More and more frequently, the concept of masculinity is being discussed and criticised within both academia, and the media. It’s become clear in recent years that sexist attitudes affect not only women, but men as well. Feminism as long discussed how women are discriminated against purely because they’re women. Whether it’s taking an unfair share of domestic responsibilities, or being forced to wear high-heels, everyday sexism against women is well documented and criticised (as it should be!)
But men are affected negatively by sexist social norms too. The concept of ‘toxic masculinity’ is one you may have heard, but might not be too clear about. Simply put, toxic masculinity is the idea that patriarchal society has created men so that they are dominant, aggressive, and unemotional. Now, this might now be the case for every man, and it also doesn’t mean that women can’t also exhibit these traits. But, it is a general trend which can be seen.
The aspect we’re going to focus on is the notion that men are ‘unemotional’. Patriarchal society teaches men to internalise their emotions and repress them. Men are meant to be seen as strong, and the providers. They can’t show weakness! Or so society says. This way of thinking can even by summed up by the phrase ‘man up’.
In reality, this can leave men depressed, anxious, and feeling helpless. By feeling unable to talk about how they feel, or things that are upsetting them, men’s problems spiral as they become more cut off from those around them. The statistics are stark, and back up the theory. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 49, and men account for three-quarters of all suicides.
Things don’t have to be this way though, and the situation is steadily improving. A number of campaigns are raising awareness of mental health, and also removing the stigma surrounding it. Most recently, both Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge have spoken out about the need for men to talk about their emotions and trauma. Speaking about the loss of their mother, Princess Diana, the two princes have shown how the British stiff-upper-lip which tells men to ‘man up’ and bottle-up their emotions is damaging.
Fortunately, campaigns and more general awareness of mental health issues are meaning men are more likely to seek help. Talking about problems can really help, and techniques such as CBT, talking therapy, and hypnotherapy, are really helping men to get over trauma and any other issues they may be having.
So, if you’re dealing with stress, trauma, depression, or just needed someone to lend an ear, don’t be afraid to seek help. Hypnotherapy can really help you get to the heart of whatever is upsetting you, and provide a plan for getting through it. You can find information about local hypnotherapists on the internet, or ask your GP for mental health services in your area. Remember, no one should feel they have to man up, and everyone needs help every now and then!