I put together a new playlist on the menaregood youtube channel. Many have asked me what videos were the best for men’s issues. I have made over a hundred vids so I handpicked 18 of what I considered the top menaregood videos. Here they are! You can also use this link to go to youtube and see all 18 in the right hand sidebar and click through them.
Siege: “”a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside.”
We saw from the last video that boys are under attack in schools.
How are they under attack? Well, they learn that
- Their sex has caused the world’s problems,
- That Men are privileged.
- That men are toxic and have oppressed women.
- That Men just need to step aside and let women run things, then things would be better.
- They learn that Boys are inherently inferior and simply need to try to be more like the girls.
These messages get expressed repeatedly both actively and passively. Often subtle but sometimes blatant. They are unmistakable and are forced upon the boys without any counterpoint or any option for them to challenge or argue. These are the default. To argue would be unheard of. A third grader rarely argues with his teacher. She is queen and only speaks the truth. So boys are forced to shut up and accept the narrative that something is wrong with their sex.
Such hateful and persistent messages are hurtful and abusive to our boys. And yet no one complains.
What does it do to anyone who hears a constant drone of negative about their identity? Day in and day out you hear there is something inherently wrong with you. You are helpless since you have no way to respond. What does years of that do to a person?
There are several research driven ideas that help us understand the intensity these messages may have on boys. One is the concept of learned helplessness. In studies, animals have been given negative stimuli repeatedly without any opportunity to escape. After many repetitions the animals simply give up. They stop trying. Many are thinking this could be related to the origin of anxiety or depression. Could a similar principle be at play with boys and their involuntary exposure to hateful messages? It’s not a stretch to see how boys being bombarded with negative messages about their sex are put in a helpless position not unlike the learned helplessness situations. Might there be a cumulative effect?
Another research driven concept is that of the Stereotype Threat. An example of stereotype threat is the idea that girls are exposed to stereotypes when young that claim that girls are not so great at science and math. Some are thinking this early exposure may impact their later disinterest in sciences. Okay. Maybe so. But now think if that is true what sort of huge factor all of the anti-male messages that are being sent to boys might have on him? If the girls are negatively impacted by a minority message that they aren’t as good at math and science just imagine the impact of the multiude of misandrist messages boys receive. What might that do to them? Does anyone care? I don’t think so.
Then there is the element of self fulfilling prophecy. When people hear negative ideas about them it increases the chances that those negatives will come to fruition. Think about all of the negatives boys hear about their sex and just stand back and imagine what impact that might have?
Keep in mind that we know that the brain has great plasticity, that is it can alter itself with the advent of new information. When children are young they are particularly susceptible to negative messages having an impact on their young brains. The research shows us that children who were abused suffer from a lack of myelonization of their axons. Many think that this is one of the causes of depression and anxiety. What they have also found is that physical abuse AND emotional abuse both have the same impact on the brain. Wouldn’t it be easy to characterize the many negative anti male messages that boys receive as being somewhat similar to emotional abuse? One definition of emotional child abuse is “The caregiver refuses to acknowledge the child’s worth.” Seems to me that this is similar to what boys hear every day. The brains of our young are sensitive to stressors. It’s not a big leap to see that having one’s sex be disparaged on a regular basis is indeed a significant stressor.
The messages boys receive are a part of a huge double standard where boys are seen as the problem and girls are seen as the answer. Another frame for double standards towards boys has to do with the issue of violence.
Yet another place you see this radical double standard is around the issues of violence. It has been a long standing requirement in our culture to demand boys not hit girls. Yeah, so be it. But in our increasingly feminist drenched schools something started happening more frequently. Girls started hitting boys. And what was the administrative response to this. Nothing. No one lifted a finger. Even when boys had the courage to complain to teachers that a girl had pinched, hit, pushed, slapped, or kicked him he was told to go to his seat and not complain. I have heard many boys say the same thing. When they hit there is immediate punishment, and when the girls hit there is nothing. No one cares.
