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[flagged] 'Traditional masculinity' labeled 'harmful' by the American Psychological Assc (latimes.com)
71 points by jelliclesfarm 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 100 comments

Very disappointing to see things phrased this way. Yes, certain aspects of traditional masculinity - suppressing emotion, hypercompetitiveness, risk seeking - are harmful. So are certain aspects of traditional femininity - submissiveness, excessive concern about appearance - and I don't remember an APA warning about that.

Putting 'masculine' or 'feminine' at the center of this just isn't constructive. Address the behavioral syndromes themselves, maybe note in the text that they're traditionally associated or correlated with gender roles, but FFS don't get all gender-essentialist about it. If nothing else, it just triggers all the MRAs and gives their leaders a talking point to rile up the regressives some more.

"Suppressing emotion" is just another word for emotional maturity. Should we all be like babies, crying all the time, screaming when we're hungry, etc? An adult should recognize that while some emotions are useful, others are not and learn to accept and transcend them, and also that even the useful ones are sometimes useful to other people as well, but at other times only useful for the person having them and there's no need for them to be shared and burden other people.

Suppressing emotion is like level two on a five-point scale. Sure, giving your emotions free rein like a kid (level one) is worse, but suppression causes problems too. Those emotions will find a way out, whether it's suppressed anger turning into depression, suppressed fear turning into impotence, etc. There are literally thousands of books and scientific studies of this stuff. Read some.

Learning to deal with your emotions is the mark of true maturity. Suppression is itself a manifestation of fear, and denial of that fear. As with anything else, it's better to solve problems than to turn a blind eye.

Suppressing emotions is one way to deal with them.

Some people find outlets, some just suppress them. Maybe you have a different definition of what "suppress emotions" means?

Why are competition and taking risks harmful?

They're not, in appropriate levels/contexts. They're normal, healthy, often laudable and sometimes even necessary. The problem is excessive (i.e. harmful or situationally inappropriate) competitiveness or risk-seeking, whether they occur separately or as part of a common/identifiable cluster of behaviors.

Completely different wording. Risk vs excess risk. You can say the same about femininity. Excess reliance on others to do necessary but undesireable things, excess avoidance of conflict, even if it means never standing up to someone who is using/abusing you, not willing to serve in the military as a soldier in times of need, etc.

This smells like bullshit. Anything in excess is bad. Excess individuality kills cooperation, excess demand on cooperation and by extension conformity kills independent though.

Did you just not read the part where I said there were problems associated with "traditional femininity" too, before you jumped in to make the same point as though it was original?

<narrator>It wasn't.</narrator>

FYI, hyper implies excess. "Risk seeking" implies seeking risk for its own sake, i.e. when it's not situationally appropriate. That's not "completely different" wording at all. The only bullshit here is your attempt to exaggerate conflict, which BTW is another part of that toxic behavior cluster we were talking about.

Where is the Times getting these quotes in their article? I can't find nearly any of them in the actual APA Guidelines document :

“traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful.” - This sentence is is not in the guidelines.

"conform to traditional stereotypes about men’s emotionality" is not in the document, however :"in part because internalizing disorders do not conform to traditional gender role stereotypes about men’s emotionality." is in the document. Though not a large misquote, it is still a misquote.

“Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health,” is just straight up not in the document.

"despite social forces that can harm mental health" is also not in the document.

I've no idea where the author, Jessica Schladebeck, is getting her quotes, but the linked document that is in the article doe not have them. What am I missing here? I've not parsed it in detail yet, so my apologies, but it seems that a few of these quotes are just made up out of whole cloth.

Balgair 8 months ago [flagged]

Ok, The Atlantic [0] has a MUCH better report on the APA guideline. It seems that the LA Times author cribbed a lot of her article from there. For instance the quote of :

> traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful.

comes from the APA's Monitor Jan. '19 edition [1]. The context of the quote seems to indicate that some recent research has taken the tack that masculinity is harmful and that such a bent in the research should be corrected. The full sentence in the Monitor piece is:

> The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.

Read the rest of The Atlantic article for a better take on the APA guidelines going forward. It's real journalism.

However, I'm going to soapbox a bit here:

This whole exercise has been a real eye opener for me. The very inflammatory quote was a bit much and so I idly opened the linked document. Seeing a fair few pages of text, I just tried to Ctrl+F for the sentence, to get a quick way to see greater context on the quote. I could not find it.

