For the first time in its 127 year history, the American Psychological Association has issued a guide specifically to address issues around men and boys.
“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,” the report warns.
The report, which you can read in its entirety here, is a guide for practicing psychologists to help undo the damage that toxic masculine ideology does to boys and men. Homophobia, bullying, misogyny are linked to the way we socialize boys in our culture. Men commit 90% of all murders in the country, they are far more likely to be arrested for domestic violence, and they’re four times as likely to commit suicide. As the report says, “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.”
NBC News has an article interviewing the creators of the report:
Jared Skillings, a psychologist and the APA’s chief of professional practice, told NBC News these new guidelines are intended to educate mental health professionals about the unique issues facing this patient population. The APA published a similar report about girls and women in 2007 and is expected to publish an updated version this year.
"Masculinity ideology,” Skillings said, was important to highlight because it “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 addresses the “power” and “privilege” that males have when compared to their female counterparts, but it notes that this privilege can be a psychological double-edged sword.
“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,” the guidelines state. “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.”