Worcester Telegram & Gazette: 'In wake of Orlando shootings, male health conference at Clark U. focuses on 'toxic masculinity' '

June 22, 2016

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette covered the Healthy Men and Boys summit, held at Clark University for the first time last week. The T&G quoted Clark Psychology Professor Michael E. Addis, an expert in men's health.

Here, an excerpt:

"If you want a talking point for 'toxic masculinity,' look no further than the episodes that played out Sunday at an Orlando nightclub in America’s largest mass shooting to date.

"That's according to advocates and organizers of the Healthy Men and Boys summit, held in Worcester for the first time at Clark University on Wednesday. Conference leaders said they couldn’t address stereotypical masculine gender roles without mentioning this week’s terrorist attack. ...

"The all-day conference, hosted by the nonprofit Massachusetts-based MERGE for Equality, was attended by more than 200 people. The discussion centered on gender roles and how to 'transform masculinity' to advance gender equality. Advocates spoke of how men from a young age are encouraged to conform to masculine stereotypes, which can lead to intense internal conflict for those individuals. ...

"Clark psychology professor Michael E. Addis, an expert in men's health, pointed to studies that find the suicide rate for men to be four times higher than that for women, while men are half as likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression and statistically more likely to develop substance abuse problems.

“ 'When we start talking about men and masculinity and human functioning, a paradox becomes apparent,' Addis said. 'Men’s power and privilege and pain are intimately linked in systems of oppression. ... They’re suffering in silence. There’s men’s incredible power and privilege as a group, and individual men’s vulnerability and pain. I’m convinced that these things must be simultaneously dealt with if we’re to enlist men as allies in the search for gender equality for everyone.' ”