Women have been rightfully marching together protesting the way we have been treated down through history. We women have received less pay, been forced to do menial labor and expected to raise children alone all while being vilified.
However, from my last post, it’s clear that men, like women, are often victims of childhood and adult trauma. In that post, I wrote about how men have been forgotten in the #MeToo movement.
Today I want to address the largest obstacle men face and how it is killing them by the millions. The stresses that society presses upon them that are both unfair and unreachable.
The Facade of Strength
While women have indeed been victims of injustice and inequality, men have also been victims. Men are expected to look, feel, and above all be strong. We measure a man’s worth as a society by looking at his job, his prowess with the ladies, and his ability to be #1.
The result of these societal pressures is that men are forced to play a terrible game. They must put on a façade of “I’m Okay” when they are not.
The proof that men aren’t okay lies in the following statistics. Although women are three times more likely to attempt to die by suicide, men are almost four times more likely to succeed.
• Males take their own lives at nearly four times the rate of females and represent 77.9% of all suicides.
• Suicide is the seventh leading cause of death for men
• Firearms are the most commonly used method of suicide among males (56.9%).
• 95% of the prison population are men.
• 73% of adults who go missing are men.
What is the catalyst for these atrocious statistics?
I believe, and there is research to back up my assumption, that the number one reason men are deciding to die before their time is directly related to the unfair expectation’s society has of who they are and how they should perform.
Indeed, the CDC also reported that the men who died by suicide were not diagnosed with a mental health condition. The reasons for our men dying include perceived weaknesses in themselves from relationship problems, money/legal problems, substance abuse, and physical health problems.
A New Word for You Today: Misandry
Most of us, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement, have heard the term misogyny: the dislike, contempt for or ingrained prejudice against women.
Don’t get me wrong, misogyny is alive and well in society today. Women are less likely to be appointed to high-paying executive jobs and draw lower salaries than men.
However, how many of you have heard the term misandry?
I found the best definition and explanation of misandry on Wikipedia:
“Misandry is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against men or boys. Misandry can manifest itself in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of men, violence against men, and sexual objectification of men.”
It used to be that misandry was underground and women showed their contempt for men behind closed doors and only to other women. I know I have been guilty of saying a few of the following phrases that are misandrous in nature, how about you?
• “Men only think with their dicks.”
• “A man wouldn’t understand.”
• “Men just want a hole to put it in.”
• “Men can’t hear the word no.” (when rejected sexually)
We, women, spend a lot of time complaining about how we have been treated, yet if men stood up, (and some have), to ask that their need for respect be met, we women tend to stare at them and think very unkind thoughts about them (to put it mildly).
However, now misandry has moved into the public domain as women react to the bad treatment they have received from men.
To be honest, many people, both men, and women do not understand they are saying or acting in a misandrous manner. Society has set up men for a perfect storm of being human but not being able to act on their human emotions or frailties.
Obviously, men are not so strong that they cannot experience extreme emotional distress. However, men are very reluctant to reach out for help. The answer to the puzzle of why men don’t reach out is plainly seen in society’s unreal and unreachable expectations of them.
Men Must Be the Breadwinners
How a man makes his money is the number one question people ask men. We don’t ask how their health is or how their children are doing in school, we ask them about their job and their wages.
Not only is asking such a question extremely rude, but it also traps men into believing they must either lie or feel shame if they cannot answer the way society expects them to.
My brother has a very serious anxiety disorder brought on by the actions of our narcissistic and abusive mother. He has not been able to keep a job for more than a few weeks or months at a time. He has held over one-hundred positions, but his anxiety attacks soon begin, and he is forced to leave work.
So, when he attends a public function and is asked about where he is working, he is overwhelmed with shame that he does not deserve.
Society has decided that a man’s worth lies directly in line with his bank account, his level of education, how many hours he works a week, and the type of car he drives.
Men Must Not Be Stay at Home Dads
In 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that there was 214,000 stay at home dads in the United States.
The Census also gave a definition of what was meant by an at-home dad:
The U.S. Census defines “at-home dad” as a father not in the labor force for the past 52 weeks and whose wife was in the labor force for the past 52 weeks.
The bureau also did not consider a man a stay at home father if he is looking for work or going to school or if the spouse is out of work to change jobs for a week or more.
However, as an article from The Good Men Project points out, not all the stay at home dads out there were counted. They argue that the census misses:
“all the dads out there who are working out of the home, either full or part-time; who are hanging a shingle as a consultant, a freelancer, or a landscaper; who work three nights a week part-time at the restaurant down the street; or any of the dads out there who are actively looking for full-time work.
While dads may be serving as the primary caregiver for their kids or sharing a substantial part of the parenting load, the Census simply does not count them as full-time dads—even though it’s more than a full-time occupation.”
Why the discrepancy? What could be causing the problem with how the United States Census Bureau defines a stay at home dad?
The answer is clear, society refuses to allow men to fulfill any other role as the father of his children than breadwinner and disciplinarian.
