New guidlines from the American Psychological Association have declared masculinity 'harmful.' A post on the APA website explains:
Prior to the second-wave feminist movement in the 1960s, all psychology was the psychology of men. Most major studies were done only on white men and boys, who stood in as proxies for humans as a whole. 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.
Well, yeah. Masculinity and feminity are opposite ends of the spectrum and it is healthy to identity with your biological sex. Not according to the "mental health experts" at the APA, however. It continues:
...In 2007, researchers led by James Mahalik, PhD, of Boston College, found that the more men conformed to masculine norms, the more likely they were to consider as normal risky health behaviors such as heavy drinking, using tobacco and avoiding vegetables, and to engage in these risky behaviors themselves.
I confess I was a little excited to see "avoiding vegetable" listed as a "risky behavior." I had been feeling a bit lame and old recently because I don't do anything risky at all. But just when I was thinking about buying a motorcycle or joining an underground bare-knuckle boxing league, I discover that I'm already taking my life into my hands every time I skip the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday.
Anyway, the "main thrust" of recent research, according to the article, is that traditionally masculine traits, such as "stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression," are harmful. Among other things, we're told that all of these stoically aggressive men are reluctant to seek "self-care," including psychological care. I wonder: could it be that men are reluctant to consult psychologists in part because the psychological community has labeled us all disordered? It is possible that we do not feel particularly inclined to open up to someone who believes our most fundamental character traits are harmful?
That is, after all, the crux of these new guidelines. If stoicism, competitiveness and aggression are "on the whole harmful," then manhood itself is harmful. These traits are natural to men. Not every man has them to the same degree, and perhaps some men hardly display them at all, but in general, men are more emotionally reserved, more aggressive, more competitive, and more physically dominant. It didn't become this way because society engineered it. It already was this way, it has always been this way, and society simply noticed it.
We are witnessing the medicalization of masculinity. It starts early, when schoolboys are dosed with psychotropic drugs to keep them from acting like boys, and now it continues all the way into adulthood and beyond. The message to men and boys is clear: there is something wrong with you. It is not okay to be the way you naturally want to be. You must be different. You must be more like women.
We have grown accustomed to nodding obediently whenever psychologists or psychiatrists decree something. If they tell us that this or that personality or behavior is wrong or unnatural or harmful, we say, "Okay. Give us the drug to fix it." But it's time we start thinking for ourselves. These people are not gods. They are not qualified to decide how and what a person is supposed to be. It is their opinion that traditional masculinity is harmful. A philosophical, ideological opinion. Also a painfully stupid and dangerous opinion. There are many words you could use to describe the opinion, but two words you cannot use are "scientific" and "medical." They have gotten away with disguising a lot of philosophy and ideology in medical and scientific terms. Now they want to medicalize manhood itself. We shouldn't go along with it.