nine-year-old young man was crying.

There’s an old, popular, and I consider unhealthy, saying that’s repeated by those stuck promoting destructive, toxic, and shaming masculinity in sports: “There’s no crying in baseball.”

But no one, not one coach, and not one fan I could hear fell back on that. We all felt his disappointment along with him, but no one added to that disappointment by shaming him for those tears.

Grandson and his teammates have been fortunate since they began playing in kindergarten. They have experienced, so far, positive coaching that has made them better without masculine shaming.

No coach or parent in my presence has ever said to these boys that it’s wrong to cry. In fact, when one of them in first grade was injured and was carried off the field crying, one coach comforted him with: “I’d have cried even harder.”

So when I see his coaches walking to their cars with their fourth-grader sons while holding hands, I regain a hope for future generations that some of us are over the “big boys don’t cry” mentality.

For generations, male gender role conditioning has included the ridicule and humiliation of boys for their tears. It’s taught them thereby to ignore their natural feelings of hurt, fear, and confusion.

It’s taught them that anger is the male thing to feel instead. And no male has yet to be told that anger and violence are unmanly – but they sure have been told they’re somehow unmanly if they express those natural human emotions that are buried under that anger.

And where homophobia and heterosexism have diminished, at least in public discourse, we hear less and less of the gay slurs applied to men who openly express these basic emotions that are covered over with secondary ones permitted for manhood: anger and sexual arousal. Sadly often, though, such worn-out slurs are still voiced.

Putting boys out of touch with their feelings has been a useful tool of conditioning for societies for generations. It’s harder to go to war against another man or fight competitively to make another man lose, to beat up another man or to destroy him with ruthless business practices, to step over male bodies on the way to what will be declared a victory or convince oneself that the others deserve their unfortunate circumstances, if you know and do embrace the idea that you and these other men actually and legitimately feel hurt, fear, and confusion.

So, the more a man has been put out of touch with these feelings, the more he’s become convinced that feeling them is contrary to the rule that “big boys don’t cry,” the more he’s lost touch with his emotional connections to his fellow men, the easier it is to deny that any human damage is done to others and that he might have contributed to it.

I’m afraid that should grandson continue on what he’d like to be his career path, he’ll run into others who are still sold on the old feelingless manhood (except, of course, again, expressing all these emotions through anger and sexual desire). It’s still so much a built-in part of our cultural norms.

The extent that someone buys into all this is enforced by both men and women who do. Few men want to be deemed “unmanly” by the standards of the men around them.

Fear that other men judge them as less than manly and even in subtle or not so subtle ways will punish them if they don’t come across as manly enough by the old definitions is one way it’s all kept in place. Gay men know this fear and are more overtly punished for breaking that man code, but all men know what it means to be scared straight no matter what their sexual orientation.

Parents enforce the man code because they fear what can happen to their boys if they don’t live up to its standards. They’ve seen what has happened to any boy not manly enough in the past.

And women have been conditioned to somehow “need” a “real man.” Are they prepared for and secure with his tears, vulnerability, and a full set of human qualities and emotions when they’ve been told they need him to love and protect them and prove to them in the end that they’re lovable?

I want to believe there have been some changes in all of this, though my book Scared Straight: Why It’s So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It’s So Hard to be Human continues to explain so much of this for its readers even today.

I know that as long as for many it’s somehow less than manly to be gay, or less than feminine to be a lesbian, this prejudice will continue to be used to enforce the idea that men shouldn’t show feelings through tears. I know that as long as transgender people are humiliated and ridiculed because they defy the gender boxes that deny some of the human qualities to anyone based upon binary gender norms, there’ll be further pressure for everyone to monitor one’s feelings.

But I still hope that there will come a day when all emotions matter to anyone regardless of gender definition and that even in baseball there can be crying without shame.
Source:
whosoever.org/if-just-this-one-idea-about-manhood-is-changing-theres-hope/

War Is the Force that Gives Masculinity Meaning - 10/1/14


In 2002, when Pulitzer Prize winner, Chris Hedges published War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, he wrote in depth about the warrior culture that is the USA. “The communal march against an enemy generates a warm, unfamiliar bond with our neighbors, our community, our nation, wiping out unsettling undercurrents of alienation and dislocation,” he wrote. “It gives us purpose, meaning, a reason for living.”

In 2014 the American military-industrial-media complex is still salivating for war to further line its pockets. And a president elected to get us out of two wars in which we were mired, displays caution but finds himself pressured on many sides to do something warrior-like.

The drumbeat includes the usual: ramping up of fear against an enemy, claims of a threat to what’s now called the “homeland,” and images of cruelty that invoke the sense that “we can’t let them get away with that, especially when they do it to Americans.” Few are interviewed in mainstream media who argue against the whole mindset.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders appeared briefly on “Meet the Press” in September for the first time in his career. But no Chris Hedges or Noam Chomsky is likely to appear as the debate centers on the best tactics of fighting the bad guys rather than how to change US policies that spawn terrorist groups.

In our culture, war is still the manly response; it gives conditioned manhood its meaning. With women in the military and LGBT people tolerated, a warrior reaction to any problem still won’t cause mainstream pundits to question any man’s masculinity, though it might cause them to question a woman’s femininity.

Even though there’s been a history of dissenters – Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr, to name two well-known examples – and a long history of anti-war movements, America still falls back on a war model to attack problems from literacy, to AIDS, to poverty, to drugs, to crime. The tools of war get more sophisticated, while we sell them to the world to use, even profiting off of selling them to those who become enemies

For war to continue to give us such meaning as well as war-industry jobs, we need more than just the selling of each new war through exaggeration, lies, and fears. Those tactics must touch something already within so the public relations of warmongering will resonate inside us.

Mainstream conditioning of our children through our major institutions must still make warriors and warrior-support personnel out of them through molding their minds, if the propaganda of each new war is to be effective. And, sadly, the old gender role conditioning that enables this hasn’t changed as much as we’d like to believe.

In fact, the dominant Northern European/American views of gender and its limitations have heavily affected alternatives that would have been found traditionally among Native Americans, Hispanic peoples, Africans, and Asians. Even in a culture where children are being told that they can be anything they want to be, dominant institutions that supposedly provide “role-models” such as the NFL or Congress, have failed to move outside genderized boxes, and, as if it surprises us, failed miserably to challenge the status quo, as we’ve painfully been reminded recently.

It takes the equivalent of mental child abuse to take the little boy who was born with his complete humanity intact, and to convince him that he will be considered an American masculine hero if he is willing someday to go off to another country and kill other men or be killed by them. Notice how the title “hero” is now applied to anyone who does just that.

