Small Town Incident Prompts Study into Male Stigma

LA RONGE, Saskatchewan - April 19, 2018 - PRLog -- Psychologist Lloyd Robertson was reading one evening in his home at La Ronge, Saskatchewan when two girls who were neighbors rang his doorbell asking permission to skateboard on his inclined driveway. Robertson initially agreed, but then worried that the activity was potentially dangerous. He looked out his living room window to see how the girls were doing. When he went outside to tell the girls he had changed his mind about the activity, they had left. The next day he received a call from the RCMP asking him if he had been watching the girls from his window. Although nothing further happened, the incident troubled Robertson:

Some friends described this as an example of "bad neighbors," said Robertson, but the fact is unwarranted assumptions can be damaging. I could not imagine the police being called if it was my wife looking out our window. I began wondering about the experiences of other men.

Robertson obtained ethics approval from Athabasca University to conduct a national study into the experience of male stigma. He concluded that Canadian men face stigma as ineffective care-givers and potentially dangerous to women and children. "Such assumptions render men less fit in matters of family and in professions dedicated to protecting family," he said.

Stigma was defined as a general imputation of character rendering the stigmatized unfit for particular sorts of social interactions. The research explored the experiences of 16 Canadian heterosexual, homosexual and transsexual men. Although the concept of stigma had previously been used to examine the place of various minority populations and women in society, it had not been previously applied to men.

All research participants experienced instances where it was assumed that they were a threat to others or irresponsible and incapable with respect to family responsibilities. He noted that these judgments had been made without any investigation into their actual parenting or work practices. Seven research participants shared experiences of stigma they faced as social work clients, students, and as social work professionals. Robertson reported that since this study did not involve an investigation of this profession, the result was unanticipated.

Robertson cautioned that while the study sample was diverse, it is possible that the stigma experienced does not apply to all men but to some, as yet unidentified, subset of men. He suggested that further quantitative research into the extent of this form of stigma is needed. The results of this study were published in the American Journal of Men's Health. The full journal article can be found at: journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1557988318763661


For further information contact:
Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson, Ph.D.
(306)425-9872

Contact
Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson
***@sasktel.net
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Tags:Male Stigma, Gender, Sex Roles, Social Identity
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