Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Strong Silent Types - Healthy Men Bottle Up Their Emotions…

Another excellent literature review from ultimo167 at Strong Silent Types - Stuff for Men. This time he is looking at a new article from Ron Levant on the relationship between health behaviors in men and their socialization as men. Seems he is doing nothing original . . .

Healthy Men Bottle Up Their Emotions…

By ultimo167
Levant, R., Wimer, D., & Williams, C. (2011). An evaluation of the Health Behavior Inventory-20 (HBI-20) and its relationships to masculinity and attitudes towards seeking psychological help among college men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 12(1), 26-41 DOI:10.1037/a0021014
Wherever did that super streamlined hypothesis, tying into a tight knot a rigid association between masculine ideals, men’s alleged risk-taking behaviours and their reluctance to seek professional help for their physical and mental health problems, come from? I confess that I myself have been guilty many times of drawing dodgy dots between what are essentially discrete yet complex phenomena, both within individual male subjects and between and across groups of men. It sounds plausible, right, since it has become so culturally embedded that men bottle things up until they quite literally explode.

I wonder…
  • What are men actually bottling up?
  • Are they bottling up anything at all?
  • Is it necessarily ‘bad’ to bottle things up?
We do know that many men make choices that are detrimental to their own health and well-being: they drink too much, smoke too much, eat too much fatty food, drive too recklessly, fuck too unsafely, etc. (Levant et al. 2011, p.26). However, the choice to engage in objectively harmful behaviours cannot easily be transformed into a grand narrative that not only encompasses a rationale for why some men so act but further, why they would rather die than be caught dead in any old doctor’s waiting room. How all these disparate threads then get so neatly drawn together is as astonishing as it is incredulous.

With this article by Levant et al. (2011, pp.26-27), I saw the possibility for some fresh thinking on this issue ostensibly squandered by the authors’ predilection for remaining trapped within the orthodox, normative prism that men are predominantly the products of their male socialisation.

Read the whole review of this article.

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