Recently, the boffins at the American Psychological Association (APA) proclaimed “traditional masculinity” as toxic.
With no apparent shame, here are the exact words they used: “Traits of so-called ‘traditional masculinity,’ like suppressing emotions & masking distress, often start early in life & have been linked to less willingness by boys & men to seek help, more risk-taking & aggression – possibly harming themselves & those with whom they interact.”
What makes this statement really dangerous is the mixture of ideology and ostensibly neutral expertise: a strong ideological gesture of excluding phenomena considered unacceptable is presented as an impartial description of medical facts.
How can one not recall here the notorious Serbsky institute in Moscow (thriving even now!) which, in the Soviet years, was well known for categorizing dissidence as a form of mental illness?
And exactly the same happens when we designate masculinity as “toxic,” under the cover of medical expertise. It amounts to the imposition of a new normativity, a fresh figure of the enemy.
Indeed, if, in the old days of heterosexual normativity, homosexuality was treated as illness, it is now masculinity itself which is medicalized and turned into a sickness to be fought. Thus, all the references to power, patriarchy and oppression of women cannot obfuscate the ideological brutality of the operation.
[Abstract. Appeared in RT on January 12th 2019.]