The Male Ego: A Silent Killer

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The male ego is like a glass window, big and yet so fragile, and completely transparent. Our long tradition of toxic patriarchy has curated this belief that men are superior to women, which has led to the social construct of the inflated male ego. An ego that promotes unhealthy lifestyle choices, like blocking out our very natural human emotion to be seen as strong. In today’s society, although less than before, the male ego is driven by their physical strength, animalistic sex drive, lack of emotion, and a never-ending competition of luring women. This, added to the pressure imposed on men to live up to these farfetched ideas, creates a recipe for the perfect toxic man. A toxic man is not necessarily just a man who has a negative impact on those around him, but also on his own wellbeing and mental health.

Men have been pressured to believe that without conforming to societal standards, they will not be seen as men, but instead a biological failure. This nurtures unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as failure to communicate their emotions or ask for help when necessary. This facade of an alpha male dominates the minds of most heterosexual men, causing them to see mental health as a weakness. The male ego has become so inflated by society that it has led men to think they’re immune to mental health problems, resulting in them repressing emotions that should be addressed. The World Health Organisation found that around ,40% of countries have more than 15 suicide deaths per 100,000 men, a much higher rate than women. While the UK’s Office of National Statistics found that an estimated ,75% of all suicide deaths registered in 2019 were men. There is a blatant problem with how men deal with their mental health and an even deeper issue with the expectations society has cast on men from a very young age.

Boys will be boys, a statement that society has used to enable toxic masculinity. As children, we’ve all heard the phrase often used to excuse a little boy for doing something that would be frowned upon if a girl did it. For example, a young boy pulls a girl's hair, the girl tells the teacher, and the teacher says, ‘boys will be boys, it probably means he likes you.’ This simple phrase installs the idea that acts of violence are signs of love, while the little boy is allowed to think that what he did was ok, or even worse than the girl approved of it. As we get older these little ‘insignificant’ acts develop into bigger issues, such as a man touching a woman inappropriately in a club and someone excuses it as, ‘boys will be boys.’ This is how we enable sexism, abuse and in the worst cases rape.

Ironically, despite being led to believe they are the superior gender, the male ego is very fragile. Unlike women, most men are unfamiliar with being insulted or degraded, so when someone questions their morality, they take offense very easily. Some men feel insulted if their female counterpart is more financially stable than them, rather than seeing their partner’s success as a joint win, they perceive it as a personal failure due to how society has nurtured them to be. This proves detrimental to not only the man’s self-esteem and thus mental health but his partner too. Studies have found links between an increase in men’s mental health issues and a rise in their partner’s income. However, the male ego can be hurt by something far more insignificant than work, the male ego has countless times prevented a man from admitting when he is wrong to a woman. According to ,Vijay Nagaswami, author, psychiatrist and relationship consultant: “The male ego has probably been over-hyped just a bit. In our patriarchal society, unwarranted attention given to the male child has made it an issue in relationships even in the 21st Century.” Men think power resides in them and therefore anyone who questions them is wrong, fuelling toxic behavioural traits in men and diminishing the self-esteem of women.

Now, men should not be generalised as one, or put under an umbrella of ‘all men are trash,’ because that is not the case. But unfortunately, a large portion of men have been empowered by society to nourish their misogynistic, and borderline abusive tendencies. The cost of the male ego is not only their own sanity but also the safety and wellbeing of women and young girls.

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