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    Men carrying rifles attend a "Freedom of Speech Rally Round II" across from the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix, Arizona in 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 January 2019

“Traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful,” the APA argues.

Traditional Masculinity Can Hurt Boys, the American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men, argues.

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Boys and men socialized to be competitive, dominant, and to hide their emotions (being though) are less likely to show vulnerability, seek help when needed, and practice self-care. Not surprisingly, men commit 90 percent of homicides in the United States and are 3.5 times more likely than women to die by suicide.

Forty years of research are showing that traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful and that socializing boys to suppress their emotions causes damage that echoes both inwardly and outwardly.

Despite the science behind the APA’s long-overdue guideline (guidelines for treating girls and women have been around since 2007) conservatives have lashed against the Association.

The National Review slammed the APA’s “war against” traditional masculinity with a tone-deaf preamble on “grown-ass man” winning a football match and men’s “essential nature.”

And the Daily Wire accused APA of choosing politics over science and forgetting how “traditional masculinity built Western civilization.” Via Twitter, a man attributed the “collapse” of the west to the growing questioning of traditional notions of masculinity.

In the 1960s, “researchers assumed that masculinity and femininity were opposite ends of a spectrum, and ‘healthy’ psychology entailed identifying strongly with the gender roles conferred by a person’s biological sex,” Stephanie Pappas explained in an APA article.

Much has changed since then thanks to the rise of feminism and gender studies.

Today, or at least since August 2018, the largest network of psychologists in the U.S. is urging clinicians to recognize that masculinities are “constructed based on social, cultural, and contextual norms”, identify their own potential biases, understand how power, privilege, and sexism work both by conferring benefits to men and by trapping them in narrow roles.

Therapists and psychologists are also called to encourage men to protect their own health, offering services sensitive to the socialization they have undergone.

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