Finally, an explanation.
Ladies, the men who catcall you, condescend you, or treat you like a piece of meat might actually have more going on in their lives than you realize. Well, in their brains, actually. But it has a pejorative effect on the rest of their lives, too.
They’re still assh*les, but according to a new study, these sexist guys might actually be suffering from psychological problems on top of having "foot in mouth" syndrome.
The Journal of Counseling Psychology recently published a study that suggested men who see themselves as being in positions of “power” over women or even as “playboys” are much likelier to have psychological problems than those men who don’t. Worse still? They’re also far less inclined to seek treatment for those problems, it would seem.
The researchers — from Indiana University, Bloomington — analyzed 78 studies involving nearly 20,000 people. All of the studies explored “the relationship between mental health and conformity to norms.” They looked into what society typically considers “masculine,” including a desire to win, self-reliance, risk-taking, power over women, pursuit of status, and a need for emotional control.
Of these influences, the researchers also looked for potential connections to good or bad mental health and compared those with the person’s desire to seek help for any potential psychological issues.
Not too unsurprisingly, the researchers were able to draw a definitive line between men who felt the need to conform to typical masculine norms and poor mental health.
Of these “norms,” the most consistent link was found in men who believed in exercising power over women and “playboy” behavior. That’s right! Sexist guys who like to use women or exhibit control issues over them are actually likely to suffer from poor mental health problems, like depression.
It’s not hard to imagine that they at least have to deal with self-esteem issues if they’re getting rejections from angry women all day long because they’re going about relationships with ladies entirely the wrong way.
The study wasn’t certain if the men involved already had these mental health issues and were, therefore, acting this way to women and embracing masculine norms, or if they began behaving in these superfluous “masculine” ways and then developed poor mental health as a result. But either way, the connection was clear: Men who try to be ultra-masculine and choose to be sexist toward women are most likely suffering from some form of untreated depression or other negative mental health issue.
So next time that guy won't stop hounding you, just be aware of the fact that he's trying to live up to a standard that is literally unhealthy for him to the point of psychological stress.
We might not be able to help men who aren't interested in stopping their playboy behavior, but we can start by setting a standard for young boys to live up to that doesn't include the need to dominate women. This is a problem that affects everyone, men and women alike, and shouldn't be allowed to continue blindly for untold generations.