Mental Health for Men: How imposing Masculinity affects the Mental Health of Men

Ishika Aggarwal
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mental health of men

The long-living patriarchy and imposition of Masculinity are taking a toll on men’s mental health. Read what men have to say




Living in the 21st century, we have been talking a lot in about mental health, NO? Well, thankfully, we have started to realize that we need to discuss it. Now, if we look at the entire issue of mental health, it is not a stand-alone thing that can only be defined by disorders but is something that is deeply influenced by the lifestyle and the environment, a person is brought up in. Mental health is for every day and it is not independent but intersectional. It is dependent on variables like caste and community, religion, work culture, education, family and the atmosphere, lifestyle and living standard, social environment, gender, etc.. So, obviously, it is clear that it is an umbrella term and not to your surprise, we have been trying to cover all these intersectionalities through our write-ups and in this one, we would like to talk about Mental health for men.

Men who have been fed with the idea that they are the head of the family, they are supposed to be strong, they are not likely of feeling weak and crying is something that they just can’t do. Such masculine ideas are something the patriarchal society has been feeding men for ages. Well, not that a lot of men don’t try to enjoy their masculinity, and rather let it become toxic masculinity, but there are instances where the imposition and appropriating of emotions, responsibilities and feeling can take a toll on their mental health. Basically, the stigma leads to effect men and make them suffer and suffocate in order to fit in the ideas associated with their gender.

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how to fight depression
Image Source – Pixabay

Rohit, a 23-year-old boy puts the whole experience rightly saying, “Well, I can’t say about the head of the family as I’m in my 20s now, but yes, there are things that affect me mentally as a boy. Since the very young age, people start realizing you that you have a bigger responsibility. As a man, you’ll have to earn to support the family (your father mostly). People start telling you that you need to be responsible, and sometimes it becomes depressing. Your self-esteem goes down, especially when people start pointing out towards their salaries. The men’s salary should be higher than the girls’, etc., etc., etc. The other thing is, you can’t get emotional in public, even in front of your family and friends. You can’t cry, you can’t speak up your emotions, your feelings. People want you to be strong all the time mentally, as well as physically. A feeble and non-muscular body shape is yet another thing that hurts you emotionally. People start calling you by absurd names (typically abusive, but not many people consider them abusive).”

We men are made to take pride in our masculinity. We can’t pour like a female, we can’t make crazy expressions. Coz we are men. If we do anything feminine we are body shamed and demeaned in so many harsh ways and it’s always difficult to talk about it. If we, men show our emotional side, we are too vulnerable. No one likes an emotional man. These stereotypes force us to behave masculine even though we aren’t, and because of this, we lose our self-confidence. We are the one who have to please others.” Gaurang Sahu, 23.

Where this stigmatization can be lethal to mental health, it is something, that starts from childhood. “Man-up” or “mard bano” is the most toxic thing that not just hinders growth but mental and emotional well being. It leads them to hiding emotions, ignoring and not confessing emotions, sabotaging oneself for one’s emotions, and it leads to bottling up of emotions. And, then the final day, it becomes so suffocating to live with” Shantanu Salhotra, 21.

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