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Will Boys Be Boys? 'Traditional Masculinity' Gets Bashed as 'Harmful' in the US

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The APA report claims that “masculinity ideology” leads to homophobia, sexual harassment, bullying and violence, while urging men to embrace certain aspects of masculinity deemed positive by the organisation, such as leadership and courage.

The American Psychological Association (APA), the largest scientific and professional organisation of psychologists in the United States, has released a new report titled “Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men”, which warns of the alleged dangers of “masculinity”.

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The 36-page document, described by the Los Angeles Times as the organisation’s first-ever report “aimed at helping practitioners care for their male patients despite social forces that can harm mental health”, defines “masculinity ideology” as “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.”

"Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behaviour, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health," the report claims.

The document’s authors further insist that conforming to the norms of “masculinity ideology” can lead to homophobia, sexual harassment, bullying and violence against others and themselves, and that “traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful.”

At the same time, the APA conceded that certain aspects of masculinity, like leadership and courage, are positive, and urged men to embrace them.

The paper also advises psychologists treating male patients to address how “power privilege and sexism work, both by conferring benefits to men and by trapping them in their narrow roles.”

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