I tried some permutations on that sentence. Still nothing. The more I looked, the less sense everything made. Yet many of the commentors here on HN and in a fair few other sites I visit, were outraged at the APA. Many of the comments on this article are greyed out, downvoted, calling on feminists, political bents, conspiracies, etc. Other sites are equally as bad, just really crazy stuff that the actual APA guidelines have nothing to do with. I've re-skimmed them and, honestly, it's fairly good advice for practitioners, though not really 'brass tacks' advice. But it seems that nearly none of you actually read the guidelines before commenting. It seems that YOU (yes you, the real person reading this!) barely skimmed the LA Times article, let alone dug into the APA guidelines at all.

And the author, Jessica Schladebeck, really played with journalistic standards by confusing quotes from the APA guidelines with quotes from the APA's Monitor. Now, if you look at her output on a typical day [2], she writes about three 2000 word essays on a multitude of events and topics; she seems to have no specialty or 'beat'. 6k words per day is a full time job, that is for sure. But I cannot excuse the total lack of copy editing at the LA Times. I know they are going through a fair few issues of their own [3], but come on!, this is simple stuff yall.

Has journalism really sunken that far for a real, actual, major US newspaper?! Jesus, no wonder we are in the pit that we find ourselves as a country. I'll say that I have been surprised, shocked even, at the level of discourse in this country, in my local community, my work, and even in my family. I've always wondered why that was. Now I know the answer.

The information we digest really is 'fake'. Jessica Schladebeck's article dances on the line of journalistic ethics. Honestly, I feel that it merrily crosses right over that line. It's pure 'clickbait' dressed up in the veneer of a 'real' newspaper. I expect this kind of crap from Buzzfeed, but the LA Times?! I mean, they actually printed this and sent it out on broadsheets?! How little do they pay per line?

What is going on?! Now, I thought that HNers were a bit above the hoi polloi, but no. You all just like to argue over imaginary differences. You all made up these points of view from whole cloth and then took sides in an argument that had no basis at all in reality. Some commentors bemoan :"disappointing to see things phrased this way", yet the APA never phrased things in that way and bemoaned it themselves (it seems to me). Others state they are "glad it's finally being treated in this way", yet the APA is not treating masculinity as toxic and their discussion is nuanced in the Monitor. Others still question the APA via: "encouraging men to achieve success in life is harmful?", but that statement cannot be pulled out of the APA guidelines, and can barely be pulled out of the LA Times article itself.

Quite literally, you all are 'playing yourselves'. So stop it.

Stop trying to get in fights on the internet. Stop skimming articles. Stop being smug. You're not getting more information faster. You're getting all but lied to and you are lying at each other. Internet karma points do not matter. It feels like so many 4th graders trying to come up with book reports on the spot [4]. So, if you commented in this thread about this article, it's time you took a note from John Green [5] and took a sabbatical from the internet. It's not helping you, it's hurting you and those around you.

[0] https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/01/tradition...

[1] https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/01/ce-corner.aspx

[2] https://www.latimes.com/author-all/?fn=Jessica&ln=Schladebec...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Times#Modern_era

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo45o69HaKI

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoHkvc3DA3o

thank you for a thorough and thoughtful reply!

This makes a lot of sense, and I'm glad it's finally being treated in this way.

There's 100% nothing wrong with being a man, and there's nothing wrong in taking pride in it. There is, however, a ton of societal pressure to do dangerous, harmful things to ourselves to "prove" our manliness/masculinity. Ignoring pain and sickness because fear of being weak, taking a lesser role in the development of our children because it's seen as girly, harassing women because it's "what guys do", doing dangerous stunts to impress the guys; these are all harmful behaviors that are all rooted in a need to appear masculine.

This is toxic, and we need to recognize that without getting defensive over it just because it's what we know. We can do better for eachother and ourselves and recognition of this fact is a necessary first step.

Whether you like it or not, people of both genders will be competitive. Ultimately, this is why socialism fails. The incentive to compete essentially disappears. If everyone is forced to be paid the same, why try harder than anyone else? The goal then becomes to game the system as much as possible, where the ruling class accumulates wealth. However, the mere accumulation of wealth is not itself a productive endeavor.

You need only look to the former Soviet Union and republics for evidence of this.

Competition isn't bad, but harming yourself in service of competition is. You can compete without endangering yourself and harming others. You can be the best without having to play the "I'm manlier than you" game.

