“Masculinity” may not be the easiest thing to define, but the American Psychological Association (APA) — which is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States — is now saying that instilling “traditional masculinity” in boys and men is harmful to their psychological health and the overall prosperity of society.
A few months ago, the APA released a 36-page document titled “APA Guidelines for the Psychological Practice With Boys and Men.” That document and the study results it discusses are highlighted in the latest issue of Monitor on Psychology magazine.
You might know of “traditional masculinity” by the more common term “toxic masculinity” — basically the idea that boys and men should suppress their emotions, should rail against femininity, should never appear weak and should attempt to appear adventurous, risk-taking and maybe even violent when “called for.”
The APA has found this “traditional masculinity” actually limits men’s psychological development, leads to conflict and can even “negatively influence mental health and physical health.”
This “traditional masculinity” (or “toxic masculinity”) can be linked to more aggressive boys and men, misogyny and homophobia. Specifically, these notions of masculinity “may influence boys to direct a great deal of their energy into disruptive behaviors such as bullying, homosexual taunting and sexual harassment rather than healthy academic and extracurricular activities.”
That, of course, results in serious consequences for everyone. Just look at these scary statistics concerning men: They’re four times more likely than women to die of suicide (that’s a worldwide statistic); men are far more likely than women to be arrested and charged with domestic violence; and men commit around 90% of all homicides (a U.S. statistic).
So enough with the “traditional masculinity,” people!
Instead, let’s raise our children and support men who treat everyone — people of all genders and orientations — as human beings. Our life together on planet Earth depends on it!