It also takes the equivalent of mental child abuse to take the little girl who was born with her complete humanity and all its possibilities intact, and convince her that the solution to her fears, second-place status, meaninglessness, and hopelessness is to find fulfillment in supporting one of these male warriors. She might even stay with an abuser if she’s convinced that he is her savior from all that she’s supposedly lacks in life.

But our mainstream culture still does it. It still defines male bonding and teamwork as a group of men getting together to beat, defeat, or kill another group of men. Every male sporting event on television celebrates it with the most popular often the sports that reward men for harder hits or knocking the other unconscious.

Our culture still awards its warriors for killing another man. A man can get a medal for killing another man, but still be killed for loving one.

Much of its religion is still in a fight against the cultural change that threatens to fully accept lesbians, gay men, and bisexual and transgender people who challenge gender roles. Mainstream media gives such religion disproportionate attention, enabling them to feel like noble, righteous warriors in the “culture wars.”

And our culture remains stuck in the old gender roles, with otherwise liberal people still talking about their masculine and feminine “sides” as if those categories mean something definite. Or using supposedly positive comments such as: “You’re too pretty to be a lesbian.” “But you’re too macho to be a gay man.” “She’s trans, but you can’t tell. She’s so pretty.”

Finally, it’s still quite useful to install the fear of getting close to ones own gender that’s the heart of homophobia. Without that, it’s much harder for men to make other men their enemies. It’s easier to fear them as threatening competitors.

While walking with my then 2 ½ year old grandson down the street, we passed a gaping open sewer. He grabbed my hand and pulled me away, saying “Grampa, be careful. That’s dangerous.”

To that little boy, holding hands wasn’t something that men don’t do. It was how they protect each other in their common humanity.

But you can’t shoot someone when you’re holding each other’s hand to protect one another. You’re instead more likely to feel the common humanity that would make looking for alternatives to war obvious.
Source:
whosoever.org/war-is-the-force-that-gives-masculinity-meaning/

Men are Killing Themselves
On April 22, 2002, an amazing study done at Johns Hopkins University was published on young men and anger (Archives of Internal Medicine 2002; 162: 901-906).

The study followed 1,055 men for an average of 36 years following their schooling to examine the risk of premature and total cardiovascular disease associated with anger responses to stress during early adult life.

The incredible results of this study were that young men who quickly react to stress with anger have three times the normal risk of developing premature heart disease. Also, these men were five times more likely than men who were calmer to have an early heart attack even if they didn’t have a family history of heart disease!

While it has been clear for a long time that anger damages relationships, the health problems associated with anger have never been made as clear. Anger not only hurts your relationships, it kills you!

Anger damages relationships more than any other single factor. It hurts people and creates mistrust. It causes your own children to fear you. And it perpetuates a way of being that’s a lie.

It’s a lie because there are many emotions floating around under your anger that are never discovered as long as the anger hides them. There’s a part of you that remains a mystery to you and to the world because it never sees the light of day.

And while there is some information for men on managing their anger, not many men seem to access it.

In fact, it tends to remain a very private matter for many men. A sense of failure and shame surrounds men who struggle with their temper. These feelings keep this a private matter, causing the cycle to stay the same or worsen.

And the simple truth about men improving their anger is that it’s a matter of choice. You no longer need to accept the notion that you’ve “got a temper,” and that’s the “way it is.”

Here are some options for men seeking to improve themselves:

  • You are the only one who can make you angry—accept this responsibility and you’ve a come a long way towards getting better.
  • Write down the irrational thinking that contributes to your anger (people should always treat me kindly, etc.). Ask yourself where you developed this thinking and give yourself some alternative thoughts that are more productive.
  • Become more aware of tuning into your body when you begin to become angry. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is a great way to do this. The ideas is to focus on you, not the “target” of the anger.
  • Prepare yourself before a stressful situation and “practice” your new, calmer response to it. Be aware that it might take some time to feel comfortable with this new response.
  • Find the stressors in your life that might be contributing to your anger—do what you can to reduce these stressors and add some self-care into your life.

When we talk about health hazards for men, we may need to include anger alongside fast food and a lack of exercise among factors that can shorten men’s lives.

Managing your anger is a learnable skill, and it benefits everyone around you.

More importantly, it may save your life.  

Mark Brandenburg writes a column for menstuff.org. He has a Masters degree in counseling psychology and has been a counselor, business consultant, sports counselor, and a certified life and business coach. He has worked with individuals, teams, and businesses to improve their performance for over 20 years. Prior to life and business coaching Mark was a world-ranked professional tennis player and has coached other world-ranked athletes. He has helped hundreds of individuals to implement his coaching techniques. Mark specializes in coaching men to balance their lives and to improve the important relationships in their lives. He is the author of the popular e-books, 25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers , and Fix Your Wife in 30 Days or Less (And Improve Yourself at the Same Time ). Mark is also the publisher of the “Dads Don’t Fix your Kids” ezine for fathers. To sign up, go to www.markbrandenburg.com or E-Mail him

Why men are lonelier in America than elsewhere - 12/29/21


Are isolated men driving American women up the wall? A recent sketch on “Saturday Night Live”, which refers to studies concluding that males in America are increasingly friendless, suggests that they are. A young woman, frustrated by her boyfriend’s inability to open up to anyone else, takes him by the hand and leads him to a “man park” (like the dog version) where, after a shy start, he finds fellow males to make friends with. Some viewers disliked the likening of men to dogs, but the sketch, which went viral online, illustrates fresh concerns about an old worry: the loneliness of American men.

As people in rich countries work longer hours, marry later and spend more time with their children, not friends, research suggests loneliness is increasing. A study by the University of Pennsylvania found a direct link between social-media usage and loneliness. More time spent online means less time building friendships.

The problem may be particularly severe in America. A large international study by British academics found that people in individualistic countries (a measure on which America scores highest) reported greater loneliness. America also has one of the highest divorce rates; men may be more likely to lose mutual friends after a split. A strong work ethic and geographical mobility (meaning friendships are liable to be lost or weakened as people relocate) is likely to exacerbate the problem.

A survey published in 2021 by the Survey Centre on American Life, part of the American Enterprise Institute, a think-tank, found that friendship groups have shrunk in the past three decades. The decline has been particularly marked among men. In 1990, 55% of American men reported having at least six close friends; today only 27% do. The survey found that 15% of men have no close friendships at all, a fivefold increase since 1990.

