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Die erste Ausgabe des Männer*Gesundheitsmagazins für Bayern

PSYCHOLOGY ENGLISH TOXIC

PSYCHOLOGY ENGLISH TOXIC MASCULINITY “Typically male” can be quite anti-social Interview: Bernd Müller How and where do we experience “toxic masculinity”? It occurs in practically all areas of society and is linked to competition and dominance. Men often don’t show feelings or pain and grow up being mutually competitive. This behaviour can also impact their health. In interpersonal relationships, emotional closeness between men isn’t always allowed or socially tolerated. Behavior such as aggression – on the other hand – is. It is in those situations that we experience forms of toxic masculinity. Less obvious, because it is defined as a norm, we also experience toxic masculinity in social hierarchies. How does toxic masculinity affect us? Men initially inflict damage to their health, by generally displaying higher risk behavior and thinking less of mental health, which leads to a higher rate of suicide. But they also care less about their bodies and are less aware of preventive care offers than women. Not least because of this, they have a lower life expectancy, which is on average five years below that of women. Another aspect: masculinity needs a gender order that is still based primarily on the gender binary “man / woman”. Everything that does not fit into the classic image of masculinity is subordinated. To put it bluntly, a man is only seen as a man if he fits into the existing understanding of roles. One consequence is the devaluation of others who do not fit into this picture. This is also known as hegemonic masculinity. TO PUT IT BLUNTLY, A MAN IS ONLY SEEN AS A MAN IF HE FITS INTO THE EXISTING UNDERSTAN- DING OF ROLES. Does this behavior also affect gay or trans* men, who often do not define themselves as part of the heterosexual hierarchy system? We are all shaped by socialization processes that have taught us how a man should be. Even gay or trans* men are not protected from this way of thinking and, thus, from toxic masculinity just because they are queer. If they want to overcome this socialization, they too have to conscientiously work hard on themselves and reflect deeply on questions like: What does masculinity mean for me, for society, how and where is it harmful? How does toxic masculinity harm others? Our society accepts male dominance in sex as the norm. This notion makes it difficult for partners to say “no”. Men must be taught how 12 CHECK BAYERN #1

PSYCHOLOGY Grafik: M-SUR/stock.adobe.com It’s common knowledge that stereotypical male behavior is hard to endure when witnessing it. And it’s not healthy for the one displaying it either. Now the phenomenon has gained new momentum under the catchphrase „toxic masculinity“. Social pedagogue Robert Weinelt from the team of advisors at Münchner Aids-Hilfe provides information and tips on how to avoid this behavior. to actively obtain consent and to become more sensitive to the needs of others. This would result in an intensive examination of dominating behavior and privileges. Overall, the male-dominated and defined gender hierarchy has a negative impact on the life situation of all persons who are perceived as non-male. At this point, I would like to refer to the so-called „rape culture“, in which attacks are also possible because the environment is silent about them, trivializing them or even accepting them. Can you avoid it? Above all, men should focus on themselves and reflect on their own role and gender image. One could also redefine male friendships and allow more feelings in them. The father-son relationship is also often characterized by clichés: Fathers can have difficulties showing their sons physical care, such as kissing or holding them. It can be helpful to establish open spaces in which men can allow such feelings. An example here would be corresponding groups of men that emerged from the second wave of the women‘s movement and were particularly widespread in the 1980s. When it comes to sexuality, the topic of pornography should not be underestimated: Here, male dominance behavior is exemplified, there is usually little or no verbal communication – not even obtaining consent. Approaches such as feminist porn or queer porn already exist and try to offer alternatives. Does your life improve if you avoid toxic masculinity? Us men often put pressure on ourselves. For example, we believe that we have to be sexually ready and productive at all times. Ultimately, avoiding toxic behaviors can lead to a healthier, less stressful, and more social life that also takes other genders and identities more seriously and ensures a more just, more understanding, and ultimately more peaceful society. (translation: ts,sw) Foto: Bernd Müller Robert Weinelt Social Education Worker and counselor at Münchner Aids-Hilfe www.muenchneraidshilfe.de CHECK BAYERN #1 13

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blu, hinnerk, gab, rik, Leo – die Magazine der blu Mediengruppe erscheinen monatlich in den Metropolen Deutschlands. Die nationale Reichweite der Magazine ermöglicht den reisefreudigen Lesern Zugriff auf alle Informationen immer und überall. Themenschwerpunkte sind neben der regionalen queeren Szene, Kultur, Wellness, Design, Mode und Reise. Unsere Titel sind mit der lokalen Community jahrzehntelang gewachsen und eng verbunden, was durch Medienpartnerschaften mit den CSD-Paraden in Hamburg, Berlin, München und Frankfurt sowie zahlreiche Kooperationen, wie der Christmas Avenue in Köln, seinen Ausdruck findet.