Gender and Alienation 

Verified by World Mental Healthcare Association

Gender and alienation are interconnected 1 as societal norms and expectations around gender can contribute to feelings of alienation among individuals who do not fit or conform to these norms. This, in turn, can have a significant impact on mental health functioning, including emotional regulation, self-identity, and self-concept.

Read More About Emotion Regulation Here

Research findings have shown that 88% of people 2 experience a high level of social alienation, with teenage boys reporting higher levels compared to girls. This means that many individuals feel disconnected from others and may face challenges based on their gender.

For men, it can be difficult 3 to express vulnerability and emotions because society expects them to be stoic, leading to a sense of detachment. On the other hand, women may feel 4  alienated due to pressure to fit narrow beauty standards, being objectified, and undervalued, which can lower their self-worth and limit their opportunities for empowerment.

Types of Gender Alienation

There are various types of gender alienation that individuals 5 may experience, which include:

  1. Personal Alienation, which occurs when individuals feel disconnected or estranged from their own gender identity.
  2. Social Alienation, which happens when individuals face discrimination based on their gender identity or expression within their social circles, communities, or society at large.
  3. Institutional Alienation, which refers to the systemic barriers and biases within institutions such as schools, workplaces.
  4. Familial Alienation, which refers to situations where individuals experience detachment or rejection from their families due to their gender identity.

Impact of Gender Based Alienation on Mental Health

Gender based alienation can have a significant impact 6 on an individual’s mental health such as:

  1. Feeling isolated, rejected, and like you don’t belong, which can increase the chances of developing depression.
  2. Women who experience gender-based alienation may struggle with low self-esteem and feeling like they’re not valued because of societal pressures.
  3. Gender and alienation can cause deep struggles with one’s identity, such as experiencing gender dysphoria 7 .
  4. Gender-based alienation, especially among transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, can increase the risk of suicidal ideation.
  5. Gender alienation can lead to anxiety symptoms, like being afraid, constantly worrying about being socially isolated, and feeling lonely.
  6. Men who experience gender alienation may have difficulty showing vulnerability and expressing their emotions because of societal expectations.
  7. Gender discrimination and the resulting alienation can also lead to higher levels of distress.

Read More About Self-Esteem Here

Strategies for Overcoming Gender Alienation

Overcoming gender based alienation requires a multifaceted approach 8 that involves:

  1. Learn and spread knowledge about gender diversity, stereotypes, and the experiences of marginalized genders, to create a better understanding.
  2. Try to advocate for equal opportunities, fair pay, and equal rights for individuals of all genders, aiming to create a more equal and inclusive society.
  3. Support the expression of emotions for people of all genders, breaking the expectation that certain emotions are acceptable for specific genders.
  4. Support initiatives that empower women and marginalized genders to take on leadership roles and participate actively in decision-making processes.
  5. Foster communities where individuals can connect with others who have similar experiences, providing a sense of support, understanding, and belonging.
  6. If the symptoms of gender-based alienation impact mental well-being, seek support from a mental health professional.

Read More About Stereotypes Here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How can individuals support those experiencing gender alienation?

Individuals can support those experiencing gender alienation by actively listening, validating their experiences, and advocating for their rights and inclusion in society.

2. How does gender alienation manifest in the workplace?

Gender alienation in the workplace can manifest through discriminatory practices, aggression, lack of representation, exclusion from decision-making processes, and limited opportunities for advancement.

3. How does gender alienation affect parenting and family dynamics?

Gender alienation can impact parenting and family dynamics by limiting parental involvement, and contributing to unequal distribution of household responsibilities and caregiving duties.

4. Is gender alienation the same as gender discrimination?

While gender alienation and gender discrimination can be related, gender alienation refers more specifically to a sense of detachment or estrangement from one’s gender, while gender discrimination encompasses broader systemic and individual biases and injustices based on gender.

👇 References:
  1.  Singh, B., & Jindal, S. (2020). Alienation among Aged People in Relation to Their Gender and Living Status. 56. 33-40. Available from: []
  2.  Navitha, J., & Sreedevi, P.A. (2019). A study on social alienation among adolescents. The Pharma Innovation Journal, 8, 534-537. Available from: []
  3.  NIMH» Men and Mental Health. (2021, June). Available from: []
  4.  Oliffe, J. L., & Phillips, M. J. (2008). Men, depression and masculinities: A review and recommendations. Journal of Men’s Health, 5(3), 194–202. []
  5.  Dasgupta, J., Schaaf, M., Contractor, S. Q., Banda, A., Viana, M., Kashyntseva, O., & Ruano, A. L. (2020). Axes of alienation: applying an intersectional lens on the social contract during the pandemic response to protect sexual and reproductive rights and health. International Journal for Equity in Health, 19(1). []
  6.  Yu S. (2018). Uncovering the hidden impacts of inequality on mental health: a global study. Translational psychiatry8(1), 98. []
  7. Garg, G., & Marwaha, R. (2020). Gender Dysphoria (Sexual Identity Disorders). PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. Available from: []
  8.  Ifeagwazi, C. M., Chukwuorji, J. C., & Zacchaeus, E. A. (2014). Alienation and Psychological Wellbeing: Moderation by Resilience. Social Indicators Research, 120(2), 525–544. []