Now Reading
Psychologists issue guidance on how to stop men from being homophobic bullies

Psychologists issue guidance on how to stop men from being homophobic bullies

Neo-Nazis beat up a gay man in Ukraine because he was wearing a pink shirt | Photo: Facebook

Psychologists think it’s about time men and boys stop being homophobic bullies.

And we don’t disagree.

The American Psychologist Association has issued guidelines to specifically address toxic masculinity – the first time in its 127-year history.

Psychologists on toxic masculinity 

‘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 guidelines defines ‘masculinity ideology as including ‘anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.’

The APA also links this ideology with homophobia, bullying and sexual harassment.

Published in Monitor on Psychology, the APA said this ideology is also linked to several worrying statistics.

For example, men commit approximately 90% of all homicides in the US.

They are also far more likely than women to be arrested and charged with intimate partner violence in the US.

And finally, they are also four times more likely than women to die of suicide worldwide.

Intending to help mental health professionals

Jared Skillings, APA’s chief of professional practice, told NBC News these guidelines are intended to educate mental health professionals.

The report suggested male 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.’

The guidelines say psychologists should encourage men to recognize masculinity is based on social, cultural and contextual norms.

They should ‘understand the impact, of power, privilege, and sexism on the development of boys and men and on their relationships with others’.

Psychologists hope this will ‘reduce the high rates of problems boys and men face and act out in their lives such as aggression, violence, substance abuse, and suicide.’

Skillings said parents can play a part, too. He recommended they let their boys know, ‘It’s OK to not be OK all the time.’