>>You can compete without endangering yourself and harming others. You can be the best without having to play the "I'm manlier than you" game.

Play without keeping a score so the loser is not "hurt" emotionally?

It sounds like you were reading a subtext that isn't there.

There's a big difference between healthy competition and dick measuring contests.

Traditional masculinity:

"Conforming to the norms of the “masculinity ideology” can result in suppressing emotions and masking distress in young boys as well more risk-taking and aggressive behavior and a lack of willingness to seek out help."

"traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful."

"Despite its warnings, the APA also encouraged men to embrace the positive aspects of traditional masculinity, like leadership and courage."

"Men in the United States also commit an estimated 90% more homicides than women and are also much more likely to be arrested for domestic violence."


"Most studies support a link between adult criminality and testosterone"

"Most studies have also found testosterone to be associated with behaviors or personality traits linked with criminality such as antisocial behavior and alcoholism."

"Studies have also found administered testosterone to increase verbal aggression and anger in some participants."

"Testosterone is significantly correlated with aggression and competitive behaviour and is directly facilitated by the latter."

"The rise in testosterone levels during competition predicted aggression in males but not in females."

I can't help but notice that many of the attributes that fall under the umbrella of "toxic masculinity" are behaviors that appear to be correlated with response to testosterone. Although we can a identify biological basis for these behaviors, why do we insist they are a social "constellation of standards"?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testosterone

People have varying level of testosterone in their bodies. Different bodies react to the same hormones differently. There are a lot of variables that contribute to who we are and how we experience life. Traditional gender standards push all sorts of people into certain boxes that a lot of people don't fit into comfortably and that causes a lot of people hardship. This is just recognizing a certain pattern that is generally harmful towards people subjected to it. It's fine to be competitive. It isn't okay to pressure people into being competitive because they "should" be to fit into their assigned role.

Especially when you see the same behaviors in other animals...

In the face of ecological collapse, diminishing living standards, and increasing authoritarianism I fail to see how stoicism is anything but healthy. To overcome challenges in the present and future we need fortitude, calmness, and patience rather than panic.

Stoicism is harmful to the American Psychological Assc. If you 'suck it up' instead of crying to a shrink that's REALLY bad for business.

I'm not sure the psychologists are fully impartial here ...

While it might not seem so, stoicism, in the sense that is discussed in this paper, is not really synonymous with fortitude, calmness, and patience.

It is more along the lines that there is a natural order that is good that a person must conform to. I would argue that it's something closer to heteronormativity in personal belief.

I really get annoyed by the mixture with the different definitions of stoicism. One would avoid using it in a paper if it causes confusion

So would (self) pursuit of being physically attractive (high muscle mass / low body fat) and intelligence (eventually leading to earning power to support yourself and a family) equate to "eschewal of the appearance of weakness"?

I'd like to hear the APA's answer to this.

Probably. And both can definitely be contributors to psychological strain. So, in my view, it's not unreasonable for the APA to say that.

In fairness, I don't see this as the APA saying that these things are inherently harmful. They're saying that they can be causal to mental health issues so psychologists should be aware of that.

I guess I may have interpreted that incorrectly. Clearly the article interpreted it differently.

> “traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful.

This really sounds like an attack on masculinity. One must never forget, the age of information with all it's flaws and good was brought upon the back of a structure who's main building block atleast in terms of values were masculine values which I think is independent of gender/sex

Out of curiosity, if someone agrees with the statement that competitiveness is "toxic", I want to know what search engine does that person use because I'm honestly expecting that person to use a terrible engine like Ask Jeeves.

Without competitiveness we wouldn't have Google or Duck Duck Go.

That quote in the LA Time article in not in the APA Guidelines document. I've no idea where the author got that quote from. But then again, I've not parsed the APA document super carefully.

> This really sounds like an attack on masculinity

Does it? Or are you looking for a reason to be offended?

From the article:

> The APA also encouraged men to embrace the positive aspects of traditional masculinity, like leadership and courage.

This is straight up sexist man-hating bullshit. It should not be tolerated any more than any kind of gender inequality.


So encouraging men to achieve success in life is harmful?

I also liked how "risk taking" was in the toxic group, while "courage" was seen as a positive. Right alongside "leadership".

So, be courageous and lead, but don't do things that require courage or put you in a position of leadership.

