Damaging Rhetoric of “Man Up”
Earlier this week was international men’s day which highlights men’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting male role models.
With many of the stereotypical characteristics of being a man following on the lines of to “not show emotions”, to “toughen up”, to rely on the physical and not emotional we can see that there have been many negative effects of this.
In this years Samaritans suicide report, it again shows that “Male rates remain consistently higher than female suicide rates across the UK and Republic of Ireland – most notably 5 times higher in Republic of Ireland and around 3 times in the UK.”
Alongside this, the number of male abuse cases has also increased. Statistics from the ManKind Initiative shows that “13.6% of men state they have been a victim of domestic abuse since they were 16” which has risen from the previous year. “These figures are the equivalent of 2.2 million male victims” which bottles down to 1 in 6 men suffering from domestic abuse in their lifetime.
According to the same statistics from ManKind, male victims of domestic abuse are over 3 times less likely to tell anyone with 10% saying they would tell police, 23% saying they would tell a person in official position and only 11% saying they would tell a health care official.
These statics prove that the masculinity many men deal with are leaving them in toxic, venerable and dangerous positions.
International Men’s Day opens up a discussion for people across the world to talk about male suicide prevention and abuse. Each year the number of cases regarding male domestic abuse rises showing just how important talking is.
As time moves forwards, the world is coming to terms with traditional gender roles being obsolete. The gender spectrum is now a more talked about thing with many people falling somewhere along it.
A recent survey done by the LGBT magazine Attitude showed, out of the 5,000 men from their readership asked, 71% of them were “turned off by effeminate guys.” With only 29% saying they found men who had feminine qualities attractive. The survey also found that 41% of bisexual and gay men have thought themselves to be less of a man because of their sexuality.
No matter where you fall within society there is a damaging effect that comes from trying to fit into the male stereotype.
The rhetoric of “manning up” tells males that the feeling they are showing aren’t right, that they should be quiet and bottle it up. With that having two negative effects.
1) It is telling that person emotions are for women and thus saying that they are second class still.
2) The results of expressing emotions creates a multitude of mental health issues which can result in suicide as it leaves men feeling that they are unable to ask for help.
We should never silence someone in distress or need of help. Instead, we should always offer support and guidance where we can.
This article was written by Darren Mew for Stay Brave UK. Darren is a writer based in the United Kingdom. You can follow Darren over on Twitter.