American Psychological Association (APA) released its “Guidelines for Psychological Practice for Boys and Men.”
In it, the APA claims that “traditional masculinity” is a cause and consequence of men’s mental health concerns. Masculine stoicism prevents men from seeking treatment when in need, while beliefs rooted in “masculine ideology” perpetuate men’s worst behaviors—including sexual harassment and rape.
The document also states that Masculine ideology, itself a byproduct of the “patriarchy,” benefits men and simultaneously victimizes them. The APA committee advises therapists that men need to become allies to feminism. “Change men,” an author of the report stated, “and we can change the world.”
However, the document’s partisan language and politically progressive narratives would not encourage men to receive services, but to keep them away.
While the guidelines did receive pushback, the ABA doubled down, issuing a statement, “When a man believes that he must be successful no matter who is harmed or his masculinity is expressed by being sexually abusive, disrespectful, and harmful to others, that man is conforming to the negative aspects associated with traditional masculinity.”
In other words, according to the APA, these selfish, violent, and abusive behaviors are about “masculinity”—especially “traditional masculinity.” For added authority, the statement was signed by three presidents of the APA.
Rather than hammer the ABA, I believe the guidelines are rooted in a concern about men and boys. The culture wars have not been kind to men, and data from an assortment of surveys tell us that boys and men are not thriving.