Those who study male loneliness believe that a particularly American version of masculinity is in part to blame. Since 1990 Robert Garfield, a psychotherapist and author of “Breaking the Male Code”, has run “friendship labs”, men’s therapeutic groups, which have shown him that men crave emotional connection. But American boys, says Dr Garfield, who has also run such groups in Europe, are often taught that successful men exhibit particular traits—restraint, independence, competitiveness—at the expense of others.

As women’s and LGBT rights have advanced in recent decades, along with more emotional ways of connecting with others, “men are being asked to stretch themselves”, Dr Garfield says. Over time, this is likely to have a positive effect on the way men relate to each other, but at the moment, “males are in a fighting phase”.

Marc Schapiro, a 24-year-old English teacher from Maryland, agrees. He says he was taught male friendship is “stoic and lacking outward affection”. But now he sees a different portrayal of friendship on social media, particularly by women and LGBT people. He would love, he says, to be able to “show more affection and drop the constant snide comments and ribbing”, but he finds the disconnect between what he grew up believing about friendship and how he sees other people relating to each other unsettling. The “quasi-socialising” he and his friends do online, via games and various message boards, meets no real need, he adds.

All this comes at a heavy cost. Suicide is more common among young men than young women. Niobe Way, a psychologist at New York University who studies adolescent male friendship and is the author of “Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection”, says it is no coincidence this divergence begins to happen around the age that many boys move away from close friendships. In childhood, she says, boys tend to be as open as girls about their need for friends. As they get older, they “feel they have to get into a gender straitjacket” and define their masculinity primarily as not being feminine. By the age of 15, many boys start saying they don’t need friends and worrying that close friendships will make them seem “girly”. This “clash of culture and nature”, Dr Way says, is much more marked among white boys than black ones.

The effects are far-reaching. Research has linked loneliness to poor health. It can make men angry and violent. Male loneliness also affects women. Dr Garfield observes that two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women, many of whom complain their husbands are emotionally incompetent. “There’s nothing new about that, but women are increasingly unlikely to put up with it,” he says. ¦

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “Oh man!”
Source:
www.economist.com/united-states/2022/01/01/why-men-are-lonelier-in-america-than-elsewhere

Ozy: TODAY 1/27/22


It’s an interesting time to be a man. Expectations are changing. Bad actors are being held accountable for their toxic behavior. Powerful men are recognizing that they can’t always get away with unacceptable actions. “In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn,” former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said as he announced his resignation last summer after a probe commissioned by the state attorney general concluded that he had sexually harassed a large number of women. “There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate.”

So how do we teach the next generation of boys to be better stewards of the changing times? From toxic masculinity to sexual fluidity, today’s Daily Dose explores the future of manhood, introducing you to the societal shifts and faces of change redefining the male identity.

TROUBLING TRENDS

1 - Sound of Silence

Hush. Don’t talk about it. That’s long been one of the trademarks of toxic masculinity when it comes to a subject that’s often swept under the carpet across the world: male victims of sexual violence. Nearly a quarter of American men experience contact sexual violence during their lifetime. And 1 in 4 men who are victims of rape or attempted rape first experience it when they’re between the ages of 11 and 17. Yet while sex crimes against women go underreported, men are even less likely to speak up about sexual violence they’ve faced, according to the World Health Organization.

2 - Mental Health Pandemic

But it isn’t just sexual violence. Some 6 million American men battle depression every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. But they’re much less likely to seek help compared to women. Instead, men struggling with mental health often try to self-medicate, turning to drugs and alcohol to hide their problems. But the problems don’t go away. Deaths from suicide in the U.S. are four times higher for men compared to women.

3 - The Underlying Problem

The COVID-19 pandemic has only underscored how deep-seated gender identities can hurt not just individuals who subscribe to them but entire societies. Multiple studies have shown that men are less likely to wear protective masks or to maintain social distancing compared to women. In Hong Kong during the SARS outbreak and in Mexico City during the H1N1 crisis, similar scenarios were observed. To some, it’s just not cool. To others, any sign of vulnerability runs counter to their idea of masculinity. Yet having good friends can help counteract toxic masculinity, a recent Australian study suggests. It found a direct correlation between decreased positive support from friends and traits that foster bullying and misogynistic and homophobic behaviors.

FACES OF CHANGE

1 - Jason Rogers

A romance book club . . . for men? That’s what former Olympic fencer Jason Rogers started in 2019 after getting inspired by Lyssa Kay Adams’ novel The Bromance Book Club . The idea is to get men together, discussing romance, love, intimacy — subjects that have traditionally been seen as feminine — through books. “It’s an interesting mechanism to get guys to question their ideas and perceptions of gender norms, especially gender norms in relationships,” Rogers tells OZY. “It has served as a bridge to get us into really important discussions about love, sex and intimacy that guys aren’t really having.” It’s the opposite of locker room talk. And it’s about time.

2 - William Jackson Harper

Emerging faces in Hollywood are doing their part to change societal assumptions of masculinity. Harper, best known as Chidi in the Emmy-winning NBC sitcom The Good Place, takes the stereotype of a male lead and rips it apart in his role as an indecisive philosophy professor. “I think realizing that there are certain ideas of Blackness and certain ideas of maleness that sort of pervade a lot of art and media, I like to subvert that when I can,” Harper told OZY on The Carlos Watson Show.

Watch now

3 - Adebayo Oke-Lawal

The Nigerian designer is defying his conservative country’s deep-rooted traditional views of masculinity with a gender-fluid clothing brand that has become wildly popular — in a nation where same-sex marriages are banned and gay groups are criminalized. Orange Culture deliberately embraces styles and fabrics perceived as effeminate to challenge mainstream notions of what men should wear.

4 - Thomas Page McBee

What about trans men? As he started pumping his body with testosterone in 2010, Thomas Page McBee knew he wasn’t a woman, and transitioning to a man was something he had to do. But he was scared: He associated men with violence, and that’s not what he wanted to become. More than a decade later, McBee is a leading trans voice using that unique perspective of transitioning to not just spotlight toxic masculinity but to address it with sensitivity. He has even been in a boxing match at New York’s Madison Square Garden in a bid to understand the need for violence that many men feel. It’s an unconventional approach. Maybe that’s what we need.

A SOCIETAL SHIFT

1 - Genderless Language

Can changing the way we speak alter the gender stereotypes we otherwise grow up with? Yes, suggests a growing slate of research. According to a 2011 study, societies with genderless languages — such as Finnish, Chinese and the Bantu language system of Africa — have less gender inequality than countries with languages in which gender is central. That’s why Spain’s socialist government has proposed rewriting its constitution in gender-neutral language, while Argentina’s Parliament is debating whether to make such words mandatory for its proceedings. But it’s a divisive subject, with similar initiatives in France and Germany facing pushback.

