Keum on Asian American Masculinity and Mental Health

In a Washington Post article, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Brian Keum discussed the mental health and body image of Asian American men who face stigma and stereotyping. While there has been a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, Keum noted that “the constant invalidation of being overlooked and ignored” is a more subtle everyday violence that affects Asian Americans professionally, politically and socially. Keum explained that Asian American men are aware of “the stereotype of being emasculated, effeminate, less attractive, less manly, falling short of the white hegemonic masculinity ideal in the United States,” which negatively affects their psyche and body image. Without healthy outlets, Asian American men cope with shame on their own, sometimes through substance abuse, suicidal ideation, aggression or risky behavior, he said. An emerging network of Asian-focused mental health support programs aims to address stigma and promote mental health and well-being among Asian American men.

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