It didn’t take long for some devious girls to realize they could attack whenever they wished. And they did. While most girls would never do such a thing, those who chose to attack under the protection of the gynocentric double standard made the boys lives very difficult. What did the boys learn from this interaction? They learned that You, as a boy, do not deserve protection. Your pain is not important. It’s not as important as the girls. Shut up and quit complaining. Sound like emotional abuse to you? It does to me.
It’s important to note here that though it was a minority of girls doing this, the majority of girls did not call out the perps and would generally say nothing. They were willing to sell the boys down the river and allow the aggressive girls to do their evil.
So how do you think that feels for boys? They likely have superior strength but when attacked they are required to stand down. Pretty tough lesson for a little guy don’t ya think? I wonder sometimes if the situation was reversed how would girls respond? Boys could hit them when they wanted and they could neither complain or defend themselves. If they went to the teacher they would be ignored. Hmmmm I’m guessing they would not handle it so well. I marvel at how the majority of boys have learned to deal with this blatant and hateful double standard.
I think it is time to allow boys to defend themselves.
If this double standard only happened in schools it might not seem so sinister but this pattern of allowing women’s violence towards men while disallowing men’s violence towards women is a common occurrence in our culture. Just look at the undercover youtube videos showing public reaction to a man being violent towards a female partner. Everyone looks up, many challenge the violence, both men and women, some men come and physically stop the man, some go farther and are violent against the offending man, while others just call the police. But what happens when it goes the other way and it’s the women hitting the men? We see something different, much like the girls reaction to the girl hitting the boy in school, No one gets upset. In fact many people laugh and point. They make fun of HIM. You know, the victim. Can you see how this is the same dynamic we saw in the schools? It’s just played out on a different level.
Possibly the worst example of this double standard is the judicial lenience towards women who have murdered their husbands. You know, she says he abused her so the judge says, well, it’s okay that you killed him. And she gets probation. Try that one the other way around and see how far you get with this horrible double standard. You know the drill.
And to top it off there is yet another level for this hateful double standard of tolerating female violence. Our congress nearly 25 years ago passed the Violence Against Women Act. Notice it doesn’t say violence against people, it ignores men who are victims of female violence and focuses only on the women who are hit by men. Same thing right? Just note that due to this gynocentric pattern we now have over 2000 shelters for women who have been victimized by men but only a handful of shelters for the men. And yes the actual violence of women towards men is nearly equal to that of men. Gynocentrism runs silent and it runs deep.
I have talked with legislators about these double standards and I’ve talked with feminists about this. Both have the same attitudes. We are concerned about men and boys, but… and then fill in the blank. I think the same bullshit responses would come from the people in public places who laughed at the men being victimized. They would not see their own bias and duplicity in such a double standard. They would think they were doing the right thing. And that is just how teachers and administrators respond when questioned about this. But, but, but? We care about boys! You may think that but the evidence says something else.
I’d like to bring up one more item related to the double standard before we close. Actually in the next part of this series we will be examining the research that backs up our earlier discussions. One of those studies is particularly vexing. It shows that boys, by the age of seven believe that they are not as smart as girls. It also shows that girls feel they are smarter than boys and come to that conclusion even earlier than the boys(4 years old). Here’s a quote from an article about the study:
“Researchers also found that the children believed adults shared the same opinion as them, meaning that boys felt they were not expected by their parents and teachers to do as well as girls and lost their motivation or confidence as a result.”
Somehow, our boys, by the age of 7, get the idea they are not as smart as girls. Why are we not panicking over this? But people, educators and our legislators simply snooze on.
Of course this is not simply a result of our schools but they obviously play a part. How did our children get to the point that they both think boys are not as smart? What messages are they getting and why? I remember when I was in elementary school in the 1950’s. The boys would tell the girls they were smarter and the girls would tell the boys, no, they were smarter. It was all in fun and we all knew that there were some really smart girls and also some really smart boys. We tossed these ideas at each other in the same way we would accuse the opposite sex of having cooties. But somehow now this game has changed remarkably. We now condone crap like “boys are stupid throw rocks at them” we laugh at the “girls rule and boys drool” taunts. Somehow our culture is convincing our children that girls are smarter. This is a problem
Just imagine that the research had found the opposite, that girls and boys both believed that boys were smarter. There would be a national campaign in no time. You likely remember that this was actually the rally cry of feminists to gain millions in funding in the 1990’s, her self esteem is low. Girls didn’t think they were smart. Get her help! Now! But since it is boys, no one cares.