2 - It’s Good to Cry

From the American Psychological Association through powerful public service videos to the emergence of academic programs focused on masculinity studies, there’s a growing movement working to destigmatize the need for mental health care among men . . . and the need to cry. While the taboos around gender and mental health are problematic in the U.S., they’re even more entrenched in several other parts of the world, including the Middle East and South Asia. There is a good reason for those stigmas to be torn apart: They’re unhealthy. Research has shown a direct correlation between repressive coping mechanisms like holding back tears and cardiovascular diseases.

3 - And Bathe

It’s also about having fun while breaking down stereotypes. That’s what a growing number of groups are doing, reimagining activities traditionally considered feminine. Take Men Who Take Baths, a group founded in 2017 amid the #MeToo movement. It facilitates conversations on how to become better men . . . through interviews conducted in bathtubs.

4 - Men Teaching Men

If the examples of Jason Rogers, Adebayo Oke-Lawal, Thomas Page McBee and William Jackson Harper tell us anything, it’s that men need to — and can — lead the way in redefining masculinity. Men need to rethink what to teach boys moving forward. Thankfully, a growing number of organizations, initiatives and programs — including at universities — are trying to help men do just that through peer-to-peer learning.

5 - Sexing It Up

If the problem is the misguided notion that seeking mental health care is weak, effeminate and unattractive to an intimate partner, why not flip that script? From TikToks to women publicly speaking up about how they’ll only date men who seek self-help and therapy when needed, the conversation is changing.
Source:
mail.aol.com/webmail-std/en-us/suite

Olympian Vincent Zhou on masculinity, skating, mental health and ‘strict’ parents 2/3/22


“There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging your deepest thoughts or your deepest emotions,” he said in an interview before a positive Covid test forced him to drop out of the men’s competition at the Beijing Olympics.

Olympic figure skater Vincent Zhou’s career has no shortage of memorable performances, but among his most celebrated is a stunning 2019 routine set to Joji’s “Slow Dancing in the Dark.” At one point, Zhou, dripping with angst, drops down to his knees and slides across the ice as the song hits its climax.

“I recall receiving plenty of messages on Instagram about just how emotionally impactful that performance was,” the athlete said of the routine that went viral and earned him a shoutout from Joji himself. “That made me really, really happy to see that people could relate to it and find something to embrace in it.”

The performance remains an example of Zhou's skating style, one that draws upon vulnerability and emotion as a source of strength. It’s something he hopes to convey as one of 16 skaters competing on Team USA at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, which officially begins on Friday.

Since the story was published, Zhou tested positive for Covid-19 and won’t be able compete in the men’s individual competition.

Now 21, Zhou was the youngest athlete on Team U.S. at the last Winter Games, in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018, where he finished sixth. Since then, he has grown up in the public eye, having weathered the world stage against the backdrop of an immigrant family upbringing. Going into his second Olympics, Zhou has some reflections that come from confronting the intense pressures and joys of his art.

“There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging your deepest thoughts or your deepest emotions,” Zhou told NBC Asian America. “There’s nothing wrong with being an honest person, you know?”

The athlete, who made history as the first person to land a quadruple lutz at the Winter Games, has been skating since he was 5, first stepping onto the ice at a friend’s birthday party. Though the art form quickly evolved into a fierce passion, with Olympic dreams in his mind’s eye from a young age, Zhou acknowledged that some dismiss his sport, driven by the overemphasis on masculinity in society.

“There’s that stereotype where people look at skaters and they’re like, ‘Oh, they’re ballerinas in tutus,’ or stuff like that or, ‘all guys who do figure skating are gay,’” Zhou said. “I think those are all pretty ignorant perspectives.”

Experts have said that Asian men, in particular, must deal with emasculation, or being cast as effeminate and weak. Even Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese hitter and pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels who has excelled in baseball, a sport that’s traditionally recognized as a masculine by Western standards, was seen as an insufficient representative of the sport by some, like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. Constancio Arnaldo Jr., an assistant professor of Asian and Asian American studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, previously told NBC Asian America that it’s likely that some felt Ohtani’s Asianness contested age-old ideas of what a dominant, powerful athlete looks like.

“It’s about masculinity," Arnaldo said. "Asian and Asian Americans are always seen as not masculine enough."

But Zhou, who was born in San Jose, California, to Chinese immigrants, said he believes that tremendous strength and fortitude is required to produce the beauty and emotion in ice skating, and that often gets overlooked. And perhaps it’s time to stop judging the legitimacy of sports and the ability of its athletes through this lens of Western masculinity.

“It’s a beautiful thing to have the athleticism to be able to do quadruples, which are essentially the limit of what’s physically possible in skating right now, but also to be able to give a beautiful performance and have great lines on the ice and have an appreciation for artistry,” Zhou said. “It’s just a sport. It’s just a thing that we all enjoy. I don’t think there’s a reason to make it about, ‘Guys have to be guys and girls have to be girls.’”

Zhou, who’s also a student at Brown University, speaks with a wisdom that he said has come after moments of significant triumph, but also struggle. Zhou said he and his mother packed up their bags and moved to Colorado when he was 8 so he could train with “better coaches and better conditions,” and he spoke openly about the mental health struggles he contended with in his adolescence.

Zhou said that he spent three years skating on a torn meniscus, which eventually required surgery. Recovery was particularly difficult, he remembers. At the time, Zhou was confined to his house, isolated from friends and kept off the ice. The athlete was subsequently left alone with his thoughts, feeling as though he had lost an opportunity of making the Olympic team one day and “achieving greatness,” Zhou explained.

“I would say I had pretty severe depression. I never had a formal diagnosis because back then, 10 years ago, resources for that weren’t readily available, especially for kids,” Zhou said. “I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemies. It’s really a struggle, and my heart goes out to anybody who’s going through that.”

At the time he also felt trapped, he said, by some of the rules imposed by his “strict Chinese parents” — a common gripe among many children of immigrants who find themselves navigating the pressures of adolescence through both American culture and their heritage. But Zhou got himself not only back on the ice, but in a healthier mental space by turning to nature and proactively looking for inspiration. He also said he reassessed the tensions he felt with his parents. Many of the clashes were communication breakdowns, sometimes cultural ones, that required empathy to unpack, he said.