On an even more bizarre note, society also believes that all men are oddballs and cannot change a diaper, keep a house clean or even wear matching pairs of clean socks. Men are also believed to be incapable of cooking, combing the hair of their little girls or giving their children the warmth and compassion, they need.
To make matters even worse, many people also feel that to stay at home to care for your family is the ultimate womanizing of men that somehow makes them less masculine.
Also, even though women are also known to be perpetrators of sexual violence against children, when men take their children to the playground they report being eyed with suspicion by the mothers they encounter.
One man’s account I read, stated that when he would go to the park with his little girl, the women who were there with their children refused to even acknowledge his offers of “good morning” opting instead to glare at him.
Misandry and the Value of Men’s Lives
In the era of #MeToo, it is incredible to think about how we value men’s lives as disposable.
To show you how much we value men’s less than women’s, read to this quote from Social Psychologist Professor Roy F. Baumeister.
“When the news media report some disaster, they sometimes use the phrase ‘even women and children’ if such are among the victims. The phrase expresses the point that men’s lives are valued less [than] anyone else’s life.
This attitude helps to remind each man that, in a desperate situation, he is expected to give up his life quickly and readily and without complaint, if doing so will save a woman or child.
One of the most famous disasters of the twentieth century was the sinking of the Titanic. [The life-boat] seats were given to the women, while the men stayed on board to drown.”
Did you feel a twinge of anger while reading the above quote? Was your anger pointed at the fact that the lives of men are considered less valuable than women, or pointed at Professor Baumeister for his insight and myself for quoting him?
Please, take a hard look at your own attitude, I know I had to my own.
Men Must Not Only Be Competitive, But They Must also Be Winners
Society believes that all men MUST always be striving to be better than other men. They should compete in sports in High School, watch football, and above all “score” with as many women as possible.
The truth is much different. Although it is hard to get them to admit it in public, men need and crave compassion, understanding, love, and respect just as much and sometimes more than women.
Practically from the day of a man’s birth, he is filled with the message that he must win. We buy new baby boy’s footballs and dream of our sons playing for the NFL where he will win, win, win!
They become indoctrinated quickly to the notion that they are to use their penis as a weapon to get their way and some take that to the extreme resulting in date rape. Then when forced to take a hard at themselves for what they have done, society comes to their defense saying that “men always think with their little heads.”
There is an ongoing psychological debate over what makes human beings tick. Is it nature, the belief that our genetic makeup, i.e. our sexuality as determined by our genes? Or nurture, how we are raised that makes us who we are as people?
I argue that while men are genetically destined to be stronger and bigger than most women, it is only when they are told they are dominant over females that they come to act out what is expected of them.
In short, the violence of men is directly proportional to what they are taught by parents, teachers, and society as a whole.
Men are Victims of Violence Too
Violence isn’t just happening to women in America, it also happens to men. Attacks from other men and the women they become intimately involved with happen every day.
While nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) are experiencing rape, physical violence or stalking, 1 in 10 men (10%) do as well.
In fact, 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged eighteen years and older have been victims of severe violence.
Then there is this statistic where women and men are even in experiencing psychological aggression (48.4% and 48.8% respectively.)
If you found those stats hard to swallow, then hold onto your hat for this next one because it is shocking and not at all pretty.
According to a paper first published in 2015 in the journal Psychological Services, 50% of our armed service members who were raped serving our country were male.
So, what happens if you a male and have been raped by your Commanding Officer or by one of the other men in your unit? Do you go to the nearest hospital to report a rape? Do you tell someone?
The answer to both questions is no. A man who admits to being raped by another man would be emasculated by the other men in his unit and receive enormous ridicule.
It is no wonder that men choose to die by suicide.
The humiliation they face is tremendous and unforgiving. And, if you are thinking these rapes are being committed by gay men serving in the military, you would be dead wrong.
Rape is never about sex, it’s about power. The power to control someone else’s terror and will. There is no other less powerful position in the world than being a new recruit in the military.
New recruits are stripped of their own thinking power and are not allowed to question authority. These parameters can set up men in uniform for the perfect storm as a heterosexual commander may demand and then receive sexual favors of the men and women under his command.
Then in a twisted side-effect, the commander’s behavior is mimicked by service members who outrank new recruits.
The message the military and their commanding officers send is loud and clear; I totally own you.
Pulling it All Together
As a woman myself, I completely understand why women have been so militant in this era of #MeToo, I wanted to give a glimpse at the other side of the coin.
Yes, women have been victims of men in terms of them lording over us for millennia, however, should we behave the same way towards them?
In vilifying every man in the nation, are we not throwing out the baby with the bathwater as it were? Turning a blind face to the pain and discomfort men endure daily?
I put it to you that men matter and if we are to grow up as a society we must band together, people of all races, and yes, sexes to make the world safer for all of us.
The next time you hear someone or yourself, say something cruel about a man, rethink what you are doing.
It will take all of us to change the world, men included.