Our schools have become lopsided institutions that favor girls. Girls preferences rule the roost, schools are about everyone getting a trophy, sitting still and about feelings. This is girlville. It has even been found that boys grades are dependent upon how much they act like girls! Act like girls and you get better grades! We will see that and many other research studies in the final video of this series.
If you like this sort of content please consider supporting men are good on patreon. We have just opened a private forum and are drawing red pilled men from around the world discussing our issues. Join us!
And keep in mind that men are good, as are you.
(this is the script for the first video in a youtube series that I just completed on the Everyday Hatred of Men. The series examines Patriarchy, Toxic Masculinity, Hegemonic Masculinity and then concludes with some ideas about why the hatred is allowed to stand. I will be publishing these here in order. If you want to skip ahead and see the entire series you can see them here. TG)
Rarely in nature do things go just one way. We live in a world that is filled with complexity and subtlety. And yet, when it comes to men we see three popular theories that are horribly one sided and hateful. The feminist Patriarchy theory, the academic hegemonic masculinity theory and the media’s whipping boy toxic masculinity.
Were going to have a look at all three. Let’s start with patriarchy.
Feminists have developed a clever system that they can call on to assign blame for most any problem they might have or see. They call it patriarchy. Basically it holds men as evil and accountable for the ills of the earth and women as its victim.
Here’s one of the only definitions I could find:
Patriarchy is the term used to describe the society in which we live today, characterized by current and historic unequal power relations between women and men whereby women are systematically disadvantaged and oppressed.
Uh huh, right, I believe the idea of women being oppressed in the us was the biggest lie of the 20th century. But let’s move on.
Listen to what Andrea Dworkin a feminist icon had to say about it:
Under patriarchy, every woman’s son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman.
Every son is the inevitable rapist. Every son means all men. Got it. Now let’s hear from Mary Daly, another well known radical feminist
Almost everything has been stolen from us by the patriarchy. Our creativity has been stolen, our creative energies, our religion. I want it back.
So patriarchy is a narcissists dream, something to point all the blame at others and at the same time holding you as an innocent victim. Pretty snazzy way to blame men while being blameless.
You would think that after many years of making such ground shaking claims that these folks would have research to back them up. Nope, not that I can find. What I saw repeatedly when asked to prove the existence of patriarchy was the pointing towards the fact that more men are the ones in the positions of power.
Okay, gotta agree that men are dominant in positions of power but just how did that happen? These folks would have you believe that eons of evolution of our sex roles have been created just to disadvantage and oppress women! This is an extraordinarily ego centric and self centered claim. It actually reminds me of a 5 year old girl who’s birthday party and pony ride was rained out and she blames it all on her brother. It’s all Jimmy’s fault! He ruined my birthday. It’s all about me! Jimmy hurt me jimmy had a pony ride! She just doesn’t have the psychological maturity to see the actual factors that are involved and needs someone to blame.
When one does look for research about how and why our sex roles have differentiated as they have you get a very different picture. Let’s look at just one tiny aspect, that of testosterone. Scientists are now claiming that the major role of testosterone is to increase one’s striving for status. That’s right, trying hard to win, wanting to be at the top, competing competing competing. Since men have 10 to 20 times more testosterone doesn’t it start to make sense why there are more male CEO’s? The men are pushed by their biology to succeed. To hear more about testosterone and other factors that push men to the top you can see my recent video on that topic.
So wait a minute. Patriarchy is likely at least partially due to biology. Uh Oh. Feminists don’t believe in biology! They think that all of our differences are due to socialization, and that means that even patriarchy is due to socialization! They are what is termed cultural determinists. That means that they see the world only through the lens of how our culture constructs it. Biology be damned! Genetics be damned! Brain and hormones be damned!