“If your parents are trying to set you on the right track, even if they have a different way of going about it than you … sometimes try to see what they’re actually saying,” Zhou said. Parents will say emotional things, but look under that. What are they actually trying to say to you? They’re trying to say, ‘We want you to succeed, we want you to have the best chance at getting a good job and starting a family one day,’ or whatever it may be. There’s always something to be grateful for.”

He emphasized that though his parents have come off as demanding in the past, their devotion to him has remained unquestionable. And ultimately, whenever he’s succeeded, they are the first people he thinks of.

“Achieving a certain level of success gives a person some perspective on how things are,” Zhou said. “And when I am standing on a podium, hearing the national anthem being played and having a medal placed around my neck, my thoughts … always go back to the people who helped me along the way.”

However, Zhou also wants to dispel the myth that strict Asian parents are the sole fuel to his success, rather than his own love of the sport. The trope, he explained, removes agency from the athlete themselves. And at the end of the day, if “we truly don’t want to do it, we’re not going to do it.”

“No matter what, it always takes a village to bring an athlete to the Olympic level. And it’s impossible to keep going at that level if you don’t love what you’re doing,” Zhou said. “While people might say, ‘This person’s parents forced them to do this,’ … when we’re on the ice, we’re the only people in control of our own bodies and minds.”

Zhou added: “I hope that people watching skating can see the passion that we have for the sport.”
Source:
www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/olympian-vincent-zhou-masculinity-skating-mental-health-strict-parents-rcna14663?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=27170b3f-fc65-454c-84fc-450f2e0edf22&sl_gr=grp_youthandyoungadultissues

8:19
Man in a Box

Man in a Box – The Traditional Definition of Masculinity - 10/10/12


Keith Edwards October 10, 2012 Blog, Men & Masculinities, Sexual Violence Prevention, Social Justice Education 14 12553

I’ve often used the Man in the Box activity, which I believe was created by Paul Kivel, to help participants in workshops illustrate the social expectations on men. Below is a video of this activity using the responses from my research participants and highlighting the role of misogyny and homophobia in policing the expectations of men and the intersections of other forms of oppression.

Traditional Hegemonic Definition of Masculinity (THDM) is a wordy way of describing the external expectations of men that society places on us. This definition is “traditional” in that it is rooted in long held cultural ways of defining what it means to be a man. It is “hegemonic” in that is places men above people of other genders AND some men above other men. It defines some men above other men in the ways it intersects with classism, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and other forms of oppression. One of the ways racism works is trying to emasculate men of color for their skin color and culture. One of the ways classism works is by emasculating working class men for the status of their job, the cars they drive, and the clothes they wear. And so on.

Man in a Box

Homophobia, misogyny, racism, classism, ableism, antisemitism

Traditional Hegemonic Definition of Masculinity

This definition of masculinity is reinforced in many ways, but two primary was are through misogyny and homophobia. Misogyny is the hatred of women and homophobia is the hatred and gays and lesbians or those who label in that way. Now that sounds academic and complicated but two five year old boys can illustrate this for you on the playground. One five year old boy throws the ball and it doesn’t go very far. The other five year old boy yells, “Man you throw like a girl!” That is misogynistic because if being a girl weren’t bad it wouldn’t be an effective insult. The boy who was called a girl responds by yelling something homophobic at his friend. Now, it is likely that this five year old boy has no idea what that word means, let alone the history of hatred, violence, and aggression associated with that word. However, he knows that when he feels emasculated by misogyny, that responding with homophobia is a way that he can try and prop up his masculinity according to the traditional hegemonic definition of masculinity.

If that is what we know about masculinity at five years old, imagine how well we are trained to call each other “girl” and “gay” by the time we are 18 years old and in college. Imagine how we have to constantly escalate the violence and aggression in calling each other “girl” and “gay” in order for that to have an effect if we’ve been calling and been called that all of our conscious lives. This definition of masculinity is part of creating a patriarchal system that perpetuates, contributes to, and reinforces patriarchy. This is how the traditional hegemonic definition of masculinity oppresses people of other genders, marginalizes some men, and limits all men.
Source:
www.keithedwards.com/2012/10/10/man-in-a-box-the-traditional-hegemonic-definition-of-masculinity/

“Putting My Man Face On” – College Men’s Gender Identity


Keith Edwards March 20, 2013 Blog, Leadership, Men & Masculinities, Sexual Violence Prevention, Social Justice Education, Student Affairs 8 2455

For nearly 15 years I’ve been studying, analyzing, and researching how college men experience their gender identity. Specifically I’ve been looking to better understand how they identify as men, how that changes over time, and what influences those changes. This research is both empirical, grounded in data, and personal, grounded in my own experiences as a man.

I conducted a series of in-depth interviews with 10 college men who represented a variety of social group identities (particularly race, class, and sexual orientation) and a variety of college experiences (e.g. RA, Black campus leadership, scholarship football player, LGBT campus leadership, service focused, sexual assault prevention educator, fraternity men, and Latino campus leadership).

Each participant shared with me how they felt they were expected to behave according to outside expectations of them as men and their own personal definition of manhood. Eventually, each participant shared with me their secret. The secret was that they didn’t feel that they always measured up to those expectations and so they faked it by putting on a performance or wearing a mask. Each participant thought they were the only one who did this and that it came naturally to other men.

They put on this mask for two reasons.

The first was to cover up who they really were because they didn’t feel that it would measure up to others expectations. Because of the impossible and unrealistic expectations society has for men they felt insecure for just about any reason – too big AND not big enough, not smart enough AND too smart, etc. The second was to portray an image to others that would meet these external expectations – an image that was confident, stoic, unemotional, strong, etc.

As college men they summarized the specific expectations of them in one word – “partying.” This included drinking to excess, doing drugs, breaking rules, having competitive heterosexual sex, and not preparing academically. Those of us who work on college campuses see the ways these performances play out in individual incidents and over time.

As educators we can easily be frustrated with men’s behaviors, especially when we have been hurt by men and these behaviors in the past. The challenge for us is to do what we can to reach the man behind the mask and hold him accountable for his behavior while affirming who he really is. This is especially challenging when he won’t show you who is behind the mask.

Men’s performances while wearing the mask has consequences for people of other genders, our relationships with other men, and our own humanity and authenticity.

The most obvious of these are the consequences for people of other genders – women, trans, and gender non-conforming folks. Interacting with men who are feeling insecure and who get messages that proving their manhood is often about heterosexual sexual conquest affects relationships with women at best and leads to sexual and other violence at worst. It also affects our relationships with other men, becoming an obstacle to our relationships with friends who are men and our fathers.

