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American Psychological Association: ‘Traditional Masculinity’ Is Harmful

For the first time ever, the American Psychological Association has issued guidelines to help psychologists working with men and boys. The new guidelines say that more than 40 years of research shows that “traditional masculinity” is psychologically damaging, and that socializing boys to suppress their emotions can harm mental health. According to the guidelines, traditional masculinity ideology includes emphasis on “anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.” Men commit 90 percent of homicides in the United States and represent 77 percent of homicide victims. They are also by far more likely than women to attempt suicide, and their life expectancy is 4.9 years shorter than women’s, according to the APA. The association also says that boys are far more likely to be diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder than girls, and they face harsher punishments in school—especially boys of color. The APA took into account that for decades psychology primarily focused on white men, but maintains that something remains amiss for men in America.