The cancer mortality rate is higher among men than women (189.5 per 100,000 men and 135.7 per 100,000 women).- NIH.
The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men. In 2020, men died by suicide 3.88x more than women. asfp.org
What a way to start a blog about health and fitness. It's a sobering truth. It's why I am so adamantly talking about this, and hope YOU keep the conversation going by sharing, unlearning what you have learned, and checking your beliefs.
We're going to focus on the reasons behind this statistic, and you may not like it. As a real talk coach, I'm going to give you facts, and how these facts affect YOU.
What is toxic masculinity?
As I mentioned last week, straight out of the Oxford dictionary: it is a set of attitudes and ways of behaving stereotypically associated with or expected of men, regarded as harming men and society as a whole. Some traits: are dominance, violence, and control to assert power over women.
It's stereotypical gendered behavior expected of men. The keywords here are expected and socially created. These are traditional gender roles that most men are taught to adhere to. These are cultural expectations, and beliefs we teach our children, visually, verbally, and with our actions.
Let's recall that gender is a social construct, hammered into us even in utero (gender reveal parties anyone?)- but I digress. I'm making a point to drive home that these behaviors are not to be confused with biological drives. Hormones play a crucial role in behavior, however, dominance, violence, and the need for control are not the drives that testosterone governs.
What does this gender expectation do to men?
Studies show that men choose to be independent and hide their feelings for fear of being seen as "weak". They usually turn away from social support and if they do have friends, their connections are superficial because discussing emotions goes against the stereotypical expectations of strength and emotional restraint.
Some men don't ask for help. They don't KNOW how to. This is heartbreaking.
How can we change this?
Talk about it. Yes. Just talking about it gets people thinking.
Call your friends, partners, and children out when you see the trait.
Raise your boys (hey, and girls) to identify, manage and express emotions healthfully.
Seek guidance, therapy is not just for trauma, it's there to help develop life skills that will help you understand your emotions.
Learn to be vulnerable, speak from the heart, and show emotion.
End the "work harder than everyone else" mindset. Life is about balance.
It's not easy to let go of years or even decades worth of habits shaped by living in this society, but it's important to do so for yourself and for the women in your life as well as for future generations
Mental health is health, and I've done some research to find YOU some male mental health therapists. Psychology Today's research list .
Even if this reaches 1 person, it can save a life.
It stops with you.
Resources- linkable so you can read them yourself.