Finally, when we perform to external expectations that aren’t who we really are we lose our authenticity. When we deny aspects of who we really are because it doesn’t fit with external expectations (crying when moved, being vulnerable, etc.) we sacrifice our own humanity.

The college men I interviewed did describe times when they were able to remove the mask and be their full selves. Some things that helped them be able to temporarily remove the mask were critical academic courses, facing major life decisions, experiencing and surviving emasculating trauma, and even the interviews themselves helped them better live their lives as the men they aspired to be.

I began my research thinking that we needed to teach college men a different way of being a man. What I learned instead is that they already know a different way – it is who they really are under the mask. What we need to do is give men permission to stop being the man they feel they have to be and grant them permission to be who they really are. That’s what the data tells me. That’s what my own life experiences have told me as well. How about you?
Source: 
www.keithedwards.com/2013/03/20/putting-my-man-face-on-college-mens-gender-identity-development/

Work is broken. Can we fix it?


The Future of Work issue of the Highlight looks at the workers Americans dubbed “essential” and then largely left behind in the work revolution. Can we make work better for the nation’s crucial workforce?

“We often begin to understand things only after they break down. This is why, in addition to being a worldwide catastrophe, the pandemic has been a large-scale philosophical experiment,” Jonathan Malesic, author of The End of Burnout: Why Work Drains Us and How to Build Better Lives, writes in this month’s issue of the Highlight.

What has broken down, of course, is work, and what American workers, policymakers, and employers now can see plainly are the countless truths the pandemic laid bare: that productivity does not actually require an air-polluting, hourlong daily drive to a soulless downtown office building; that a fair and just society ought not put the poorest, most vulnerable Americans in danger in the name of capitalism; that the entire economy might just be held together by a rapidly dwindling sea of people — child care workers — earning roughly $13 an hour, with no benefits.

In this month’s Future of Work issue, the Highlight and Recode teamed up to explore the precarity faced by those workers whom the Great Resignation did not offer much in the way of increased power or security. We look beyond simply what is broken about their working lives, asking policy experts and workers themselves: What could make work better?

In our cover story, Rani Molla and Emily Stewart talk to those whose jobs, in this supposedly revolutionary time for worker power, haven’t changed for the better. For many who don’t have the luxury of working from home — farmers, food servers, truck drivers, teachers, home health aides, housekeepers, bank tellers, and others — slightly higher wages are masking more difficult and dangerous working conditions they expect will only continue into the so-called future of work.

The pandemic also showed Americans just how reliant the economy is on child care, and how incredibly fragile that industry is. Turnover is high. Making ends meet is impossible. The very people who need child care to allow them to work often are those without the means to afford it. Vox shadows one care worker over the course of a day that proves both joyful and exhausting in order to better understand the work that ensures other Americans can do their jobs.

Though Malesic has become a well-known voice calling for an overhaul of work — he’s called it a “bad bargain” for many — he has found, perhaps surprisingly, that many Americans want to find their jobs meaningful, even if that meaning has lately come with stress and exploitation. In this issue, he explores what it might take to create a future in which we aren’t so reliant on work to live and could instead be freed to derive satisfaction from it.

Perhaps no employer in the past 50 years has transformed consumer expectations quite like e-commerce giant Amazon. Those changes have begun shifting what work is like, too, not only for the 1.1 million people Amazon directly employs, but also for its vast network of contractors — and for people working for the many companies that want to emulate Amazon’s methods for making its workforce and workflows hyper-efficient.

Finally, the Future of Work issue looks at Gen Z and its penchant for fearlessly posting about capitalism, labor, and employer behavior online, and we ask journalist and author Eyal Press about the nation’s worst, most exploitative jobs and just how complicit the rest of us are when others must do our “dirty work” for us.

A mirror reflection shows the same woman, one young and one older, mopping a checkered floor. In the background a french fry container transitions from red to blue and has a circuit board pattern on it.
Source:
www.vox.com/features/23013380/work-is-broken-can-we-fix-it

Why is the Idea of Privilege so Controversial? 9/1/2018


It seems so difficult for people in dominant groups to recognize the privileges their group has.

Though the concept of the privilege of the dominant group that’s based on culturally accepting their characteristics as the norm and others as deviants from a norm that’s somehow considered more natural, American, and human has been around for decades, its very mention to a person in those dominant groups often raises the level of a discussion’s seat.

People not a part of those dominant groups are regularly, and often silently, aware of what those phrases mean to their daily lives, but the dynamics of our culture’s intersection of the categories we use to divide people complicates the discussion.

And when government or other institutions act to mitigate privilege, those actions often evoke complaints of reverse discrimination. We see this in the stereotypical attacks on affirmative action – the often misunderstood but most conservative attempt to correct historical discrimination that the government could come up with – or the mainstream but inaccurate images we’re supposed to carry around about who receives the most “help” from the government.

Why is it difficult, then, for people in dominant groups to recognize the privileges their group has just for being the right color, sexual orientation, gender, class, religion, or body-type? Why is it almost a knee-jerk reaction to go into anecdotal-justifying denial?

First, we’d like to believe that we’re self-made people who’ve earned by our actions alone all that’s implied when the concept of privilege is raised. That’s, as historians point out, one of the most

It’s so ingrained, and so used by American leaders, that to point out all the help we’ve gotten – from the roads we ride on to the tax money others have paid into our education – is often interpreted as evidence of some sort of personal failure. Part of the loss of sense of community is the amnesia that forgets that we’ve benefited from that community.

And it’s a sad self-concept that can only accept one’s value if they’re “self-made” when everyone is a combination of their own achievement and what’s been handed to them. It not only negates one’s own reality, but teaches that any help we give someone is a sign that they’re actually failures.

Second, group identity is installed in us emotionally and with the fear that we might be isolated from that very group. We come to need the identity that the group gives us because we rely on it to define who we are.

So, when the privilege of that group is pointed out, our reaction is less likely to be a thoughtful consideration of the idea but an emotional response that could include guilt, shame, fear, and threatened loss. We can diminish those feelings quickly with anger, offense, denial, and a search for the opinions of others who reject the concept.

It’s often the case that the response is to go into one’s own victim talk, reciting how we of the dominant group have been victims of this person or that. We might even claim that the other group has it better – though few would thereby be willing to wake up the next morning with the identity of that non-dominant group.

