The hegemonic model of masculinity puts women, men, and people with other identities at risk. This can be seen, for example, in the high number of men who die too young in Latin America and the main causes of death for men in Mexico.
In Mexico, men are more likely to die younger compared to women. In the country's capital, according to a study by the National Institutes of Statistics and Geography, and of Women (2018), their life expectancy is five years lower, refers the academic of the Center for Research and Gender Studies (CIEG) of the UNAM, César Torres Cruz.
Between the ages of 15 and 40, the leading causes of death among Mexicans are aggressions (they die for being macho, fighting in the street, hitting each other, etc.), traffic accidents in cars driven mostly by men, liver disease caused by drinking too much alcohol, and suicide.
These causes are related to gender, to a hegemonic model of masculinity, which teaches that "being a man is equivalent to being strong, risky, reckless, facing danger, although in daily life this has harmful effects for us. That is why it is very likely that we die younger, for assaulting ourselves or for not going to the doctor and thus demonstrating that one resists all the time", he emphasizes.
Education with a Gender Perspective
What does it mean to be a man these days? Experts say that there are different ways to be masculine and that we need to make new models of masculinity and think of men more in terms of femininity. This doesn't mean that men will stop being men, though.
Masculinity is a social construct that has changed over time and from one place to another. Little by little, other models are made that are closer to what has traditionally been seen as feminine, where it is accepted that crying and feeling anxious are normal parts of being human, where it is okay to do things that involve strength or risk, and that has historically been seen as feminine. In this way, the range of what is feminine and what is masculine is broadened, and relationships between men and women become more equal.
It is hard to get rid of a patriarchal society. Because of this, education should be based on gender from the time a child is young, both at school and at home. People need to be exposed to new ideas of what it means to be a man when they are young.
Men are rational
The academic says that this day is about six main things: promoting positive male role models, celebrating men's positive contributions to society, focusing on men's health and well-being, bringing attention to the fact that men shouldn't be treated unfairly, promoting gender equity, and making the world safer for everyone.
There are discriminatory relationships between men, but, as the expert points out, the structural difference between men and women is that men have social privileges because they are men, while women do not because "femininity is linked to social subordination."
Masculinity is also linked to a place where emotions are pushed down: "We are taught to be rational as if that meant not being emotional. We can't cry when we're sad or say we have anxiety when we don't feel well, and this is bad for our health."
This stereotypical, polarized view of the world, in which masculine and feminine are opposites and men are logical and women are emotional, has nothing to do with reality. We all have both, and figuring out the opposite has a big effect on the mental health of men. From a statistical point of view, more women than men are diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. This is because femininity and being emotional go together in a way that makes them stronger.
There is a "bomb" that could go off at any time. This means that "we repress our emotions, we don't talk about how we feel, and we don't dare to show sadness or even emotions that are seen as good, like happiness." Because of this, there are fewer psychiatric diagnoses. When a man goes to the doctor, it's because he already has a condition that makes him feel bad, and many don't go because they kill themselves. We need to talk about this problem.
They also think that sexual and reproductive health is something only women need to worry about. We are taught that we are healthy people who "never get sick," so diseases like prostate cancer and STDs stay a secret. The university professor says that there is still a long way to go in this area.