Being a guy is difficult.
Based on three years of data from the National Health Interview Survey, 9% of men in America have daily feelings of depression and anxiety.
That’s right – according to the study, there are more undiagnosed cases of depression in men than women.
Many men just don’t feel good enough, strong enough, or man enough – leading them into a spiral of self-consciousness.
I’ve never paid much attention to my body, but I know many people who obsess over their’s – I’m talking about you, swole gym bros. According to The Guardian, most women find muscular body types more attractive in men than others.
This is based off the results of a study conducted on male body attractiveness, in which 160 women rated the attractiveness of headless male torsos. In the study, every single woman chose the stronger body type over the weaker ones.
These sorts of experiments lead men to obsess over improving their bodies.
And when men think this way, it can lead to toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity is when traditional masculine norms are harmful to men, women, and society.
Sometimes, whenever a man wants to impress a woman, he tries to chisel himself up and build up his emotional walls.
But in all seriousness – toxic masculinity is no joke. With all these pressures to appear strong and macho, it can lead to men being aggressive and abusive to their partners or peers.
According to Psychology Today, there is a link between toxic masculinity and violence. Excessive drinking and aggressive behavior are toxic forms of traditional masculinity, the article stated.
The problem is that men have trouble seeking medical help if they have feelings of deep sadness or anger because they would rather keep their emotions hidden.
Men have just as many emotions as women – but to keep up the appearance of invulnerability, many don’t feel they can express these emotions openly.
That’s definitely a problem.
When this happens, the man feels awkward and often questions his own body image – either privately or in the open, with a group of friends. And when this happens out in the open, people often overhear the man’s venomous thoughts seep through and be projected onto others.
In almost every case, toxic masculinity is what leads to the repercussions of the “battle of the sexes.” Anger can lead to hate, which in turn could lead to violence.
But what can be done to stop this?
Men often have a lot of negative self-talk about their bodies and sense of masculinity. We need to change that conversation to something positive and more inclusive.
When I wake up, the first thing I do is my morning routine. I don’t look in the mirror and say to myself, “Where on Earth is my six-pack?”
In order to get into the non-toxic mindset, you have to be willing to accept yourself and the fact that you might never be chiseled or the most handsome guy in the world. But the best way to get people to like you is not to do what you think other people would like, but to do what you like.
Be your own version of masculinity.
In other words – always be yourself. It’s too easy to get into the mindset that you’ll never be good enough.
But let me tell you – even if you’re not everyone else’s ideal image of masculinity, you can still think positively. And positivity is what gets me through the day.
Patrick Brady, class of 2022