There are certain traditional views that most people feel the obligation to stick to. Out of all those, the most discussed is probably the sexist images. Men feeling the need to maintain a macho playboy-like image, objectifying women every now and then, and taking pride in doing so is one of the most abundant stereotypes. The latest study carries bad news for all those adhere to the aforementioned image.
The study in concern is a result of analysing 74 independent research conducted over the past 10 years on males ranging from the age of 17 to 65. The studies were specifically focused at relating men’s traditional views to their mental health.
What was found in the study is that the more that men conformed to masculine norms the poorer their mental health, and the less likely they were to seek mental health services. A team of researchers focused on data concerning the embrace of 10 different types of so-called “masculine norms,” including:
- a desire to win,
- retaining emotional control,
- taking risks,
- engaging in violence,
- exerting dominant behaviour especially over the opposite sex,
- participating in a “playboy” lifestyle,
- being self-reliant,
- elevating work to the highest level of importance,
- maintaining a disdain for homosexuals,
- pursuing the idea of “social status”.
An embrace of such norms was stacked up against the risk of developing a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, stress, body image issues, and difficulty in socialising with others.
The scientists found that men who adhere to masculine norms are overall in a worse state of mental health and less motivated to seek psychological help. Key demographic and external factors, such as race, age, and sexual orientation, were not found to have any effect on the overall inference.
However, on further analysis, the team found that educational background varied between the subjects of different studies, with a stronger association between the favouring of masculine norms and mental health problems seen among adults who lacked a college or further education.
When enquired, the team reported that 4 of the 10 “masculine traits” had more bearing on the finding of the test than any other. The traits are retaining emotional control, feeling the need to dominate women, self-reliance, and promiscuous behaviour.
Risk-taking was associated with both poor and mental health and overall healthy mind.
It was also observed that conforming to masculine norms was more likely to be associated with being lonely, hostile or having problems socialising than it was to a risk for depression and anxiety.
However, the team was clear that these findings were associative rather than a direct cause-and-effect phenomenon.
It can be said that these norms are increasingly being rejected by one and all, and thought of as outdated. It means that some men might be discouraged of this kind of behaviour by people who are uncomfortable with the norms.
If you were maybe sexually promiscuous in the past, your partner might have just tolerated that. But today you might be called out publicly for it. So it could be much more stressful for a playboy today than it would’ve been in the past.