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The student news site of Stroudsburg High School

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The harmful effects of toxic masculinity

How toxic masculinity flies under the radar
Toxic+masculinity+could+be+as+simple+as+a+seemingly+harmless+joke.
Andrew Polanco Then
Toxic masculinity could be as simple as a seemingly harmless joke.

Have you ever been told to “man up”?

Typical comments like this and the stigma surrounding men’s mental health struggles have caused suicide rates to skyrocket in recent years.

According to the Pan American Health Organization, one in five men living in the U.S. won’t make it to fifty years old. “Suicide rates for men are much higher than those for women, almost 3.9 times as much,”  according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Toxic masculinity has always lingered in male culture. However, many people fail to realize how harmful it is and how detrimental it can be for young men’s developing minds.

Very Well Mind stated, “Toxic masculinity involves cultural pressures for men to behave in a certain way.”

These behaviors are often tied to the concept of old-fashioned gender norms.

Ms. Anne Pomichowski, a lunch monitor in SHS, says “That’s the way it’s been forever” when referring to masculinity in men.

The traditional gender roles portray the average man — hard-working, tough, strong, and dominant. The ideal woman used to be graceful, polite, obedient, and humble. It’s always been unrealistic for everyone to fit into these gender roles, but even more so now.

These traditional values are pushed onto men constantly. Societally, it is expected of men to stay away from things that are considered “feminine”. 

Because of the strong stigma around mental health men tend to suppress their emotions, leading to a multitude of mental health issues. This includes depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

Very Well Mind wrote, “Avoiding conversations about problems or emotions may increase feelings of isolation and loneliness.” 

Many men struggle to express negative emotions for fear of being judged by their peers. Essam Alrefai, 10, says, “They would laugh.”

Toxic masculinity has become so normalized that these behaviors often go unacknowledged. The more we stigmatize the topic, the more it will silently affect us.

The next time you say “man up”, think about how your words might affect someone.

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