Toxic masculinity does no good to anyone, and if a recent study is to be believed, it can socially isolate men as they grow older.
According to the study published in the journal Sex Roles, men who endorse the idea of hegemonic ideals, tend to find themselves less happy as they begin to age, owing to the fact that they can be subjected to social isolation.
For the study, some 5,500 US older men and women from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Survey — which administered the hegemonic masculinity for ‘Older Men Scale’ — were surveyed. The researchers found that as we age, we tend to think about both our physical and mental well-being. Having someone to turn to, to talk to, to discuss personal matters with, is encouraged as it operates within the ambit of social support. If people do not have anyone to experience this with, they can miss out on the chance to reflect upon their own lives, which, in turn, can put a strain on their mental health and negatively affect it.
Toxic masculinity, it is believed, it harmful because it keeps a person from enjoying the healthy experiences of life.
According to the study, while not every ageing man faces the risk of social isolation, those who entertain certain ideals and subscribe to certain norms, certainly do. Researchers said that besides being self harming, toxic masculinity also affects other people — like those who are at the receiving end of it — especially women.
But more than that, it is often detrimental for men, because the very idea of having hegemonic ideals clashes with healthy living, because the former pushes for a more autonomous take on life, withholding emotions. According to the research, this can stop a person from making friends or developing friendships.
The research also suggests that one can do away with social isolation, by understanding masculinity better, and that ‘toughness’ and ‘independence’ are not the only prerequisites to becoming ‘real men’. It was found in the survey that the higher the men score on the scale of hegemonic masculinity, the less likely they are to seek help and change their views.