For the first time in its history, the American Psychological Association (APA) has released guidelines for mental health professionals responsible for “psychological practice with boys and men,” stipulating that “traditional masculinity – marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression – is, on the whole, harmful.”
Although the report was released by the APA back in August 2018, the organization just recently used its Twitter account to convey that the essential takeaway from the new guidelines is that men displaying conventionally held masculine characteristics are harming themselves and others via their so-called toxic masculinity.
“Masculinity ideology” is defined by the APA as “a particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.”
Some of the characteristics embodied in what the APA terms as “masculinity ideology” are traits that have traditionally held societal family units together, including courage, loyalty, self-reliance, competitiveness, and ambition. These traits have now been classified by the organization as “psychologically harmful.”
The application of scientific principles within the construction of the guidelines appears, for the most part, to be absent. This is particularly manifest in the APA’s adoption and inclusion of the identity politics language of the radical left.
Additionally, rather than using the biological indicator of the human Y chromosome as the basis for male gender designation, the perspective taken by the APA is that gender is instead “socially constructed.” The viewpoint also takes the position that gender is “non-binary” and that maleness itself causes a host of negative effects.
The narrative within the APA guidelines blames masculinity for the societal ills of, among other things, racism, homophobia, and misogyny. Masculinity is blamed as well for the disruptive behaviors of bullying and sexual harassment.
According to the APA’s release, mental health professionals, policy makers, and private citizens must eradicate existing masculine tendencies and work to create a new form of maleness. The studies that are incorporated in the guidelines presuppose that masculine characteristics originate via social construct.
However, the scientific evidence and society’s basic understanding are largely contrary to this premise, indicating instead that the qualities of manhood are an integral component of human biology and are innate as opposed to cultivated.
This conventional premise, i.e., that masculine traits are inherent in males, is referred to by evolutionary psychologists as the “male warrior hypothesis.” The hypothesis posits that the behavior of human males stems from the biological necessity for them to attract females for reproductive purposes. Males outwardly project signs of these attributes, which include physical strength, social alliances, the ability to aggregate resources such as food, territory, power, stature, etc., in order to heighten their appeal to females.
Up until fairly recently, gender was a relatively clear and simple concept. Moreover, the modern day leftist notion that male characteristics are somehow a construction of a patriarchy is foreign to a majority of those in our society as well as to people and cultures around the globe.
Despite the left’s entreaties to the contrary, the simple facts are that human babies are born with particular genitalia and a specific genetic code. Exceptions do exist, but they are extremely rare.
Male characteristics of masculinity typically manifest themselves very early in child development. The findings of one meta-analysis, with which many parents and grandparents can relate, appeared in “Infant and Child Development” in November 2017.
Researchers examined 1,788 papers and 16 studies, which involved the free selection of toys by boys and girls, 1 to 8 years of age, and found that “boys played with male‐typed toys more than girls did.” They additionally found that “girls played with female‐typed toys more than boys did.”
The abstract of the meta-analysis reads as follows: “Despite methodological variation in the choice and number of toys offered, context of testing, and age of child, the consistency in finding sex differences in children’s preferences for toys typed to their own gender indicates the strength of this phenomenon and the likelihood that has a biological origin.”
Interestingly, other primates also appear to reflect similar infant gender differences when it comes to toy preference.
A study conducted in 2008 by psychologists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia examined 11 male and 23 female rhesus monkeys. Most of the study animals were juveniles, 1 to 4 years of age. When the young animals were exposed to trucks and dolls, the males preferred to play with trucks while the females showed a preference for playing with both kinds of toys.
Having studied and written about the mindset of the left over the course of many years, I have found that there is an authoritarian tendency that frequently arises in those who subscribe to the worldview of the radical left, and now some of the hallmark institutions of our society.
Many on the left may have feelings of resentment toward males who possess the aforementioned masculine traits, possibly due to past experiences in which they may have suffered negative ramifications to physical, psychological, or social well-being.
There is another explanation, though, that is not in any way new to history. There is a type of quest in individuals and groups within any society to aggregate and retain power. This quest oftentimes incentivizes certain people or groups to try and coerce others into abandoning their knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes in favor of, in this instance, the prescribed ideology of the radical left.
For society’s enlightened, the notion that all are created equal is written upon individuals’ hearts, and respect for all people is fully embraced. Within this realm, virtue claims no gender exclusivity, nor does self-sacrifice, or any other positive characteristic that the left has deemed to be toxic on the part of males.
In a strike at the self-esteem of those who happen to be males, instead of validating the essence of half the population, who not so incidentally are our sons, husbands, fathers, grandfathers, friends, and loved ones, our society is being led by so-called experts into the arena of hating the boys and men that we love, accusing them of vile thoughts and deeds, and stigmatizing them until they capitulate to the left’s “scientifically derived” diagnosis and treatment.
The APA wields the power to influence a host of important societal institutions. School administrators, colleges, universities, corporations, courts, etc., will undoubtedly be making reference to the new guidelines, and this in turn will deeply affect the lives of boys to men.
Essentially, males of all ages will be required to deny who they are and become what the leftist social engineers have designed for them. This is an untenable scenario for anyone who understands how the autonomy of the individual is necessary for a society to remain healthy.