By: Khotso.

In this series, I explore the effects of health, finance and social interactions.

We begin with a situation that many are currently dealing with in our current economy.

Toxic masculinity is a term that refers to harmful societal expectations and behaviours associated with traditional masculinity. In a tough economy, these toxic traits can manifest in the business world and negatively impact both business operations and individual health.

In the business setting, toxic masculinity can lead to a variety of detrimental outcomes. One common trait associated with toxic masculinity is a competitive and aggressive approach to business dealings, often at the expense of collaboration and cooperation. This can lead to a cutthroat work environment where individuals prioritize personal success over the well-being of their colleagues and the overall success of the business.

Toxic masculinity can also manifest in the form of a reluctance to seek help or show vulnerability. In a difficult economy as we are experiencing now in Lesotho and the world, this can be particularly problematic as individuals may struggle with financial stress, job insecurity, and other challenges.

The pressure to appear stoic and always in control can prevent individuals from seeking the support they need, whether it be in the form of counselling for mental health issues or guidance on managing financial difficulties. These areas are of concern as men, in particular, black men, don’t often seek counselling.

Furthermore, toxic masculinity can contribute to a culture of workplace harassment and discrimination.

In our current economy where jobs are scarce and competition is high, individuals may resort to aggressive or inappropriate behaviour in an attempt to assert dominance or maintain power. This can create a hostile work environment that is detrimental to the mental and emotional well-being of employees and can result in decreased productivity and morale.

On an individual level, the impact of toxic masculinity on health cannot be understated. The pressure to conform to traditional masculine norms, such as being the primary breadwinner or always being strong and in control, can have serious implications for mental health. Men may feel ashamed or emasculated if they are unable to provide for their families or if they experience financial difficulties, leading to feelings of inadequacy and depression.

Additionally, toxic masculinity can discourage men from seeking help for mental health issues or engaging in healthy behaviours that promote overall well-being. The stigma surrounding mental health in many masculine cultures can prevent individuals from seeking therapy or support, leading to untreated mental health conditions that can worsen over time.

In terms of physical health, toxic masculinity can also contribute to risky behaviours such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, or engaging in dangerous activities as a way to prove one’s masculinity.

In economies where stress levels are high and resources are limited, individuals may turn to these harmful coping mechanisms as a way to deal with their struggles, further exacerbating health issues.

Addressing toxic masculinity in the context of a tough economy requires a multi-faceted approach that tackles both individual attitudes and systemic issues. Businesses can play a role in promoting a healthy workplace culture that values collaboration, empathy, and mutual support. This can be achieved through implementing policies that address harassment and discrimination, providing resources for mental health support, and encouraging open communication among employees.

On an individual level, challenging traditional notions of masculinity and promoting healthier expressions of manhood can help combat the harmful effects of toxic masculinity on health.

Men should seek out support networks, therapy, and resources to address mental health issues and learn healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and anxiety.

Ultimately, addressing toxic masculinity requires a shift in societal attitudes towards masculinity and a recognition of the negative impact that traditional gender norms can have on both business and health.

By promoting more inclusive and supportive environments in the workplace and encouraging individuals to seek help when needed, we can create a healthier and more resilient society for everyone.

As the Basotho nation, let us be cognisant of this and be more understanding and empathetic to all.

Khotso. Pula. Nala