They're saying that men end up constraining themselves. Men could achieve a lot more without the constraints of masculine social mores.

Like what? Let's say men are now compelled by social mores to be (more) aggressive risk takers, drive themselves to compete, achieve more and take leadership positions. Leaving aside how incredibly wrong such generalization is, let's assume it's exactly correct. And let's consider a hypothetical where men aren't compelled to do any of that - what would allow such men to "achieve a lot more" while avoiding taking risks, rejecting stoic values of perseverance and hard work, despising leadership and drive to succeed (whatever their definition of success would be), what would be the mechanism of it?

36 page paper, summarized and simplified to be printed in something mass market. It's pretty clear that what's listed are meant as a combination of things, even in the summary.

It can be, certainly. But not always, and quite possibly not even usually, depending on what is meant by "achievement". Failing to encourage achievement can also be harmful. The problem here is that one-word summaries of detailed positions aren't useful, and only lead to semantic arguments.

I have a hard time with people who believe everything in life is a competition. At work, they have to get ahead. At home, they still have to get ahead. When they eat breakfast, they have to do it better than you. We need to teach people to work towards society's ends, rather than their own.

That would be a "pathological" form of competitiveness

I do too. But what I've noticed is that those types of people tend to get ahead in their careers at most companies I've been at. And with some companies -still- doing stack ranking, I guess that behavior is encouraged.

Constraining people via arbitrary norms is harmful. Putting people into tidy little boxes is harmful to those that don't neatly fit in their assigned box.

The smartest HR person I ever worked with once told me "Your standardized people processes work well for about 80% of your staff. The other 20% is where enlightened, thoughtful management comes into play."

Has 'non-traditional' masculinity been studied long and extensively enough to do an outcome comparison with the 'traditional' one ?

> You have to have strong women in order to deal with masculine men. That's why masculinity is constantly being eroded, and diminished and dissolved [..] because it allows women to be weak. If you have weak men, then you can have weak women. And that's what we have.

- Camille Paglia

YES. This is why it’s so important for men & especially women to learn how to communicate and defend boundaries. I’ve observed the wonderfully healthy communities you can build when men & women are strong together.

Standards that were adaptive when society was much less connected are no longer adaptive in todays world.

This is an attempt by the APA to improve treatment for problems they see in their field including the much higher rates of suicide and violence that men in our society express.

It's an unfortunate fact that as with many other aspects of our broken culture there are plenty of people willing to take advantage of people who have maladaptive psychological issues.

A certain Canadian youtuber peddling hyper-masculine value systems via books and seminars comes to mind. The equivalent of scientology for those who feel less than secure in their masculinity.

“(masculinity)...marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.”

As a 20 year practitioner of the primal dominance game of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I’d like to address dominance and how it is completely mid-understood.

Dominance is not the act of dominating other people. It is people allowing themselves to be dominated. A key characteristic of alphas is that they are indomitable.

Since people perceive dominance instead of indominance they view it as a scarce zero-sum resource.

If I dominate you it’s because I either accidentally transgressed your boundary or we have boundaries that conflict and we haven’t negotiated new boundaries. Just going about my business people grant me dominance but this is not something I actively do, it is on them.

When people label dominance as bad, this tells me that they have poor boundary establishment and enforcement skills.

What are your values as an individual. From that, what are your boundaries? Are you willing to unflinchingly communicate those boundaries?

Are you willing to attempt to defend those boundaries from transgression? Can you incrementally develop indomitability and eventually read as dominant?

Some who believe they have zero ability to defend boundaries will retreat to the surrender of the boundary-less feminine. This might work, but I think it is more productive to metaphorically die defending boundaries than not have them in the first place.

The unique magic of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that even if you are powerful with clear boundary establishment, for years and years you will utterly fail to defend those boundaries.

Knowing you may fail to defend boundaries but trying anyway is a key to next level masculinity.

One of my precious jobs as a coach is to show men that they can die well. When I think they’re ready, usually after 1-2 years of training I will show them that they are almost completely powerless. From the outside it looks like I’m torturing these men because I never fully checkmate them so that they can quit by tapping out. I encourage them to keep moving, keep trying, try to keep a clear head and act well despite the fact that it’s utterly hopeless.

This human condition is hopeless, but act well in accordance with your values anyway.

