Monday, March 3

“Patriarchy forces boys into a state of profound emotional disconnection from self and others.”

Briarpatch writes that Men’s social conditioning takes a tremendous toll on not just their relationships, but also on their health. Those who want this to change, Calvin Sandborn argues, will have to come to terms with the concept of patriarchy-and with their own emotions.

Patriarchy’s rulebook

From the time he is about five, a boy is told to repress his feelings if he wants to be a “real boy.” In his 1999 book Real Boys, William Pollack identified the four great imperatives that society presses upon boys:

  • Never show weakness. Men should be stoic and stable.
  • No “sissy stuff.” Don’t express feelings or “feminine” dependence, warmth or empathy. Be cool. If you must show emotion, show anger.
  • Give ‘em hell. Be tough, macho, take risks.
  • Be a Big Wheel. Achieve status, dominance and power. There are only winners and losers-don’t be a loser.
Indeed, the cost of traditional masculinity is high. It destroys men's health and hearts:

  • The life span of the average man is approximately six years shorter than that of the average woman.
  • Men commit suicide at a rate four times that of women.
  • Two thirds of all alcoholics are men, and 80 per cent of those with alcohol-induced liver disease are men.
  • Virtually all stress-related diseases, from hypertension to heart disease, are more common in men than in women.
  • Men’s heart disease and cardiovascular disease death rates are about twice as high as women’s, prior to old age.
  • Twice as many men die from accidents as women, and three times as many die from homicides-usually at the hands of other men.
  • Being male is the single largest risk factor for early death. Before age 50, for every 10 premature female deaths, 16 men die prematurely. If male death rates dropped to the female rate, one third of all male deaths under age 50 would not take place.

Read the entire story at Briarpatch

Link to previous post on F-email Fightback: Male privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks. The Male Privilege Checklist

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