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Introduction: Masculinities, Discourse and Men’s Health

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Masculinities and Discourses of Men's Health

Abstract

In 1978, the Journal of Social Issues published an article titled, ‘Warning: The Male Sex Role May Be Dangerous to Your Health’. The author, James Harrison, had noted the ‘growing differential in life expectancy between men and women’ (1978, p. 65) in the United States (US) during the twentieth century and wanted to critically review existing research in order to understand what factors might be contributing to this trend. He identified two explanatory perspectives: a ‘biogenetic’ one and a ‘psychosocial’ one. Harrison examined the evidence for both perspectives and concluded that ‘the best available evidence confirms the psychosocial perspective that sex-role socialization accounts for the larger part of men’s shorter life expectancy’ (ibid.). In other words, societal expectations of men were found to be more harmful for their health than any ‘biogenetic’ characteristics that might be attributable to them. Fast-forward to the twenty-first century, and the disparities in life expectancy between men and women have maintained (World Health Organization, 2019).

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Brookes, G., Chałupnik, M. (2023). Introduction: Masculinities, Discourse and Men’s Health. In: Brookes, G., Chałupnik, M. (eds) Masculinities and Discourses of Men's Health. Palgrave Studies in Language, Gender and Sexuality. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-38407-3_1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-38407-3_1

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