I’ve often challenged people who say that LGBTQ people aren’t really discriminated against to try an experiment – for the next six months tell everyone around you that you’re LGBT or Q. But even assuring them that it’s only an experiment and six months later they can say “Just kidding,” no one who’s denied that there’s discrimination has yet taken me up on it.

Third, because our society is an intersection of multiple oppressions that each privilege a certain group, most people experience more than one. So when one privilege is pointed out, they’re often able to respond by how they’re the victims of another privilege as if that other non-privilege negates the original observation.

The most pervasive of these are the privileges of economic class. So if someone points out my white privilege, I can respond with examples about how class privilege has treated me and – here’s the misunderstanding – act as if I don’t have any privileges just because people identify me as white.

“Well, I’ve had it hard too” is often a response of how much more difficult everything is in our culture if you’ve not come from an economically upper-class family. And one of the functions of many of the other privileges is actually to keep the class system in place by dividing people from each other in terms of these other identities.

The American cultural system has a long history of preferring that we keep these arguments going so that the majority – working class people – doesn’t ever unite to bring down the powers that be who make money off of our divisions.

So, if I might get personal with a few everyday examples: I’m a white, non-heterosexual, ablebodied, man from a working class background. My white privilege means, for example, that when I walk around a store I don’t have to wonder if someone is following me expecting me to steal something or ever have to think about anything in terms of the pinkish-cream color of my skin.

As able-bodied, my privileges include that I never have to determine if a place I visit is accessible.

My male privileges include that people often pay attention to me when I say the same thing a woman has just said that listeners had let go or that I don’t have to respond to questions about my objectivity as a man when I write about gender issues.

Yet, I don’t have the privilege of never worrying about how someone will respond when I tell them about my partner. And I don’t have the privilege of not worrying about budgeting or falling into debt.

And I haven’t even touched on privileges that come with identifying with the right religion that’s afraid it’s losing those privileges and claiming they’re the ones being persecuted. But that’s another story.
Source: 
goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-is-the-idea-of-privilege-so-controversial-phtz/

War on Masculinity - 6/23/22


"If you don't initiate the boys they will return to burn down the village." -African Proverb

"A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has it under control." -Jordan Peterson

We live in unprecedented times. Men, boys, and the very essence of masculinity itself are under direct fire. The phrase "toxic masculinity" has seeped into the common vernacular in the past half-century in such an insidious fashion that it has taken control of how we define manhood publically and privately. Frankly, I'm sick of it. In the process of establishing much-needed equality between men and women, certain groups have taken these individualistic arguments to the extreme. They have thrown out traditional, tried-and-true gender qualities and replaced them with chaos instead. In the wake of the latest wave of feminist and gender non-binary movements, we are left with more confusion and destruction than ever before. The second leading cause of death for young people is suicide. The majority of these young people are male. Something needs to change in how we all (women and men) view masculinity.

One in three children from divorced families is estranged from their fathers. This is an extremely depressing statistic. Fathers provide essential elements in a child's development that mothers alone cannot. The masculine energy is like a river's banks. It provides the necessary structure for a child's character. Children preferentially emulate the exercise and self-care habits of their fathers. They rely on their fathers to feel safe and more self-reliant. They learn how to regulate their own interactions with other children better because of their fathers. If you want to create anti-social, violent children, you need only deprive them of their fathers. Given the latest national news, it is important to note that almost every perpetrator of a mass shooting had a poor relationship with his father. I say 'his' because every mass shooter you can think of was male. If we want fewer Sandy Hooks or Robb Elementary Schools, then we need more fathers in the lives of our children.

We have to stop the hatred of men. We have to stop blaming societal troubles on white male privilege. The social norms that exist in our cultures are much older than the history of Western civilization or the patriarchy. Norms, rituals, customs, languages, etc. are all ways to understand the forces that surround us and to gain some kind of harmony and utility in the process. One of these forces is the biological differences between males and females. Separate cultures developed around male and female identities in response to these blatant sexual dimorphisms. It is of the utmost importance that we learn to understand and respect them.

Femininity and masculinity are two different and essential parts of life. Equally important and intertwined. Yin and Yang. Whatever one pole does affects the other. For all intents and purposes, they are the same force. So what happens when you blame the patriarchy for all of today's inequalities and woes? You are simultaneously blaming the matriarchy. All of those who shame males for their behavior are also shaming mothers and daughters. This is why attacking toxic masculinity is unhelpful. It is actually a form of self-hatred. It is time for us to wake up to the destructive message we are sending to our boys. Instead, they need the positive message of noble masculinity. Boys need initiation rites. They need to be honored and encouraged to be strong providers and leaders. They need a group of fathers to help them navigate these transitions and to better understand the emotions involved. Mothers simply cannot do these things alone, nor should they.

Men who grow up with respectful models for fathers are less likely to mistreat women. The relationship is reciprocal, as women with good fathers are less likely to mistreat men. The key to establishing a healthy binary is honoring the strengths of that binary and accepting its weakness. Men are evolutionarily and biologically made to be more taciturn, more logic-based, more competitive, and more driven by sex. Women are made to be more communicative, more intuitive, more risk-averse, and more driven by safety. There is a little wiggle room in what these differences look like, but those are differences of degree, not kind. Men will make more money on average than women because men are naturally more competitive. Women are naturally more nurturing and biologically more inclined to child-rearing. One of the unfortunate side-effects of the last century of feminism is the pressure it has put on women to act more like men and on men to act more like women. As a result, we all lose.

I challenge each and every one of you to think long and hard today about your relationship with the masculine energy in your life. There are bad men out there who have done terrible things, but the fewer new ones we can create the better. The future will be a hard-fought battle for both men and women, but we must endeavor to fight it. We must restore our trust in traditional gender roles by focusing on more cohesive family dynamics. Women need good men to support them financially and emotionally so that they aren't under the impossible modern pressures to be both mothers and providers. Men need respect from good women so they don't abandon their family and benevolent natures and use their powers for destruction. This is a call to all men to step up to the challenge of being better providers, fathers, sons, and husbands. It is also a call to all women to engender and invite these characteristics in men. If it is a monster that we want to fight, then it is a monster that we will get. That is what happens when you declare war on masculinity. It fights back.
Source: www.chattanoogaholisticmedicine.com/post/soulful-sundays-war-on-masculinity

If just this one idea about manhood is changing, there's hope


t was a competitive nine-year-olds’ baseball game. Grandson’s team was in the process of experiencing their first loss of what was so far an eight-game season.

Watching a grandson thrive as a truly self-motivated, avid – and grampa would add gifted – baseball player who is supported without pressure by parents continued, even on that day, not only to be thrilling entertainment. It felt as if it were a gifted connection with a fast-growing boy I had spent cherished time with from day one.

