Loosening the male stiff upper lip

Men’s reluctance to discuss feelings can be overcome, says John Barry

The World Today Published 15 December 2017 Updated 18 November 2020 3 minute READ

John Barry

One of the founders, Male Psychology Network and works at University College London’s Department of Psychology

Without a doubt, men are capable of doing bad things. Horrifying things. We fill newspapers each day with the bad things men do. Some of this bad behaviour may be associated with the failure of men to adapt to cultural shifts since the 1960s, which have redefined their role in society. Indeed, it is common for people to talk about a crisis in masculinity, and even more ominously, of ‘toxic masculinity’.

The study of masculinity in psychology began in the 1990s and developed a deficit model, focusing mainly on problems attributed to masculinity. For example, masculinity was said to impose on men a narrow set of values and views, which leads to problems such as misogyny and homophobia.

The crisis in masculinity today is said to be about men struggling to find their place in a world that no longer values the traditional male role of the breadwinner and stoical defender of the family.

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