So its not hard to imagine feminists getting confused about what is caused by biology and what isn’t. I can guess they might get upset about women not being as tall as men. Patriarchy! Start support groups, get legislation to make women taller, shame tall men. Get the idea? This may be a silly example but it is not far from their myopic gestalt challenged cries of patriarchy
The most perplexing part of this is how intelligent people have failed to call the feminist’s cards. Very few are willing to in argue the ridiculousness of patriarchy theory. When something is this one sided and wrong the most likely problem is likely a bully. I think that is happening here. No one is willing to tell the empress she has no clothes. Academia is petrified to cross the women’s studies gulag. Academia is filled with cowards.
There are some who are willing to question this. Most are men and as usual the men have both clarity and a sense of humor. Let’s take a couple of examples: Here’s one from Milo:
You see, feminists don’t really like to define the Patriarchy. They prefer to keep it nebulous and amorphous so they can conveniently blame it for everything that goes wrong in their lives. Not being paid enough? Patriarchy! Not getting a promotion? Patriarchy! Too many catcalls? Patriarchy! Too few catcalls? Patriarchy!
And then an urban dictionary poster named shikaku says patriarchy is:
The bogeyman that feminists blame for women’s problems or under-achievements because their big-girl pants apparently don’t fit. shikaku
And here’s one from Fidelbogen. He says patriarchy is:
A rhetorical device which props up feminist ideology by making it easy to impose a state of collective guilt upon half the human race, namely the male half.
Bravo gentlemen, thanks for stepping forward with the courage to challenge patriarchy.
So the term patriarchy has become a weapon used against men.
At the same time it is a shield to protect women from accountability. I can hear the feminists saying “but but but patriarchy hurts men too.” Yeah, right, that is like saying men are assholes and that hurts men too. Give it a rest. Hate is hate. Blaming a birth group for the worlds problems is hateful. We need to call it out wherever we see it.
Part two will look into Toxic Masculinity
tp see parts 1-4 you can access the menaregood youtube playlist here.
Men commit suicide four times as often as women and no one knows why. This has been going on for many years. The chart below shows this ratio as being stable from 1950 to 2014 so that tells us that the ratio is not due to some recent shift in our cultural values or due to the economy or some other external source. (blue line is males, black line females, US suicides per 100,000) There are other stats that show that even in the 19th century this ratio seems to hold up. But why?
Let’s take a male friendly look into the possible reasons for this.
First we need to look at the standard manner of dismissing such a huge difference. So many people, including people in our educational systems, suicide prevention organizations and even researchers make the claim that men commit suicide more often due to their choice of lethal means. They point out that 25,926 males used lethal means to kill themselves in the United States in 2012 and only 2,818 females used the same lethal means. Most listen and then nod in agreement at how many men use lethal means and how few women, assuming this must be why men suicide more often than women. Then it is pointed out that many more males than females commit suicide so it is more accurate to compare the percentage of male and female suicides that use lethal means. Have a look at this chart and notice that men chose the lethal means of hanging or firearms in about 81.6% of their completed suicides. But also notice that women chose those same lethal means in 54.7% of their completed suicides. Those two numbers are not that far apart. Yes, this is probably a part of the reason for men to complete suicide more often than women but it in no way explains the mammoth four to one ratio that has held for years. Something else is obviously happening.
Most people are not even concerned about this difference. If you look at the suicide prevention web sites you will notice that this problem is rarely discussed on the first page and all too often not even on later pages. They usually fail to tell their readers that the largest risk factor for suicide is being male. This is such an important piece of data it is hard to believe that they routinely omit it but they do. Even government reports on suicide, college classes, media stories, suicide conferences and many others tend to fail in alerting people to this problem. People are simply not interested. Even researchers lack interest. Just try and find research studies that look into the reasons for this difference. You probably won’t find much.
There is one man, a psychologist, Thomas Joiner, who has theorized about this difference. Joiner points out a possible contributing factor for the 4 to 1 ratio is that men are more fearless and this fearlessness allows them the courage to end their own lives. A very interesting and at least partially true idea but again, it would be difficult to explain such a huge difference by one psychological trait. I think Joiner is on to something but I think it is just a part of the puzzle.
