First of all, “depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and violence” are not “the negative effects of gender.” They are the negative effects of the Patriarchy, and conformity thereto. That’s not a matter of semantics; that’s the whole fucking point.
It isn’t being male, nor being a man, that is a problem, but believing that to be male, or to be a man, is to have to project a very specific and rigid definition of masculinity—which defines itself in contradistinction to the feminine, thus forcing men to conceal and deny any part of themselves that anyone could call feminine; which limits men’s emotional spectrum to anger; which forces men to exist in a permanent state of insecurity, constantly monitoring the boundaries of their masculinity and engaging in displays of bravado to prove their self-worth; which considers sheer brawn and physical toughness the only acceptable kind of strength, while the kind of strength which informs one’s character, what might be described as emotional strength, the kind of strength that means walking away from a fight, or being patient, or showing empathy, isn’t allowed to play much of a role at all in the definition of masculinity—which leaves men, whose physical attributes of masculine strength will wane with time and age, keenly aware that their masculinity is ever threatened by their own mortality, because they haven’t been encouraged to cultivate a compassion and resiliency that can’t be measured in kilos or KOs.
That’s not about being a man. That’s about being a man in a Patriarchy, who’s never been offered an alternative paradigm.”