This quote by Rickson Gracie sums up the process:

“Where there's discomfort, there's fear," he said. "In these very tough positions, you're in a little piece of hell. And through this daily suffering, you learn to survive in these situations. You have to find comfort in uncomfortable situations. You have to be able to live in your worst nightmare. Jiu-jitsu puts you completely in the moment where you must have complete focus on finding a solution to the problem. This trains the mind to build that focus, to increase your awareness, your capacity to solve problems. Sometimes, you don't have to win. You cannot win. But that has nothing to do with losing."

As an outsider: are these guidelines of any consequence in practice?

This is sexism. People should avoid labels such as "masculine" or "feminine". How would we react if they said, for example, "traditional jewishness" (is considered harmful)?

I think feminist movement is actively hurting itself by adopting divisive labels such as "toxic masculinity", "patriarchy" or even "feminism". We have gender neutral way of talking about these phenomena, there is no need to invoke gender.

If the labels describe an interesting pattern then we shouldn’t fear them.

the formula for small "c" conservative language-policing among post-critical folk seems to be:

1) identify a criticism of some traditional power structure (masculinity)

2) hijack the critical language and turn it on itself into a contradiction (anti-sexism is itself sexist)

it's the same formula for everything from "atheism is itself a religion" to "anti-racism is racism against white people".

to me it just seems like a very childish defense mechanism, like if nobody is allowed to talk about the problem then the problem will just go away.

This is a big misunderstanding.

You can criticize power structures in gender-neutral way. You can say, for example, "social hierarchy" instead of "patriarchy". You can talk about "movement for gender equality" instead of "feminism". You can talk about "being asshole" or "taking too much risks" or other trait instead of "toxic masculinity".

I actually agree with the feminist critique (for the most part), I think where they are wrong is putting people into gender boxes. And I don't think other movements for equality (for example, movements for racial and sexual equality) do this to such extent.

the point is that our history is gendered. i mean, the history of western thought is almost entirely white and male. if i want to take politics seriously, i immediately come into contact with the patriarchy because we all live in the shadow of great white men. i don't see why language shouldn't reflect history, especially political language.

"i don't see why language shouldn't reflect history, especially political language"

I do see why it shouldn't (unless you are historian, perhaps). If we are to move, as a society, beyond the discrimination of the past, we need to drop the divisive language, too.

It is why I think even the term "feminism" should be dropped and replaced with "gender equality movement" (perhaps in somewhat shorter, witty form).

I think, in general, to structure equality movements around specific identity makes sense in the beginning. But when the movement gains large enough support from society, it will become counter-productive, because it emphasizes the difference rather than sameness. (And I suspect for this very reason, many people, even women, support feminism but are avoiding the label itself.)

> It is why I think even the term "feminism" should be dropped and replaced with "gender equality movement" (perhaps in somewhat shorter, witty form).


if you're truly worried that language has the power to reproduce past injustices, you should be trying to part with the language of the oppressor, not the language of the oppressed

I want to part with the language that's unjust, regardless of who used it in the past.

There is a historical precedent, although it's kinda cliche. When communists came to power, former intelligentsia and bourgeoisie was often replaced by people from the former working class, and the people from the former were even persecuted. They even called it "classless society". And it didn't work very well. It was an attempt to rectify those past injustices, without consideration what is just here and now. So no, we shouldn't mindlessly take norms of the oppressed.

So at some point, there needs to be a line drawn, and said, the injustice is in the past, and from now, hopefully, there will be justice. And at that point, you need to stop referring to past injustices as a justification for anything.

you seem to want to move to a genderless language similar to the example you gave ("classless society"). i'm skeptical that that will work either, since there is really no precedent for that kind of postmodern language existing alongside successful emancipatory politics. also, as a side note, the soviets didn't actually believe that they had achieved a classless society, they thought of themselves as a placeholder or an accelerant, unless you're thinking of something else.

also, what you're saying reminds me of the novel "the dispossessed" by ursula k le guin where there's a civilization that has erased all concepts of hierarchy from its language and culture. it's seems rather dystopian, but maybe you disagree.

"you seem to want to move to a genderless language"

Not really, I don't think language is that important, I think in the few cases I presented it just hurts the cause (because it makes it seem that it is about power for some other group rather than equality). But I am not particularly against e.g. gendered pronouns. But maybe...