His own joy in the game, often seen in his smiles while pitching and fielding, also brought back forgotten memories of good times with my own dad when he took me to the old Milwaukee Braves’ games at County Stadium back when bleacher seats were $5.

That evening’s game began with a bad night for the Coyote’s starting pitcher. He walked ten batters so that the top of the first inning ended at the league’s seven-run per inning limit. His second inning was hardly better.

His team has some surprisingly good nine-year-old pitchers whose pitches are quite fast and accurate. So, you could see that this young guy felt as if he had let all his teammates down (much less disappointed the team’s loyal fans) when he was relieved by a friend who was, instead, in his rhythm that night.

But “the damage,” as the sportscasters’ say, “had been done.” And when he retreated to the dugout, even as fans applauded his effort, this nine-year-old young man was crying.

There’s an old, popular, and I consider unhealthy, saying that’s repeated by those stuck promoting destructive, toxic, and shaming masculinity in sports: “There’s no crying in baseball.”

But no one, not one coach, and not one fan I could hear fell back on that. We all felt his disappointment along with him, but no one added to that disappointment by shaming him for those tears.

Grandson and his teammates have been fortunate since they began playing in kindergarten. They have experienced, so far, positive coaching that has made them better without masculine shaming.

No coach or parent in my presence has ever said to these boys that it’s wrong to cry. In fact, when one of them in first grade was injured and was carried off the field crying, one coach comforted him with: “I’d have cried even harder.”

So when I see his coaches walking to their cars with their fourth-grader sons while holding hands, I regain a hope for future generations that some of us are over the “big boys don’t cry” mentality.

For generations, male gender role conditioning has included the ridicule and humiliation of boys for their tears. It’s taught them thereby to ignore their natural feelings of hurt, fear, and confusion.

It’s taught them that anger is the male thing to feel instead. And no male has yet to be told that anger and violence are unmanly – but they sure have been told they’re somehow unmanly if they express those natural human emotions that are buried under that anger.

And where homophobia and heterosexism have diminished, at least in public discourse, we hear less and less of the gay slurs applied to men who openly express these basic emotions that are covered over with secondary ones permitted for manhood: anger and sexual arousal. Sadly often, though, such worn-out slurs are still voiced.

Putting boys out of touch with their feelings has been a useful tool of conditioning for societies for generations. It’s harder to go to war against another man or fight competitively to make another man lose, to beat up another man or to destroy him with ruthless business practices, to step over male bodies on the way to what will be declared a victory or convince oneself that the others deserve their unfortunate circumstances, if you know and do embrace the idea that you and these other men actually and legitimately feel hurt, fear, and confusion.

So, the more a man has been put out of touch with these feelings, the more he’s become convinced that feeling them is contrary to the rule that “big boys don’t cry,” the more he’s lost touch with his emotional connections to his fellow men, the easier it is to deny that any human damage is done to others and that he might have contributed to it.

I’m afraid that should grandson continue on what he’d like to be his career path, he’ll run into others who are still sold on the old feelingless manhood (except, of course, again, expressing all these emotions through anger and sexual desire). It’s still so much a built-in part of our cultural norms.

The extent that someone buys into all this is enforced by both men and women who do. Few men want to be deemed “unmanly” by the standards of the men around them.

Fear that other men judge them as less than manly and even in subtle or not so subtle ways will punish them if they don’t come across as manly enough by the old definitions is one way it’s all kept in place. Gay men know this fear and are more overtly punished for breaking that man code, but all men know what it means to be scared straight no matter what their sexual orientation.

Parents enforce the man code because they fear what can happen to their boys if they don’t live up to its standards. They’ve seen what has happened to any boy not manly enough in the past.

And women have been conditioned to somehow “need” a “real man.” Are they prepared for and secure with his tears, vulnerability, and a full set of human qualities and emotions when they’ve been told they need him to love and protect them and prove to them in the end that they’re lovable?

I want to believe there have been some changes in all of this, though my book Scared Straight: Why It’s So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It’s So Hard to be Human continues to explain so much of this for its readers even today.

I know that as long as for many it’s somehow less than manly to be gay, or less than feminine to be a lesbian, this prejudice will continue to be used to enforce the idea that men shouldn’t show feelings through tears. I know that as long as transgender people are humiliated and ridiculed because they defy the gender boxes that deny some of the human qualities to anyone based upon binary gender norms, there’ll be further pressure for everyone to monitor one’s feelings.

But I still hope that there will come a day when all emotions matter to anyone regardless of gender definition and that even in baseball there can be crying without shame.
Source: whosoever.org/if-just-this-one-idea-about-manhood-is-changing-theres-hope/

The Red Pill


When feminist filmmaker Cassie Jaye sets out to document the mysterious and polarizing world of the Men's Rights Movement, she begins to question her own beliefs. Jaye had only heard about the Men's Rights Movement as being a misogynist hate group aiming to turn back the clock on women's rights, but when she spends a year filming the leaders and followers within the movement, she learns the various ways men are disadvantaged and discriminated against. The Red Pill challenges the audience to pull back the veil, question societal norms, and expose themselves to an alternate perspective on gender equality, power and privilege. Watch here.

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A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men. Manhood coerced into sensitivity is no manhood at all. -- Camille Paglia

In things pertaining to enthusiasm, no man is sane who does not know how to be insane on proper occasions. -- Henry Ward Beecher 1813-1887

Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they've stayed true to their ideals and beliefs and commitments. -- Kevin Costner

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self. -- Hindu proverb

I once climbed an imaginary mountain because it wasn't there.

"I see the world where a dummy like me can broadcast loud and clear my dumminess by spending a small forture to wear someone else's name to achieve my identity."

Macho does not prove mucho. Zsa Zsa Gabor

By the time a man is thirty-five he knows that the images of the right man, the tough man, the true man which he received in high school do not work in life. - Robert Bly  

A very different view came from a description I read back in the late '70s. It is what I like to think makes "A real man" today. And, personally, I have worked since that time at becoming this man. I've only changed the deity to one that works for me. Use one or don't. What ever works for you. This was written by Star Hawk from her book The Spiral Dance. - Editor: Gordon Clay

"If man had been created in Spirit's image,
He would be free to be wild without being cruel,
Angry without being violent,
Sexual without being coercive,
Spiritual without being unsexed,
And able to truly love."
Starhawk

©2007-2022, www.ZeroAttempts.org/masculinity.html or https://bit.ly/3gPO15o
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