Men’s Mental Health: pressures from social media

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Women are often seen as the sole victims of the media, but it’s easy to forget that men also face pressures to fit into a certain gender mould. It seems stereotypical to overlook what men face on social media, especially with increased raising of awareness, for example Movember, when men around the world rally together to raise money for male mental health through social media.

It’s easy to forget that men too face pressures to fit into a certain gender mould

From an early age, boys are taught to be the epitome of strength, the foundational pillar of the household. You must have heard the phrase ‘boys don’t cry’, and I think this perfectly summarises the issue. Men aren’t allowed to seem weak or share their emotions; showing a vulnerable side would break the stereotype of male dominance and aggression. Mental health in itself is a very sensitive subject that we avoid as must as possible, and due to gender stereotypes it can feel almost impossible for men to reach out and ask for help without the fear of being judged.

One of the most prominent issues brought about by social media is that of body image. When body image and mental wellbeing surround an issue it is typically seen as female-only concern. Males tend to have this perception of a perfect physique and feel obliged to live up to it. What initially seems like a physical issue, though, quickly becomes a mental burden. A severe fixation on attaining this false ideal soon transforms into body dysmorphia which rapidly permeates your life, and the hours of scrolling and double-tapping provide no remedies.

When body image and mental wellbeing surround an issue it is typically seen as female-only concern.

Increasingly, high-profile athletes are speaking out about their struggles with eating disorders and mental health surrounding body image. If the very people modelling for these advertisements on social media are struggling, how can we even begin to imagine the impacts they are having on ordinary boys and men?

We often overlook the stereotype that the male of the house is the primary breadwinner or the idea that guys should pay on the first date. Snapchats and Instagram posts of extravagant holidays, hotels and cars undoubtedly place immense pressure on men to possess these luxuries too. Wealth plays a hugely important role in governing our society and it perpetuates the idea that a wealthy lifestyle is the only desirable one to have in order to be happy.

The superficiality of social media has become apparent and social media users are increasingly aware of it. The crumbling ideals surrounding social media will hopefully provide a platform to encourage and support causes like Movember, rather than create pressures and encourage stereotypes.

Image: stux via Pixabay

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