"there is really no precedent for that kind of postmodern language existing alongside successful emancipatory politics"

I disagree. I think there are examples of emancipation where the language that was previously used day-to-day (for example, to refer to somebody with the n-word) fell into disuse. In fact, I think it's natural to happen if the emancipation is successful (because people will simply stop caring about the divide).

So maybe there will eventually be no gender pronouns.

I can't really take fiction as an argument, but I am reminded of Greg Egan's novel Schild's Ladder, which has humans in far far future, having no actual gender and even opt-in bodies, and ironically, the last thing that reminds people there ever was such a thing as gender, are gendered pronouns (which are entirely a matter of personal choice).

> You can say, for example, "social hierarchy" instead of "patriarchy".

If you're afraid to even name the social hierarchy that we have, why would anybody expect you to be willing or able to put in the hard work of fixing its problems?

I am not sure what you mean by "afraid to name it". I don't want to mislabel it. Just like it's not Jewish, or heterosexual, it's not male either.

We know there is one mostly based on wealth and income (if you're in the West), and then there are many local ones based pretty much on managerial position that people have in various companies. In general, it is culture-specific.

I personally think we would be better off without social hierarchies (in short, money shouldn't play role in politics and economy should be organized as cooperatives), and I don't see mislabeling it as "patriarchy" helping in any way to achieve that goal.

Wait, so how is patriarchy not referring to male genderedness?

If something is a result of or related to the phenomenon of patriarchy (as that term is understood by a majority of folks), I don't see how labeling it as such could be construed as mislabeling.

>> You can say, for example, "social hierarchy" instead of "patriarchy".

>If you're afraid to even name the social hierarchy that we have

The objection is not a fear of the naming, but how using it that way is reinforcing the causes that led to the existing problem.

When you start arguing that it's ok to discriminate against or insult people because of what different people in the past have done, you have indeed become what you hate.

We can't change history. We can't fix past injustices with new injustices in the present; that's just creating new injustices and new divisions. The best we can do is treat each other well from this point forward.

the APA isn't "arguing that it's ok to discriminate against or insult people because of what different people in the past have done"

it's trying to rectify e.g. the fact that psychological norms were previously based on the psychology of well-functioning white men. until very recently, nobody thought of this as being biased. it's only with the introduction of feminist thought and feminist language into this sphere that these biases were made apparent.

> norms were previously based on the psychology of well-functioning white men.

And now they've gone to the other extreme, declaring those same norms "harmful".

I'm fine with confronting biases and accepting a wide range of behavior, but I wonder why the APA is embracing intolerance.

it's not "the other extreme." it's just a more objective view. it's just true that traditional masculine norms leads to circumstances where:

> boys are disproportionately represented among schoolchildren with learning difficulties (e.g., lower standardized test scores) and behavior problems (e.g., bullying, school suspensions, aggression). Likewise, men are overrepresented in prisons, are more likely than women to commit violent crimes, and are at greatest risk of being a victim of violent crime

You're going to need to provide evidence that well-functioning masculinity results in poor outcomes for men in the way you described.

Nothing in the traditional masculinity framework promotes or encourages behavioral problems (and/or violence) or turns a blind eye to learning difficulties.

To suggest that, for example, assertiveness and competitiveness lead to such outcomes, is, at best an unscientific stretch and at worst - actively harmful by promoting solutions that have no basis in reality.

you might think that, but it's really the other way around. you have to provide (very rigorous and thorough) evidence that toxic masculinity is harmless.

That doesn't even make sense. The null hypothesis is assumed to be true, you don't go about proving the null hypothesis.

of course it makes sense, just not from your perspective. from the perspective of the APA, it's on you to explain how these definitionally aggressive and violent behaviors that have obvious and immediate measurable negative consequences are harmless or even good. if these behaviors are good, then those good effects are very indirect and the effects can only be seen from a very abstract social analysis. but they're not sociologists, they're psychologists.

From the perspective of inferential statistics, the nature of the null hypothesis is that it is assumed to be true and only through sufficient testing, the null hypothesis can be rejected in favor of the alternative hypothesis.

Men are punished more often and more severely than women who commit the same crimes. Girls who bully boys are less likely to be punished (and less likely to appear in the statistics) . Likewise for domestic violence, sexual assault, statutory rape, etc.

You can't ignore the contribution of societal bias against men and masculinity to the outcomes you describe.

