Masculinity is a social construct; a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with boys and men. Standards of masculinity vary across different cultures. Both males and females can exhibit masculine traits and behavior.
The exercise was aimed to highlight traditional social conditioning on men’s self-concept which supports men’s unhealthy privilege and entitlements that foster gender discrimination and violence. 100 men were interviewed.
Interview Target Areas
- KVDA Environs
- Rupa mall Environs
- Moi University campuses
Random street interviews Interview questions
- How do you see/ define yourself?
- What do you do when you are stressed, frustrated, sad?
- Do you share your feelings with your male friends?
- What are your opinions on sharing; feelings?
- What values/ characters do you think a man should have?
Findings and Discussions
From the 100 men who were polled, below are the statistical findings, quotations, and discussions
From the exercise, it is easy to understand why men are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide. Toxic masculinity was evident across all ages of the participants.
Limiting emotional awareness and expression, viewing oneself as a powerful being.
Toxic Masculinity has kept them in an emotional prison, making it difficult for them to gain deep knowledge of themselves and forge intimate relationships with others.
It’s pushing for dehumanization, placing less value on another person; especially women/men who are exploring and expressing their femininity, treating those who are different as if they have less personal worth.
“I see myself as someone who acknowledges the roles and responsibilities of a man in my family and society.”
– Wesley, 60 years old
“I see myself as powerful”
– Peter, 24 years old
– Abubakar, 21 years old
Men Age 30 and above consider sharing as a sign of weakness, not manly. While the younger generation relies on art, music, games, or meditation to calm down, they prefer speaking less than they should.
It was noted that there is a generation vacuum to teach men how to be vulnerable as men shape men.
MENTAL HEALTH AND MASCULINITY
By Sylvia Waititwa
BMHC Org. Member
Edited by Tracy Lumbasi
On trying to understand sex orientation, Judith Butler (1990) theorized that gender is not a fixed or inherent but a socially defined set of practices and traits that have over time grown to become labeled as feminine or masculine. This implies that society plays a crucial role in shaping the kinds of
masculinities we encounter in our social circles. The expectations of society could sometimes clash with the interpersonal desires of what kind of masculine one wants to become.
In an ordinary African society, men are associated with emotional stability as opposed to women who are Perceived as highly emotional. The scientist however defends this by posing the fact that women have more hormonal changes than men.
Another attribute of masculinity is aggression and dominance. Men are also expected to be or rather perceived as dominating. This is evident as most fields career-wise and politically are dominated by men. In homes, you also hear children refer to the father as the harsh decision-maker and mother as a caregiver.
The medium of socialization such as toys television, radio, magazines, and cultural activities such as rites of passage impact a lot on the mental growth of men in society. Just how far does this affect the lives of the men we have in this generation? How healthy is their mental being? And how then can we the society help in understanding and strengthening the male child who is our future fathers and husbands and heads of our homes?
Well, we set out to find out how men in Eldoret act upon emotional wellbeing, how they think about themselves, and what they feel is expected of them, and below is what came out.
– They all agreed that sharing feelings of hurt helps to calm them down and some feel validated when they speak to someone who listens and understands them. However, some preferred to speak to close friends, some to elderly people, some were not certain of the category they would prefer. This indicates some traces of insecurity among them.
– The second aspect we looked at was their immediate reaction to stressing circumstances. On this, we received different and mixed reactions. Some would listen to music, others watch movies, some play games on their play stations, some would sit alone in rooms or away from the chaos of the town, others preferred social media “memes” and funny clips to ease their mind while others preferred drinking and evening hangouts with friends. Very few wanted to talk when they feel stressed or pressured.
This is a clear indicator that the majority would prefer to get distracted than confront the situation immediately. The question arises: how beneficial is this to their mental state? Do they later get solutions to their problem or they to end up procrastinating the pain?
– On the character expected of a man in modern society and how they felt about themselves most men portrayed supreme confidence in their self-description as expected. None of them wanted to be affiliated with being belligerent. The traits they cited, the behavioral traits below as being “a real man” in this modern society; Hardworking, led emotional, trustworthy, patient, faithful, bravery, being an overall a provider and caring, respectful, and should be the societal mirror.