"Toxic Masculinity": American Psychological Association Says it’s Bad to be a Man

"Toxic Masculinity": American Psychological Association Says it’s Bad to be a Man

Attention boys: bullying, homophobia, sexual harassment and abuse are all your fault, according to new guidelines published by the world’s largest association of psychologists.

While traditional gender roles – under which men are stoic, competitive, dominant and aggressive – have existed for millennia, the rise of social justice culture has seen a new phrase popularized in recent years: toxic masculinity.

This idea, that traditional male traits are ‘toxic’ and dangerous, has largely remained confined to feminist blogs and social sciences faculties, but now the American Psychological Association (APA) has jumped on board.

In the APA’s “first ever” set of guidelines to help psychologists work with men and boys, the association states that “traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful,” and “causes damage that echoes both inwardly and outwardly.”

But what is ‘traditional masculinity’ anyway? The APA says traditional masculinity is defined by “stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression.” It’s found in men’s resilience in the face of adversity and insistence on “looking tough” despite mental suffering, and in their tendency to handle emotional strain with anger.

According to the APA, “traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health.”

The association blames this masculinity for the fact that 90 percent of homicides in the US are committed by men, and for the fact that men are over three times more likely to die from suicide than women. Boys are also far more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls, and suffer harsher punishments for misbehaving in school.

As such, the APA is instructing psychiatrists to change how they talk to their male patients. Clinicians, the association says, must be aware of and challenge “dominant masculine ideals,” and “combat these forces.”

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