Let’s turn to some other ideas that might relate to our understanding why boys and men are so much more likely to complete suicide. Let’s first look at cultural messages.
It starts early. Little boys are told that BIG BOYS DON’T CRY. Most of us shudder at the thought that this clearly tells boys they need to stuff their feelings but there is an even more pernicious aspect to this. When an adult tells a little boy that big boys don’t cry they are indeed telling him to stuff his feelings but they are also telling him something else. They are telling him that when he does feel hurt and in need of support that they, the adult offering this idea, will not be there to help and offer compassion. So the message is two fold. First it tells the boys to stuff it and second it alerts him that when he is feeling hurt he should not expect support or compassion. He watches as his sisters get what he lacks.
With this default it is simple to see that he will be unlikely to seek help when he has been taught for years that no support will be there when he is in need.
Much has been said about men being reluctant to express emotions but what has not been pointed out is that no one really wants to hear men’s emotions. How about you? When was the last time you offered to listen to a man who was emoting? Most of us have to answer that we haven’t done that for a very long time or possibly ever. A man’s emotional pain is generally seen as taboo, something that people want to avoid. You can contrast this with the way people see women’s emotional pain and you see that women’s pain is seen as a call to action. When women have tears people scurry to help, when men have tears people simply scurry away.
But that’s far from all our culture does to boys and men. As boys get older the culture refuses to accept any signs of dependency. Men, and sometimes older boys must appear to have things covered by themselves, to appear independent, and when they don’t, guess what happens? They are shamed as not being real men. A man named Peter Marin wrote an excellent article on homelessness and explained this very dynamic. Here’s what he said:
“To put it simply: men are neither supposed nor allowed to be dependent. They are expected to take care of others and themselves. And when they cannot or will not do it, then the assumption at the heart of the culture is that they are somehow less than men and therefore unworthy of help. An irony asserts itself: by being in need of help, men forfeit the right to it.“
Exactly. A man’s choice is to appear independent or face being judged as not being a real man. The hallmark of a suicidal person is to feel hopeless and helpless. So the man who feels hopeless and helpless also knows that if he exposes this he will be judged as not being a real man. This is a very tough double bind that men face. If I do open up about my helplessness and hopelessness I will be judged harshly, if I don’t open up I am totally on my own. Most men choose to be on their own. Can you blame them?
This is just one facet of what scientists have named “precarious manhood.” They have shown that around the world men and young men are expected to prove their manhood repeatedly in order to be considered men. Men are under constant surveillance to appear independent and if they fail to appear independent they pay a severe price in being devalued and judged as not being “real” men. Women face nothing similar. When girls reach physical maturity they are considered women, not so for the boys.
Men intuitively understand the above. They live it on a daily basis. However, women are not under similar pressures and don’t realize the hardships men face. Too many times women simply expect men to be more like them. I often see it in the couples therapy I do. The women expect their men to talk openly about their vulnerabilities, their feelings, and their need for help. This of course flies in the face of his certainty that his neediness and feelings will do nothing but harm to him and expose his dependence. He has a natural and learned tendency to do his best to appear independent and he comes by it honestly. For us to suddenly expect him to do a complete 180 degree change and appear needy is a bizarre and unreasonable expectation.
These two elements, not expecting any help to be available and routinely being shamed for any sign of dependence have a cumulative impact on men. When they do feel hopeless and helpless it is easy to see now why he would be less likely to open up about this to anyone.
Let’s turn to the research and see if there are studies that help us understand why men would be so much more likely to complete suicide.
