Men's health - The masculine imperative

Typically male - where does that come from? At the time of the Neanderthal, it meant hunting mammoths and building caves. Therefore, the men of the Neanderthal and all the other valleys, mountains and plains had to be especially strong, courageous and willing to take risks.

"Seven masculine imperatives"

Today the mammoths are extinct, but the male self-image has not changed fundamentally. The American psychologist Herb Goldberg has described the self-understanding of men in the "seven masculine imperatives":

  1. the less sleep I need,
  2. the more pain I can endure,
  3. the more alcohol I tolerate,
  4. the less I care about what I eat,
  5. the less I ask someone for help and depend on someone,
  6. the more I control and suppress my feelings,
  7. the less I pay attention to my body,

the masculine I am.

This attitude leaves no room for supposedly "feminine" qualities, which are generally described as "emotional, gentle, the feelings of others conscious, helpful" and the like. If masculinity is understood as described above, it is counterproductive to any kind of health behavior.

The feminine side

Although the image of the man has changed since then, and men are increasingly discovering their feminine side. But there is still no fundamental reversal.

In other words, the three K's - career, competition, collapse - are still the measure of all things for many men. Men are educated into men and this education solidifies a male role that positively highlights qualities such as strength, power, superiority and independence.

As early as 1973, the psychoanalyst Horst Eberhard Richter guessed that less the gender than the gender - ie the identification with the socially expected gender roles - could be decisive for the differences in health behavior and health in men and women. However, this thesis has barely been reviewed in the next 20 years, and a veritable "men's health research" did not get started for a long time either.

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