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Is SG sexist against males? — Men find it harder to seek mental health help as they’re expected to be ‘strong, stoic & emotionally resilient’

"Traditionally, masculinity evokes certain expressions and demonstrations of behaviours, such as crying. This may lead to difficulty in expressing challenging emotions as it assigns weakness and disempowerment." — Parandaman Thechanamurthi, Psychologist

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In response to a study about the high expectations placed on men in Singapore, which makes it harder for them to seek help for mental health issues, one Redditor wrote “MGTOW,” which stands for Men Going Their Own Way.

The study showed that as men face an “overwhelming expectation of resiliency in Singapore,” this blocks their path from reaching out when they need help when it comes to their mental health. “The survey found that seven out of 10 of the 1,000 respondents aged 16 to 54 and above said they expect men to be more emotionally resilient than women,” the study which was commissioned in commemoration of International Men’s Day  (Nov 19).

The study also quotes principal pediatric forensic psychologist Parandaman Thechanamurthi as saying, “Traditionally masculinity evokes certain expressions and demonstrations of behaviours such as crying. This may lead to difficulty in expressing challenging emotions as it assigns weakness and disempowerment.”

Sabrina Ooi, Calm Collective Asia’s co-founder and CEO, said “We are culturally and socially conditioned to place unrealistic expectations on men … They’re expected to appear strong, stoic, and ’emotionally resilient’. But emotional resilience is not about repressing one’s emotions, but embracing them fully and turning to support systems for help,” was also quoted.

This sparked a lively discussion, with some commenters asserting that they believe Singapore is sexist against males. The article was published on Yahoo!News Singapore on Tuesday (Nov 22), was about the results of a recent survey by Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) Singapore.

And when a Reddit user quoted Ms Ooi in a post, another responded with “MGTOW.”

To the uninitiated, MGTOW, pronounced “mig-tau,” is a movement that began online as part of the backlash against feminism. In it, men define and live out their masculinity on their own terms and forego interactions with women. Another Reddit user said that choosing to go MGTOW “really saved his sanity.”

Others gave examples of the hardships men face due to the expectations from society. And when one wrote, “Apparently SG doesn’t regard men as humans. Don’t have to point out how sexist towards men is in this country,” others agreed.

“We are expected to be stoic, providing, caring and doing all these with little legroom to openly talk about such issues, sometimes getting dismissed by the people who we thought we could rely on,” wrote another. 

Other netizens chimed in with similar examples.

 

/TISG

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