How traditional male role models can harm society

Men and women tend to have different coping mechanisms for their emotions: while women seek help, men often drown their frustration in alcohol and let feelings of aggression turn into violence.

Roxane Seckauer
Roxane Seckauer Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
How traditional male role models can harm society - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

From a young age, children are expected to have certain gender-compliant behavior. These social norms and models have a considerable influence on our behavior and usually accompany us throughout our lives.

The cultural models around us determine how we handle our feelings and problems, and much of the socialization of children relies on modeling. But there is clearly a lack of positive male role models. The prevailing idols in film and literature perpetuate a dangerous image of masculinity:

They are strong, never cry, are able to do everything without asking for help.

As a result of these expectations, men are far more likely than women to use violence or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

However, rather than adopting a gendered perspective, the right-wing conservative government in Austria considers violence an "imported problem" that mainly originates from the "immigrant milieu" -- despite the fact that experts have been stressing for years that such actions occur in every environment.

Details from the story:

  • Men are more likely than women to respond to frustration or hopelessness with violence and self-harm.
  • More than 70 percent of alcoholics in Austria are male.
  • Austrian crime statistics also shows that men commit ten times more violent acts than women. Terrorism and vandalism are also mostly perpetrated by men.
  • Men commit suicide nearly four times more often than women, but nearly twice as many women report depression.
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