Small biases early in life give boys a bad reputation, restrict their options, and create anger, leading to more severe criminal activity later, while women and girls are more often forgiven and able to continue their lives.

yes, paternalistic discipline and punish structures are also problematic.

I disagree. Mainly because I don't think patterns based on someone gender are very interesting, I think they lead to bias and ultimately divide people. Again, consider how it would look like if the pattern was based on race.

We simply don't want to pattern people like that. You can judge by behavior, but you shouldn't judge by gender.

I think feminine & masculine, yin & yang are extremely fascinating and practically useful. When I run into a problem where the yang approach isn’t working I try switching to yin.

Meditation & psychedelics have me utterly convinced that yin & yang, chaos & order are fundamental to conscious experience. But, who knows.

Societal pressures? Role conformity?


Though looking at other discussions, it looks like people are more interested in playing blame games somehow.

I am not sure what is the question here.

Asked for a gender neutral way to label gender roles.

You just used the gender neutral way - "gender role".

I am not sure why you need to talk specifically about male or female roles, unless you are sexist? For example. In India, there was a caste system. Why would you in a modern society, need to talk about traditional role for a member of a caste?

You can talk about discrimination, for example, this and this person was denied to be employed as such and such, and it is discriminatory. But whatever the "traditional role" was, it doesn't actually matter at all. It doesn't matter why the racist thinks that someone is inferior.

You might want to specify this in your first message : I did not really understand your propositions in context before this message

There's no science to be found here, only the assertions of what is essentially a religious ideology. Pretty disheartening.

One of the reasons there's no science to be found here (in this thread) is that no one is bothering to actually read the APA guidelines before lashing out with their reactionary rage.


Please don't rant like this or conduct personal attacks on HN.

Would you please stop breaking the site guidelines in your comments here?



Please follow the site guidelines whether someone else broke them or not. Your comment would be just fine without the attack in the first sentence.


Perhaps I used strong language, but could you clarify which guideline I failed to follow? I believe that I did not - and certainly did not intend - to attack the person. I didn't call them any names, or say anything unkind about them personally. I did wish to be clear that their harmful, pejorative language has no place in the discussion, though.

And FWIW, I'm asking sincerely. I'm not trying to pick an argument with you.

"Fuck off" is majorly uncivil and the "Uh" prefix adds snark.

When reacting to pejorative language, it's important to eschew it oneself.


I don't really get why comments like this continue to pop up on HN. There are many non-science topics that make their way to the front page of HN regularly. Per the guidelines, on-topic submissions do not need to strictly be about programming, startups, or in this case, science.

Its usually always people who have been here for like 10 minutes.

HN isn't limited to solely science articles. Anything submitted and found interesting to the community is of course welcome.

I'm not a psychologist but to my knowledge the study of the subject is to a large part statistics which is seems pretty much there to cover these points.

It’s satstics applied to cultural anthropology in its current form, it doesn’t have a hard underpinning and changes from culture to culture. So it’s just relative opinions most of the time.

No idea, I didn't study that but I'm sure they are very transparent when referencing external sources or when generating new knowledge. Speaking about history, already when browsing a source like Wikipedia it becomes quickly apparent which things actually happened e.g. like when the UN was founded and things which are difficult to see like for instance what happened with JFK.

Also it seems mysterious to me how to apply statistics in this, especially speaking about definition of probability and applying it to seems that actually happened or not - in contrast to future events or thought experiments.

Perhaps people don't think that psychologists are very capable (and thus not worrisome), but I am worried about whatever science will develop from watching people behave and trying to get them to act against their own interests in the market and in politics.

And of course the science of making people behave at large, which I suspect is taking place already.

But HN is not only for science, is it?

It’s not about pretend science IMO.

I call BS on their assessment. #MeToo bandwagon.

Like it or not, men and women are NOT (edited omission) built the same way, and that includes more than just their private parts. What's harmful, aggression for example, can be dealt with without calling the entire masculinity harmful. The rest (stoicism, competitiveness, dominance) is what helps drive humanity ahead

Except they're not built the same way? There's significant differences in psychological and physical factors.

I meant NOT built the same way. Sorry

wil999 8 months ago [flagged]

Sounds like bs to me. Just some more far left rhetoric disguised in another insidious semi intellectual garb.

Please don't post unsubstantive comments to HN, or break the guidelines by name-calling in the sense described at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

If we take the name-calling out of this comment, there's nothing left. That makes it a bad comment for Hacker News.

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