International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Masculinity and Health – How Gender Shapes Male Attitudes towards Health
Terri Juneau

When I get a cold, I typically go to a doctor if it gets too bad. If my husband gets a cold, he simply downplays it and remains sick for about three weeks as the cold turns into the flu. When that happens, he will simply say “I‟ll drink a lot of orange juice and be fine” and the flu turns into pneumonia and I drag him, unwillingly, to urgent care. What happens though when there isn‟t a me to drag a man kicking and screaming to the doctor? Nothing. This is the norm now for males across the globe, of various ages, from all walks of life and varying backgrounds and ethnicities and race. Males are simply not going to the doctor. They aren‟t seeking help for physical ailments; they are not getting screened for male-only diseases and they are most certainly not reaching out for mental health and illnesses. This is not just a societal problem; this is an epidemic of mass proportions. A big reason for this mass boycott of health provision is the way men view disease and how that links up with their own ideas of masculinity. It is not masculine to be weak or to ask for help. As a society we have reinforced what it is to be masculine by creating gender norms and roles. That has ledto fragile masculinity, or hegemonic masculinity, which is an overcompensation of masculinity which leads to destructive health behaviors and devastating outcomes to problems that could potentially be solved with a simple doctor visit.

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