Gender equality has been a social concern since man step foot on earth. When we think of gender equality discrimination against women is what comes to mind, but in recent years psychologist and sociologist have began to study how men are discriminated against. It is considered general knowledge that men still make more money a year then women, and it is true that men hold most of the position of power in society. Recent studies have concluded that there is an aspect of society that discriminates against men. This aspect of society is deeply rooted in the American culture, and it is hard to name, to discuses, and to study. Gender roles for men, then are viewed not as biological givens, but as social constructions created from the expectations of social forces such as parents, teachers, peers, and the media about what constitute masculinity (Pleck, 1995) Mahalik 1998}. Men are socialized to believe in the importance of success, power, and competitiveness. Because the male socialization experience is theorized to create negative feelings such as anxiety and shame related to all things feminine, the development of rigid traditional male roles, or male gender role conflict (O’Neil, Helms, Gable, David, & Wrightsman, 1986) Mahalik 1998}.
Looking at male emotional socialization from the framework of the gender role strain paradigm, many boys are required to block their feelings and restrict the expression of their vulnerable and caring emotions (Levant) Mahalik 1998}. Because of this, “a man experiences any particular facet of self that he considers feminine with great conflict and anxiety, because he believes it threatens his manhood” (Mahalik, Cournoyer, Defranc, Cherry, and Napolitano 1998). As a result of this fear of femininity, men are believed to over conform to traditional male roles as a coping strategy to avoid femininity (Pleck, 1995) Mahalik 1998}.
Men are taught to use their roles prescribed by society as a psychological defense. When a man is confronted with an situation instead of dealing with the problem, men tend to fall back on the stereotypical masculine gender roles. Men hold their emotions inside and although they may not be immediately affected our health and well - being suffers in the long run. The improper socialization of males in American society affects all demographics of society. It affects men across socio - economic classes, and races and cultures. Improper socialization of males is an interesting topic to research and study because it affects the entire male population and it is going to take society as a whole working together to correct the problem.
One way to began changing how males are socialized is to make the population aware of the psychological effects “gender role conflicts”. In mental health institutions, at hospitals, and colleges and universities there is an array of journals, pathlets, and articles written about how women are discriminated and socialized. With the new millennium approaching the effects of male socialization needs to be an equally important issue on the public policy agenda. More research needs to be done and published so that the message can spread throughout the country and the scholarly community.
For background information two articles from the Journal of Counseling Psychology will be discus. The first, “Men’s Gender Role Conflict and Use of Psychological Defenses” by James R. Mahilik, Robert J. Cournoyer, William DeFranc, Marcus Cherry, and Jeffrey M. Napolitano examines the way males are socialized and the way that their socialization affects how they respond in anxious situations. Specifically, the researchers are trying to determine if there is a relationship between stereotypical macho male roles and psychological defense mechanisms.
There were one hundred and fifteen participants in this study. All participants in this study were males. Some of the participants were college students, others were from various clubs and organizations, and others were from church groups. The average age of the participants was 26.45 years. The participants were from a variety of cultural backgrounds, but the vast majority were white. The participants were first asked to complete the Gender Role Conflict Scale. This scale measures success, power, and competition; restrictive emotionality; restrictive affectionate behavior between men; and conflicts between work and family relations. The Defense Mechanism Inventory was used to measure the use of