Monday, September 14, 2015

Doing Masculinity, Not Doing Health

It is common knowledge that women's life expectancy exceeds men's life expectancy in most developed countries. Could differences in health relate to the way we socialize masculinity and gender? A recent study conducted on Dutch males suggests that it could. The study found that males tend to view health in terms of challenging one's health or pushing one's body. This is demonstrated by men's emphasis on looks and muscle building. In contrast, actually taking care of your health was perceived as feminine, as thus, something to avoid. The study found that men thought "real men" were competitive and not whiners or vulnerable. This competitiveness was thought to form men's ideals surrounding health. This article demonstrates the very real consequences that result from men being socialized to constantly be in competition with one another. Furthermore, it illustrates men's willingness to actively avoid good things (such as taking care of your body) if these things are perceived as feminine. We are training the men in our society to value a rigid definition of masculinity above their health.

Doing masculinity, not doing health? A qualitative study among Dutch male employees about health beliefs and workplace physical activity

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