Masculinity is under attack. If you haven’t noticed, then you've been living under a rock. By now, you’ve probably heard that the American Psychological Association has joined the fray by reframing masculinity as a mental illness. The APA claims that “traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.” Who’s to blame for corrupting innocent boys with these toxic urges? According to the APA, it’s the patriarchy. So men are to blame for ruining men. And now it’s up to therapists to save their damaged psyches by encouraging them to be more like women, which shouldn’t be too hard since it’s only misguided societal pressures that make men masculine: “Indeed, when researchers strip away stereotypes and expectations, there isn’t much difference in the basic behaviors of men and women.” … [Read more...] about Reviving Romeo
Guilt trip ur
Some 13 years after I arrived in New York something happened that got me wondering about where my “home” really was. As a psychology graduate student at Columbia, I befriended four classmates who were all from other countries, South Africa, Israel, Finland, and Lebanon. One day, we found ourselves tearing up (and surprised by our hurting hearts) after a class about the impact of culture on identity. Though we were pretty psychologically minded, the realization of the extent to which we were embedded in our countries came oddly to us as a new idea. As we listened to Dr. Marsha Levy-Warren teaching us that we attach to culture as deeply, fundamentally, and unconsciously as we do to our parents, it seemed to be news to us. She underscored this by reminding us of the words we use for country, “mother country” and “fatherland” (Levy-Warren, 1987). She spoke about the psychological impact of timing—the age at which … [Read more...] about Going Home, Again
Our wealthy society has eliminated many of the hardships of life for many of its citizens, so for many people, the worst thing that happens to them in a given day is to have their feelings hurt. Avoiding this is treated with the same seriousness that we use when the worst thing likely to happen is death, mutilation, or malnutrition. Actually, malnutrition is complicated; Americans are widely both over-nourished and malnourished because health advocates are constrained from hurting people’s feelings by telling them that they eat too much sweet and processed food. Also, I admit, the purveyors of these products have a lot of political power and stop those messages one way (the lawsuit against Oprah) or another (the concept of “fat-shaming”). I’m not saying that the concept of fat-shaming was created by soda, chips, and candy manufacturers; I’m saying that’s only because they didn’t think of it first. No soda commercial can rival the concept of … [Read more...] about The Tyranny of Emotion
But, as addressed in Positive Evolutionary Psychology: Darwin’s Guide to Living a Richer Life (Geher & Wedberg, 2020), when it comes to our social psychology, our minds are riddled with ancestral adaptations and processes that evolved under social conditions that are, in many ways, very different from our large-scale modern worlds. Before the Neolithic revolution, which took place a mere (in terms of organic evolution) 10,000 years ago, all humans were nomads, living in small clans—surrounded by kin and by others whom they would see repeatedly across their lifetimes. Our minds didn’t evolve under conditions in which we co-existed with strangers. And small-scale ancestral groups were, for practical reasons, capped at about 150 (see Dunbar, 1993). … [Read more...] about Et tu, Brute?
The greatest damage, however, lies not in the flimsiness of nutrition's conventional wisdom, but the psychological impact of the food lessons we impart. Rather than promoting the healthy lifestyle we claim we want for our children, parents are inadvertently teaching them the worst possible attitudes about food, weight and self-image. Whatever perceived benefit parents imagine they accomplish by laying out food rules is far outweighed by the larger damage they are doing to children’s feelings about food, weight, and by extension, about themselves. Linking food to praise, guilt, health and illness—to name just a few of the burdens we’ve placed on the quotidian task of eating—is terrible for everyone, but especially for children, both physically and psychologically. … [Read more...] about Break Your Food Rules