The work of Shelly Taylor is a good example of research that helps us in understanding this problem. Taylor realized in the early 2000’s that nearly all of the research on stress had been done only on male subjects. Women had been left out. What we know about fight and flight surely applies to men. Taylor proceeded to only study women under stress. She wondered if women might have different strategies. She found that women, unlike men, would be much more likely to “tend and befriend.” That is, women were more likely to move towards interaction when stressed, to move towards other people. A sharp contrast to the male tendency of fight and flight that moves men either into action or inaction. So think about it. Can you see how the female nature of moving towards others when stressed will make it much more likely that she will interact with a person who will realize her distress and then push her to seek services? Notice also that the male tendency to move to action or inaction under stress takes him away from concerned others. Indeed action and inaction are very powerful forms of healing (for more info see The Way Men Heal) but they do leave men more on their own to heal and a very powerful depression is a very difficult thing to heal by ourselves. The more feminine interactive modes are more likely to open avenues of loving others challenging our shame, guilt, and self deprecation. Healing with action and inaction will often lack this outer challenge from someone we love and this leaves men more at risk to persistent negative thoughts, shame, and guilt. His pain is less visible to others and this is dangerous in a powerful depression.
I hope you are seeing that men are taught to keep their emotions to themselves, that their emotional pain is not something that others want to hear, and that it is not something that does them much good if expressed. Rather, they see that if expressed they run into a wall of shame and judgment. It is a short step to now realize that for these reasons he is much less likely to seek “help.” First he knows it is likely not there for him but second he also knows that it’s a trap, if he does show his vulnerability he is toast.
Then there is the biological aspect to this. Men get 10 times more testosterone than women and we are now learning some fascinating things about testosterone. For years scientists have been unsuccessful in trying to connect testosterone with aggression. With improved research techniques they now know that rather than being related to aggression , testosterone pushes men to strive for status and to protect that status once gained. Men and to a lesser degree boys, are built to strive for status. Wanting to succeed, wanting to win, wanting to be good at something and working towards that are all now known to be related to testosterone. It’s easy to see how winning and succeeding are important to men and boys and also are the antithesis of dependency. When we win we are far from dependent. Boys and men are not only socially conditioned to be independent they are pushed in the same direction by their biology. Independence equals success, dependence equals failure.
Another impact of testosterone that has been verified recently is that it reduces fear and increases willingness to take risks. This adds some strength to Joiner’s ideas about fearlessness.
If you look at the factors we are discussing separately they don’t make much sense. Why push boys to not cry? Why try and win all the time? Why does precarious manhood push men to repeatedly prove their manhood? Why would testosterone push men to strive for status and take risks? Each by itself doesn’t make much sense. But if you look at them working together it begins to add up. All of these things are helping men in what is being called the masculine hierarchy. Big Horn Sheep butt heads to determine which male will have access to the top rated females, right? What scientists are now finding is that human males also live in a hierarchy. And, like the sheep, the bottom line of the hierarchy is reproductive access. Precarious manhood, testosterone, the desire to win and not be seen as dependent are all factors in moving upwards in the male hierarchy. None of this really makes much sense until you realize that women really, really, like high status. Men of high status, like millionaires, Senators, professional sports players, famous musicians all have a much better chance of attracting women than most guys on the street. These men are high in the male hierarchy. All men know this and will work hard to be as high in the hierarchy as he can, knowing that higher status means a better chance of success with very attractive women.
So really, the parents discouraging their sons from crying in public is done not as a crazy and inexplicable act but as a way to help him be higher in the hierarchy. They want their son to succeed. Same with precarious manhood. The pushing of males to repeatedly prove their worth is just another way to push him higher in the hierarchy. Testosterone does something similar when it pushes men and boys to strive for status. It is this striving for status that has literally built much of modernity. It is nothing to sneeze at.
Men live in this hierarchy each day, in fact, their lives are surrounded by hierarchy. What are men’s favorite sections of the newspaper? Sports and business right? What do those have in common? Hierarchy after hierarchy. Things are broken down to who is first, second, third and on and on. IBM stock up today, DOW up but the NASDAQ down at the close of trading. RBI’s, batting averages, quarterback ratings and a host of sports stats are the domain and love of many men. Think hierarchy. Many men enjoy this and women are often perplexed.
The hierarchy is what it is, but it does have some lethal effects when it comes to suicide. Men will strive to stay up in the hierarchy as high as they can. But this means putting on your best face whenever possible, putting your best foot forward. In order to maintain your place in the hierarchy you don’t want to share your failures, your dependencies, or your depression. This puts men into a very dangerous place. Their lives have often been filled with striving for status and trying to put a successful face on for the public.
