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Hypermasculinity: How to deal with 'toxic factors'

There are many challenges in life that affect men, and hypermasculinity is one such issue that can plague the holistic wellness of males, argues Mr Perfect CEO Terry Cornick. 

Wellness Daily spoke with Mr Cornick about how such exaggerated masculine culture and traits can often be detrimental to one's health and wellbeing, and what can be done to combat it. 

"[Hypermasculinity is] the idea that men display even more exaggerated characteristics of the stereotypical alpha male: aggression, strength, delight in acts of violence or sexism, and to not show even an ounce of 'weakness'," he explained. 

"It is one of the most toxic factors to a man's wellness (and arguably those close to him), as any sign of feeling uncomfortable or upset is repressed and held in, bubbling up under the surface like a volcano."

Such issues can be long-standing, with far-reaching consequences, he noted. 

"Generally, it can be a response to how their male role models treated them as children, instilling behaviours and actions firmly into their make-up that this is what it means to be a man, regardless of the consequences," he said. 

"From my experience, it has affected mostly those with a troubled childhood or had difficult relationships with their parents, particularly fathers, where abuse of various forms was commonplace." 

Unravelling the programming that a man may have undergone through to manhood and beyond is complex, he ceded, and is rarely without pain itself, but is also not an impossible undertaking. 

"Spending more time with those who have character traits you admire and want to show, like patience, love, respect and humility, can all be helpful," he suggested. 

"As can reading, listening and getting comfortable with your own company can be a good start." 

"Of course, there are professional options if needed, such as therapy." 

There is also "nothing more noble than the truth", he argued, including being true to one's self, those around you and the broader community. 

"The issue we have is that truth is expensive, and the majority of us do not want to deal with something that could be painful," he mused. 

"The irony being, just like an impactful gym session, you have to feel the pain and break down those muscle fibres before they grow back again stronger and bigger." 

Getting comfortable talking to even just one person, who respects honest communication, can truly change the dynamics of relationships and have positive flow-on effects, he said, as he has personally experienced through chats at the pub with mates. 

Such pub chats are, he reflected, what helped start Mr Perfect (an organisation that hosts meet-up barbeques and other such activities for men from all backgrounds and personalities to talk about issues that might be plaguing them). 

"The time for awareness, and talking generally about mental health, is over. True action at a social level is imperative to foster healthy men that can help each other," he concluded.