Monday, November 28, 2011

After Gary Speed - Young Men, Suicide and Feminism

"Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 35 in the UK, and seventy five percent of all suicides in the UK are male."
Not saying this for shock value, but I knew 4 men under the age of 40 who took their lives this year. One of whom was a very very close friend.  And since the sports man Gary Speed passed last week, there has been a outpouring addressing the state of minds of men who suffer from depression. An article came to my attention from the CALM campaign - Campaign Against Living Miserably.
click to enlarge
The reason I was drawn to this article is because of its reference to roles men and women have to endure, imposed upon them by "society", whatever that is these days. But whatever it is, it is taking lives as more and more men find it hard to be the square jawed, strong silent types that are apparently what they are (still)?!) expected to be.

Jane Powell, Chief Exec of CALM,  raises the issue of the role of feminism and male depression in a very condensed and  simplistic way but enough to rouse your interest in in the CALM website, the campaign and enough  to make me want to unpack why a global patriarchal system is failing its subjects, aside from propagating much unrest all over the planet that is  linked to profit driven and uber-individualistic idioms. Or maybe the three are closely connected: as men are expected to still bring home proverbial bacon and other  miscellaneous shiny things, they become a tad resentful of women and their "constant noise" (not my words) for equality, and women still expect men to open doors for them.

In the meantime, we all suffer traumas and distressing experiences that we need to talk about, that we need advice on how to cope with.  Then with expansion of  urbanisation and globalisation, the intensity of technology and the  white noise of the information age leave us with  little or next to no time  for introspective, reflective  thought, as the demand for our attention is constant and persistent. Some find ourselves in a habit of filling a need to be awake 24/7 in case we miss the next hot topic or an opportunity to buy the upgrade of a 'shiny thing'.  When we do stand still a moment, the noise can be deafening. Find something - a ritual, an addiction, SOMETHING - to squash it: alcohol, drugs, sex, partying... how many of us have been appalled by the behaviour of the young people we see on the BBC's "The Worlds Most Strictest Parent?"

The turbulence caused by conflicting emotions when maintaining an 'I can handle it'  exterior,  means the  burden of silence builds and compresses within hearts and minds. It shadows the spirit, undermines the psyche and the wounds  seep and begin to manifest themselves as misery, lethargy, pessimism, an anger that you cannot put your finger on and finally,  for some, a hopeless desperation that appears to leave no other option except ending the torment by taking steps to stop the beating of the ailing heart. I can only come to wonder where we are headed in the  ever raging gender equality dispute. Janet Powell says:
"We should indeed take a long, hard look at society and question some assumptions. Women now have full permission to be just who they want to be.  We can be a stay at home mum or a city banker, with or without a family...."

"If you flip that picture, and ask if men can do all of those things – in the way that women can – then the answer is no...."

And when the pressures get too much: "To lose control mentally and emotionally can/must/should only be done in a proper manly way."  

What is that?  - "a proper manly way"?
Ultimately, the whole globe is in transition as we come to a zenith in the need for  self-awareness, or else get swallowed up in the myriad of  identities forced up on us by mainstream media and intrusive bolshie ad campaigns telling you will never be happy unless... and when you don't meet that unobtainable  standard of femininity or masculinity - designed to be unattainable so you keep buying - you are left with guilt, inadequacy and a struggling self-esteem.
It is the peak of the 500 year capitalist campaign and there is only one way it can go from here.

For one day, one WHOLE day, I challenge you ,while you go about you everyday business, to consciously look around and see how and what types of images of masculinity and femininity are pushed in our faces at every corner, bus stop, tv ad, sitcom, in our language and even in your own home.
And while there are plenty who die at the hands of profit-driven-gotta-have-it greed in the guise of a"democracy" hailing liberal personal freedom and individualism through wars abroad, at home there are many who silently suffer from isolation caused by the pressure of insidiously forced gender roles.  In the age of the metro-sexual male and predatory Cougars, we can no longer push aside how gender socialization and sexual colonization, as crazy as it may sound, is  killing people.

Click the link and check out CALM and what Jane Powell has to say about "Suicide, an Issue for Feminists".

Here is another article from 2008 where Jane is quoted before the creation of the CALM campaign.

Help Lines worth checking out:

Depression and Suicide in Men
Support Line

1 comment:

Suicidal Thoughts said...

There are many Reasons...
i showed it at my blog.