• Question: you said that competitiveness isn't demonising, however what happens to the male who loses? do you not see a correlation between masculinity and a man's mental health? if you don't think that masculinity is a problem for men, what do you think affects it so badly compared to women?

    Asked by jump353sun to Dennis on 18 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 18 Jun 2019:


      Hi jump353sun. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to elaborate my thoughts about toxic masculinity. It is a very thoughtful question, and I am glad that you asked it.

      If I remember it correctly, you asked this question in relation to the ad campaign of Gillette. What I was saying is that the way toxic masculinity was portrayed on that particular ad is rather disingenuous – the ad is not a genuine representation of what masculinity is. It was more of a political posturing. They portrayed that masculinity is harmful (hence ‘toxic’ as they put it). I have reason to believe that I am not the only one who perceived this. You can see how people responded to this on YouTube is clear: To date, it’s been ‘liked’ 795K times, and ‘disliked’ a 1.4 million times.

      One of the traditional masculinity traits that I mentioned is competitiveness. Being competitive is not harmful. It is a trait that allows us to reflect on our abilities in relation to our peers. It is trait that allows us to seek improvement, rather than be satisfied with mediocrity.

      What can affect men, in relation to mental health, is not masculinity. It is often the stigma that surrounds mental health (regardless of the gender), which is different from toxic masculinity.

      By and large, this is of course an area that social psychologists tend to explore. As cliched as it may sound, you cannot put human behaviour in a box, so it would be interesting to hear other psychologists’ views on this.

      Good luck with your studies. 🙂

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