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What is healthy masculinity?

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

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Healthy masculinity is a crucial aspect of overall well-being for men.

It encompasses a range of behaviors and attitudes that allow men to express themselves in ways that are authentic and true to who they are, without causing harm to themselves or others.

Traditionally, masculinity has been defined in narrow, restrictive terms that emphasize strength, dominance, and aggression. However, this narrow definition can lead to negative consequences, such as an increased risk of physical and mental health problems, as well as relationship and social difficulties.

To promote healthy masculinity, it is important for men to challenge and break down these restrictive stereotypes. This can include embracing emotions and vulnerability, fostering strong relationships and connections, and being open to learning and growth.

One way to do this is by practicing self-care and self-compassion. This can include taking care of your physical health, such as through regular exercise and healthy eating, as well as your mental health, through activities like mindfulness and therapy.

Another important aspect of healthy masculinity is challenging toxic masculinity, which is characterized by a rigid adherence to traditional gender roles, a lack of empathy, and an inclination towards violence and aggression. Men can do this by being aware of their own behavior and challenging harmful attitudes and behaviors when they see them in themselves or others.

Additionally, it's important to have open and honest conversations about masculinity with other men, and to support each other in our journey towards healthy masculinity. By fostering a sense of community and connection, we can help create a culture where men feel safe and supported in expressing themselves in ways that are true to who they are.

What is toxic masculinity?

Toxic masculinity refers to a set of traditional societal norms and expectations that define masculinity in a narrow and harmful way. These norms often promote the idea that men should be strong, dominant, and unemotional, and that they should avoid anything perceived as weak or feminine.

Some examples of toxic masculinity include:

  • The belief that men should not express vulnerability or emotions, and that they should always be in control of their feelings.

  • The expectation that men should always be the provider and protector in a relationship, and that they should be dominant over women.

  • The idea that men should be physically and emotionally strong, and that they should not show weakness or vulnerability.

  • The notion that men should be aggressive and competitive, and that they should prioritize their own success and status over the well-being of others.

  • Objectifying women and viewing them as inferior to men.

Toxic masculinity can have negative effects on both men and women. Men who adhere to these toxic norms may struggle with mental health issues like depression and anxiety, as well as physical health problems related to stress and aggression. They may also have difficulty forming healthy relationships, and may be more likely to engage in violent or abusive behavior.

It's important to note that toxic masculinity is not the same as masculinity itself. It's just a harmful stereotype that should be challenged, and as a society we should work on creating a more inclusive and healthy view of masculinity that allows men to express themselves in a way that is true to who they are without any negative consequences.

Healthy masculinity is about embracing a wide range of behaviors and attitudes that allow men to express themselves authentically, while also fostering well-being and avoiding harm. It's important to challenge traditional stereotypes, practice self-care, and have open and honest conversations with other men to create a culture of healthy masculinity.

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