Well done Gillette on taking a stand against the impact of rampant sexism

You may be aware of the furore around the new Gillette ad on masculinity. It has certainly lit up the internet. I am always interested that when traditional notions of the balance of power is threatened, there is an instant over-reaction. It is my view that we have done a disservice to our sons (and daughters) by propping up a system that creates disadvantage through sexism and misogyny.

Is it a surprise that as men we kill ourselves at a ratio of 5:1 compared to women. Is it a surprise that men are more likely to assault their female (and male partners) more than women. Is it a surprise that men are more likely to murder their female partners and then commit suicide post-separation. Let’s get real. Over the past 40 years the issues that emerged from behind closed doors has shocked, and continue to challenge our sense of reality. Let’s not pretend this is not an issue that requires attention.

I was therefore pleased to see the recent release of “Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men” from the American Psychological Association(APA) that supports the idea that toxic masculinity is a problem.

Jared L. Skillings, Ph.D., chief of professional practice for the APA, told CNBC Make It program that:

“Socialization for conforming to traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict (Pleck, 1981, 1995; O’Neil, 2008; O’Neil & Renzulli, 2013), and negatively influence mental health (e.g., O’Neil, 2008, 2013, 2015) and physical health (Courtenay, 2011; Gough & Robertson, 2017). Indeed, boys and men are overrepresented in a variety of psychological and social problems.”

These new guidelines highlight the unique physical and mental health risks that boys and men face, including higher rates of completed suicide, violence, substance abuse, cardiovascular problems and early mortality. They also issue a warning against conforming to traditional stereotypes of masculinity, citing years of research that links machismo (the I’m alright, I am a real man fallacy) to a range of health risks.

It is also interesting that the issue of the spike in sexual assault that occurs at the start of the new academic year for young adults is currently in the news.  Alcohols, drugs, partying, away from home.

What a great way to start 2019. Let’s continue the conversation. Gender politics will not just go away.

 

Published on Friday, January 18th, 2019, under Family violence, What Ken thinks

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