Why the suicide rate in men is a feminist topic

We have been sadly speaking a lot in our house about men dying by suicide lately, one of those numbers in the statistics has become a name, and a face for us.

Coincidently on Tuesday, The Office for National Statistics released its numbers and it found that the suicide rate among men has hit a two-decade high in England and Wales. So, I cannot make the topic about anything else this week, I am talking about this because this is a feminist topic. 

(Here is the video or you can keep reading! or do both!)

 

 

I will always defend that men should be feminists because it is the right thing to do. Even if there was nothing in it for them they should support enthusiastically and unapologetically the movement because half of the population deserves better. That should be enough. But even those who disagree with that assessment should also be feminist, and they should do it for selfish reasons. The patriarchy is killing them!

I am talking about a society that strips men from everything associated with feminine from very very early stages (parents comfortable with their BABY son wearing a pink outfit in public please raise your hands!). The problem is that the association of what belongs to who is arbitrary and absurd in most cases (like the colour pink, for example), and some of the inherently human things that men are forbidden to embrace on the name of manhood can actually improve their lives, and in some cases, save it.

If I ask around who is more emotional, men or women, there will be an overall consensus that it's women. I hope you are all visualising Bridget Jones eating ice-cream in tears. But when asking parents of both boys and girls about specifically their 2 kids the answers are much more diverse, and if something, my feeling is that it gravitates towards the opposite. But of course that changes at some point. Women are indeed perceived as more emotional because they show their emotions more and have fewer limitations to express them, while men carry a social penalty of some sort if they express them, so they bottle them up. Men are tough that toughness is their currency, the same way women's is beauty. 

I love the way Gloria Steinem explains it "There is a full circle of human qualities we all have a right to, and men are confined to the ‘masculine’ ones, which are seventy per cent, and women are confined to the ‘feminine’ ones, which are thirty per cent. Women are missing more, but men are still missing a lot." I will add to this that men, despite their privilege, have a disadvantage in this situation and face extra strong societal barriers of access to those feminine areas. 

Girls and women take some sort of pride being identified as tomboys, being one of the guys... there is a sense of achievement and almost upgrade to be accepted in the men's group as a peer. We talk about the empowerment of women when they are conquering male-dominated areas, when they are demanding their legitimate place in the desk. But what positive words do we have for men when they are making the journey in the other direction? .

Women through history have been wrecking walls that kept them away from a better place (a lot of times legal walls!) a place of money, power, sexuality... I am not saying that those places are always easy, but they are very socially rewarded and valued and they come with choices. These is little reward or incentive for for men  when society has made it very clear who is winning and who is not?

It is relatively easy and instinctive to tell your daughter that she should aim to be whatever and whoever she wants, that she can be the superhero that saves the day too. Are we doing the same with our boys? Are we putting twice the effort to educate them emotionally because once they go in the big bad world they will need to overcompensate the monotonous message about what manhood looks like? Does it feel like we are telling them that they can also be less? That they don't have to be as much? Have we bought into the stupid idea of what is more and what is less?

Even those who refuse women in "masculine" arenas respect, in a way, the "balls" that granted them a place there. They value all the qualities that those women needed to get there (determination, bravery, resilience...) because they consider that those qualities are, indeed masculine. But for those same people, it is considered a shame the man who dreams to be the main caregiver, the man who puts relationships and mental health before success and career, the one who prefers connections above admiration. And how much they are missing out with that lack of choice. 

I love men. Sometimes I think that I love men more than most men! I love them and want more for them and from them. And because I love them I know that their narrative of manhood is not enough, even if it is more privileged than womanhood. But because it is framed in a space of victory, of more, of better, it is more difficult to escape, who would want to downgrade? Who wants to give up power, measured in toughness, if vulnerability is perceived as its biggest enemy, weakness.

We need to do better, we need to explore why men are dying by suicide every day. We need to have the difficult talks and try to figure things out. Men need to be aware of what they are lacking and the importance of it and keep each other accountable to build something better, to redefine what they want the expression"to be a man" to mean for them and the generations to come. 

I am going to challenge you today, now, to write to a man or a group of men about the suicide rate in men. To ask them what they think about it, what they think there is behind it all, how they see things changing. It all starts with a conversation.  

7 Responses

james morris

james morris

May 03, 2022

The real reason men are killing themselves is economics. The greatest shift in wealth, from one group to another, has occurred during the last few decades; from males to females. Keep playing the hocus pocus about “boys don’t cry” but it is about money and the shrivelled life for men who don’t have enough because being a poor man is like being a very ugly woman.

Tristan Price

Tristan Price

April 15, 2022

Thanks so much for this. I have been trying to find the words to explain this, but you have done it brilliantly here. I get so annoyed when I see feminism presented as a zero sum game – women’s path to liberation is portrayed as somehow coming at the expense of men. But as you write so well, feminism can and must help to tackle male suicide. Tackling hyper masculinity helps everyone.

Jason Bargy

Jason Bargy

April 15, 2022

I am a man and women hate men both good and bad. Women think they can push around a man. Wait till there is no man around to push around. I am sick of these feminist women.

Mark Manning

Mark Manning

March 25, 2022

Men don’t matter.

They are 4 to 5 times more likely than women to be murdered in a public place yet the move is to make the streets safer for women. This is because men don’t matter.

Men die by suicide at a rate 3 times higher than that of women. A newspaper headline a few months ago highlighted an increase in female suicides. The fact that this increase resulted in male/female suicides of 3/1 instead of the previous 4/1 wasn’t mentioned. This is because men don’t matter.

If 90% of workplace deaths were of women the screaming about it would never end. In fact 90% of workplace deaths are of men. There is no screaming about this because men don’t matter.

BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour recently ran articles on the continuing dominance of men in traditionally male dominated industries (bus driving and lorry driving). The articles were along the lines of ‘shock, horror, even today in the 21st century, about 90% of bus and lorry drivers are men’. I advised the programme that, shock, horror, even today, 90% of nurses, 95% of midwives and about 100% of junior school teachers are women. I received no reply and my figures were not mentioned on the programme. This is because men don’t matter.

When the majority of English solicitors (my own profession) were men this was considered a gender imbalance in need of addressing. In recent years the balance has flipped and there is now a small female majority. In addition, of all newly qualifying solicitors in recent years, around 63% were women. This, apparently, is not a gender imbalance in need of addressing because….men don’t matter.

I could go on and on with other examples of society’s view that men don’t matter. Unfortunately most men can’t see the problem and women couldn’t care less about it.

If in doubt, always remember that….men don’t matter.

Obi

Obi

March 25, 2022

What the hell I just read. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. The most ridiculous thing I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading

Alex Smith

Alex Smith

May 04, 2021

In your opinion, what are the ideal government roles and laws in a feminist utopia?

Mcrow

Mcrow

April 21, 2021

Men are dying every day because of how feminism treats men. That’s why there are groups like mgtow. Feminist laws and family courts, and false sexual claims against men are on the rise. As a mgtow men are not 2nd class citizens. Feminists treat real men as wage slaves to be if it women. The gender wage gap is a lie..,, and the majority of men commit suicide because there is no help for men. Women have more rights than men. Women use men for assets and goods.. Real women want real men who are masculine,.. why do women for the bad boy in a relationship? Some thing to think about. Also because of female superiority and what can happen to men just because a woman is angry at a man. With marriage rates dropping and birth rates dropping as well. It’s not worth getting into a relationship, marriage, or having children is not worth ruining your life over women. Life is good for men that are not anchored down. Women should be scared about mgtow.

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