Throughout the week, we’ve talked about various mental health problems that most men deal with. It’s clearly an issue that we need to be more aware of and be more open about talking about — trust us, it’s important to voice things and not internalize them.
Problem is, too many men still think that there’s something wrong with speaking out about things on their mind. The real problem, though? Well, it might be as simple as toxic masculinity. That’s what a recent article in Healthline suggested, citing a new meta-analysis that was published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology.
According to the study, research confirmed that there’s a link between traditional masculinity and poor mental health — referred to as “toxic masculinity” by Healthline — with guys doing more harm than good believing in such masculine behavior.
This really shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the world (thankfully) continues to evolve. Between women speaking out about their (unfortunate) events from past experiences that were deemed sexiest, or worst, to men speaking out more about their mental health problems, guys unwilling to adapt tend to find themselves isolated. It’s no longer looked at as a sign of weakness for guys to speak up about their emotions.
The study, which was conducted by Indiana University and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, combined the data from 74 studies comprising nearly 20,000 subjects. The results showed that men who were closely linked to traditional masculinity were more likely to have mental health problems, while also being less likely to ask for help from people. This is a major problem, and here’s more info from the study, per Healthline, showing some of the results.
The large data set allowed the researchers to examine which 11 masculine norms were most harmful.
The two aspects most closely related to sexism, which psychologists refer to as “playboy” and “power over women,” were among those most closely linked to poor mental health outcomes.
Those who conform to the so-called “playboy” norm of masculinity, see women as sex objects and typically say they’d prefer to have many sex partners.
Those who conform closely to the “power over women” norm see women as unequal to men and in need of a controlling masculine influence.
A third masculine norm closely linked to poor mental health is “self-reliance.” Men who adhere to this norm prefer to solve problems themselves and not to ask others for help.
As mentioned above, times are (thankfully) changing, so these sexist norms lead men to feel alone or unaccepted. It’s more likely for someone to give a response and/or defend themselves against such sexist behavior, which can lead to the aforementioned isolation.
Being masculine has changed over the past few decades, moving away from the “boys club” mentality to more acceptance of everyone — which is, obviously a good thing. But, for those unwilling to adapt, it can lead to mental health problems and self-reliance, with a generation of younger men willing to pick up on certain parts of masculinity that are important to them.
It’s an interesting case study and shows how mental health problems can be present from our own surroundings and beliefs. To see more info about the topic and more from the study, head on over to Healthline.