The APA and Masculinity

The APA and Masculinity

I originally wasn't going to write about this as it's all too easy to fall into yet another pointless scream-and-shout about it, but after letting it simmer for a while, I think it's well worth writing taking the time.

First, a vid from a psychologist who takes issue with the new APA guidelines and makes a few good points about how shitty they truly are. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that he's putting his license on the line...

OK.

Since I still keep track of Ars for tech news - it's one of the few that hasn't gone as overboard as Gizmodo/etc. so I can still stomach it despite the hard leftist slant - I spotted an article on how Psychologists were defending the APA guidelines linking to the article at the "Monitor on Psychology" section of the APA online magazine.
What caught my eye was this:

Others took exception to the conclusion in an APA magazine article about the guidelines that traditional masculinity is, “on the whole, harmful,” though the guidelines themselves do not state this conclusion.

Hm. So a practicing psychiatrist, writing an overview of the APA guidance, simply completely misinterpreted the APA guidance? OK, not entirely unheard of, but the fact that he got it through publication past other psychiatrists who didn't look at him and say "are you nuts", and that the entire reason this article at Ars is being written is because "Psychologists defend claim of “destructive aspects” to masculinity" - they're just walking back that all aspects are harmful (more on that later, but if you watched the vid above, you'll get the gist).

It's classic motte and bailey folks, but it's even funnier when the comments start admonishing critics to "read the article" when it's pretty obvious, in context, especially given how it was taken by the professional community until there was blowback, that the fucking love science crowd, and the Ars writer, are the ones who aren't reading for understanding.

Granted, the author of the APA article discussing the guidelines is your typical clueless NPC, saying things like:

Prior to the second-wave feminist movement in the 1960s, all psychology was the psychology of men.

See Stefan Molyneaux's dissection of that and similar passages, nevermind how long women have not only been in the profession but numerically dominant, nevermind studied, and so on. This is the part though that passed such review as there is, and was accepted by the writer's fellow professionals, in believing the guidelines state exactly the opposite of what the Ars writer claims:

The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.

And if one reads through the actual guidelines, especially through eyes that understand the context of why there's a section admonishing men to first understand their privilege when they come to someone for help, you'll see that the APA article writer and his fellows were entirely right.

Yes, I understand, the IFLS crowd doesn't understand the water they are swimming in. They can't see it.

What's more amazing to me are the following:

First, as I alluded above, and as Dr. Shawn T. Smith explicitly points out in the video above, what kind of psychotic has a person come to them for help and decides to admonish or withhold care or advice because their patient has male privilege?

Second, that quote from the overview article shows just how self-contradictory the guidance is.

Stoicism: conduct conforming to the precepts of the Stoics, as repression of emotion and indifference to pleasure or pain.

Now, the above from dictionary.com is a bit unfair. Stoics didn't believe in being emotionless vulcans - see the video I linked to recently - or truly believe in being indifferent to pleasure and pain. Leaving aside that I thought the older members of the Harry Potter/IFLS crowd considered Spock a hero, it is arguable more about not being ruled by hedonism, irrationality, and things that you cannot change.

Conversely though, stoicism, as in emotional restraint, is exactly what you want when you find yourself getting angry at someone for something they cannot change, that is not their fault, simply because you are inconvenienced and they happen to be handy.

Also, isn't asking men to effectively "suck it up" because they're privileged effectively asking them to be.... stoic?

Lastly, as Dr Smith points out, it is a massive step to label inborn traits that tend to be more prevalent in men, though admittedly most of the APA/IFLS crowd believe in a blank slate no matter how many times it fails to appear in experiments across the primate world, as inherently bad.

It's like labeling water inherently bad.

Of course too much can be a bad thing, if you were adrift in the middle of the Pacific. Just the same, it is utterly necessary for life.

These traits are not only inborn but they are all utterly necessary in some context. Among other things, as I already noted, stoicism helps curb excessive aggression.

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.