Women often do not understand this. They think that he should just get over it and start talking about stuff. But wait a minute. Women have a similar hierarchy. It’s called attractiveness. Women do their best to put their best foot forward when it comes to their appearance. While men’s hierarchical involvement is more global and touches nearly every sphere of his life, a woman’s hierarchy is more limited to attractiveness. Just as status is one of a man’s tickets to reproductive success, the same is true for women and attractiveness. And most women work hard at this. Just a quick look at the 64 billion dollar cosmetic industry should give you a sense of how important this is. Just for reference, the NFL, MLB and the NBA bring in a combined revenue of about 26 billion dollars. That’s less than half of the cosmetics. So women work hard to stay as near the top of their hierarchy as possible and they spend quite a bit to do so. Have you ever heard of a women refusing to leave the house without her makeup? Can you see how this is similar to the men? She wants to put her best foot forward and be able to mask her imperfections just like the men.
The difference is that women’s decisions to not go out without their makeup tends to have much less severe consequences than a man’s reticence over his depression. Depression is seen as failure, a status dropping weight that needs to be fixed privately and he is all too often left alone in the weight of his troubles.
There is one more factor that is rarely discussed that I think we need to at least mention. The devaluation of men and boys.
China is one of the only countries in the world where women commit suicide more than men. The chart below shows three western countries and then China. Notice that all of the western countries appear to have men outnumbering women. China however flips that and shows that female suicide in China actually outnumbers males. Why would this be? Why would almost every other country show men to outnumber women in suicides but China has more female suicides?
Most of the theorists point towards China’s devaluation of women as being the cause. They say that women in China are seen as inferior, boy babies are preferred to the point of aborting girl babies in order to have a male. Valuing males over females say the theorists, must create an environment where the females are more likely to take their own lives. I tend to think that their assessment is at least partly correct. But what does that tell us about our own country? I think a case can be made that in our country it is the men who are devalued, men are seen as inferior and this devaluation impacts men and boys in the US in the same way theorists are positing it impacts girls and women in China. Just look at how easy it is to bash men. Imagine yourself in public commenting that men are jerks. What response would that bring? I have seen this often and no one bats an eye. Most people will just nod. But now think what would happen if you proclaimed that women were jerks. I have seen this one too and can tell you what I have seen is people immediately defending women and castigating you for saying such a thing. This is a huge and unrecognized double standard. It’s not uncommon for people to laugh at men, for men to be forgotten when it comes to their emotional pain, for men to be devalued and used as cannon fodder, to die on the battlefield (97% male deaths), and in dangerous jobs (93% male deaths). Could it be that this devaluation of men and boys plays a role in their greater numbers of suicides? I am guessing yes.
I hope you are starting to get a sense of why men might commit suicide more often than women. Let’s list the factors we have discussed:
- Choice of more lethal means of suicide.
- Joiner’s ideas of fearlessness
- Big boys don’t cry and knowing there is no support
- Disallowing dependency in men
- Precarious Manhood (facing lifelong judgment about his manhood)
- Testosterone and its encouraging striving for status, limiting fear, and increasing tolerance of risk
- Hierarchical nature of men
- The devaluation of men and boys
Men, due to both biological and social factors are less likely to seek out “help” when they are depressed whether it’s a professional helping connection or a personal one. A great deal of the psychological community views this male tendency to avoid therapy and “help” as being pathological. I am hoping that from reading this article you will be able to see that it is more a natural consequence of the man’s nature, his hormones, and his environment. Our task is to find therapeutic interventions that will work with men. They will likely be starkly different from the traditional modes we now use. Our present therapeutic industry is built for women and their “tend and befriend” styles of healing and their face to face talking and emoting. This works great for most women and some men but it fails miserably for many men and some women. Therapy is not built for men and tends to miss the mark.
If we want to be of service to men we will need to change our ideas about healing and our modes of intervention. Part two will focus on ideas about healing strategies that might be more useful in helping men.
A quick look at how compassion and choice for boys and men is more limited and why.