What is Sexism and Why is it Bad for Your Mental Health?

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According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Sexism is defined as, “…prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially : discrimination against women. 2 : behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex.”

Sexist men are the type to sexually whistle at women innocently walking down the street. While men have done things like this for centuries, it may be more than just annoying. A recent study by psychologists has revealed that men who are sexists may have very real psychological problems. Women rejoice! It is NOT all in your head.

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About the study

In the review, psychologists looked at 11 years of data collected from approximately 20,000 men. The data was gathered from 78 different studies on masculinity and mental health between the years of 2003 and 2013. With participants ranging in age from 12 – 65, the studies included mostly white men but also included African and Asian Americans.  

What researchers found was that sexist men who feel powerful when they dominate women, and endorse playboy behavior, as well as exert other symptoms of masculinity, are more likely to suffer from real psychological problems.

These “normal” masculine behaviors include: a strong desire to win, need for emotional control, risk-taking, violence, dominance, sexual promiscuity (Playboy), self-reliance, primacy of work, power over women, disdain for homosexuality, and pursuit of status.


The results

Overall, those subjects who conformed to masculine norms were associated with negative mental health outcomes including a strong association on these three masculine norms: self-reliance, pursuit of playboy behavior and power over women.

Lead author of the study, Y. Joel Wong, PhD, said this, “In general, individuals who conformed strongly to masculine norms tended to have poorer mental health and less favorable attitudes toward seeking psychological help, although the results differed depending on specific types of masculine norms.”

Further, Wong said that, “Men who strongly conformed to masculine norms were not only more likely to have poor mental health but they were also less likely to seek mental health treatment.”

This could be because traditionally in society men are taught not to express their emotions. However, this could be dangerous to their mental health.

Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?

One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.

But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.


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