APA says ‘masculinity identity’ is linked to homophobia and misogyny in new report
According to NBC News, for the first time in its 127 years of existence, the American Psychological Association has issued guidelines to address the issues that specifically plague men and boys in American society. The 36-page document opens up with a warning that “Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health.”
Titled “Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men“, it provides a definition of masculinity ideology as “a particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.”
The new guidelines are highlighted in the APA’s magazine, Monitor on Psychology, wherein they link the defined ideology to a host of issues affecting and perpetuated by men, including homophobia, misogyny, homicide, intimate partner violence, and increased suicide rates. The report also discusses the power and privilege inherent in being born male in American society, but also notes how these privileges can also work against men: “Men who benefit from their social power are also confined by system-level policies and practices as well as individual-level psychological resources necessary to maintain male privilege. Thus, male privilege often comes with a cost in the form of adherence to sexist ideologies designed to maintain male power that also restrict men’s ability to function adaptively.”
Jared Skillings, a psychologist and the APA’s chief of professional practice, told NBC News, “Masculinity ideology represents a set of characteristics that are unhealthy for men — men who are sexist or violent or don’t take care of themselves.”
The report also notes how internalized disorders like depression are overlooked in men, while they much more likely to be diagnosed with what it describes as “externalizing disorders” such as ADHD, which often relies on medication as opposed to psychological treatment, because of stereotypes about maculinity. The guidelines encourage psychologists to “recognize that masculinities are constructed based on social, cultural, and contextual norms,” and to “understand the impact of power, privilege, and sexism on the development of boys and men and on their relationships with others.”
The National Institute of Mental Health also says that men are less likely than women to recognize, talk about, or seek treatment for depression, which is conversely stereotyped as a woman’s problem.