Being Sexist is Literally Unhealthy for Men, Says New Research

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A new study confirms what all smart people ultimately already knew: Having misogynistic beliefs isn’t just bad for the world—it’s bad for the person who has them. Specifically, men who have sexist attitudes tend to have more psychological problems, and trouble treating those problems, than more open-minded men, according to a massive new meta-analysis of 19,453 men in 78 research samples published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology.

Two sexist traits that could indicate a man is likelier to have poor mental health and less inclination to get psychological help: Seeing himself as a playboy or as having power over women. The researchers focused predominantly on white men, but also took into account some data for African-American and Asian-American men. Poor mental health was also associated with conforming to “traditional masculine norms,” including the desire to win, the need for emotional control, risk-taking, violence, dominance, self-reliance, primacy of work, disdain for homosexuality, and pursuit of status.

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“The masculine norms of playboy and power over women are the norms most closely associated with sexist attitudes,” said lead study author Y. Joel Wong, PhD, of Indiana University Bloomington. “The robust association between conformity to these two norms and negative mental health-related outcomes underscores the idea that sexism is not merely a social injustice, but may also have a detrimental effect on the mental health of those who embrace such attitudes.”

If you’re feeling rather gloat-y right now, join the club. There’s something profoundly satisfying about knowing people who harbor unfounded prejudices and hateful attitudes end up getting the shit end of the stick as a result. Sorry not sorry.

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