This story notes that in one hospital, almost 40% of teenage girls who had talked about or attempted suicide were experiencing gender role conflicts. They did not find such high numbers among boys.
These results are from one hospital, in one city, but could bring up interesting discussions nonetheless. Any thoughts?
I can't prove with stats but I know that GLBT members especially teens have a higher rate of depression and suicidal thoughts compared to heterosexuals. Also, they tend to have a problem with alcohol and drugs.
How can this change? A more supportive and caring support network. The more negative feedback members of the GLBT community gets, the more negative they'll feel.
Let's also rememeber that actual (v. merely attempted) male suicide rates are close to triple those of female; I believe that gender roles simply affect female teens more because of the issues of rapidly coming to terms with womanhood and feminity which are now less strictly pressured at earlier ages, and which females may see as a double-edged sword in terms of costs and benefits.
Meanwhile, boys are taught (i.e. pressured)from birth-- by any means necessary (including force, coercion, humiliation, and other abuse) -- to be "manly," which only increases in teen years via expecations and opportunities to excel and compete, whether this is what he wants or not. As a result, while outright gender-conflicts may be less pronounced in males, the numbers bear out that this lack of apparent conflict is not without severe costs. Specifically, males are given no real choice to present a conflict; while females may derive various benefits from more aggressive behavior (with associated costs), while likewise the more traditional feminine role presents alternative costs and benefits, the choice is still there; males, on the other hand, will derive relatively little benefit from engaging in more feminized behavior, while incurring great costs in terms of lost benefits and status as well as incurring various forms of abuse, ostracism and social rejection. Engaging in masculinity, however, likewise bears associated costs, however masculinity by its very definition precludes support via implying absolute independence and control, resulting in inevitable conflict for any human caught in this double-bind.
[This message has been edited by IncredibleTulkas (edited 08-10-2002).]
okay, i think there is definately some generalization of genders going on here.
i doubt anyone can say with any proof that all males are raised in the forced machismo environment, or that all females are raised in a less pressured environment.
please remember that everyone is different, raised differently and have different ways of acting. and for those actions, there are always different reactions. any way people act, whether boy or girl, can result in abuse, ostracism, and social rejection, not just masculine, or feminine. it just depends on the situation and circumstances.
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"If you're going to be a non-conformist, you're going to have to wear the uniform."
I think I stand somewhere in between IncredibleTulkas and mistress_monkey.
While it's true that not every male is brought up in an environment that encourages machismo, I'd guess that most boys are still brought up in families with traditional gender expectations. Even if the boy's immediate family does not pressure him to be masculine, society certainly will.
I was brought up in a feminist environment, but I still feel pressure to be beautiful, to be a sex object, etc. Every day. It's hard to shut yourself off from the ideals of your culture. So, while you can choose to act against the unwritten rules of society, it's virtually impossible to ignore them.
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