Masculinity is in flux. Recent articles into the effects of toxic masculinity on the male psyche have revealed the extent to which men are both the jailors and prisoners of their own emotional wellbeing. Traditional gender stereotypes that encourage men to compete with other men and dominate women (and other men) by being aggressive, worldly, insensitive, physically imposing, ambitious, and demanding can cause long term damaging effects as they do not allow the ability for weakness or emotional expression and connection to occur.
This toxic masculinity plays out in the disdain for anything that is coded feminine or homosexual. Boys in the playground are still humiliated and insulted with calls of “don’t be a girl” or “don’t be a sissy”. They are constantly told “boys don’t cry” and “to man up”. This type of socialisation normalises violence and aggressive behaviour and quietly endorses it with phrases like “boys will be boys”. This curtailing of male feeling continues into adulthood with men continually being told to toughen up instead of to open up.
This adherence to traditional masculine ideals and rigid gender roles is connected to increased incidences of depression and suicide in men and to violence against women, including sexual assault and domestic violence. This toxic masculinity tells men there is only one way to be a man, that he must be dominant, aggressive and devoid of any emotion. It forces men to live within the constraints of rigid and narrow gender roles and harms both women and men.
Magazines, TV, films and the Internet are full of these negative gender stereotypes. Media often portray the ideal man to be muscular and by implication strong, tough and stoic. However the pressure to obtain and maintain the body beautiful portrayed by these images has led to an increase in body dissatisfaction for men and young adults. Many men are very concerned about their own physique and feel pressure to gain weight and become more toned. They were significantly more likely to become depressed and take part in behaviors like alcohol, steroid and drug use.
Suicide is now the leading cause of death for Australian men aged 15-44 and male suicide rates are three times that of women. It appears the pressure to look, act, and harden up may be making some men crack.details:Materials: Canson Platine Photo Rag Print and Vinyl Print