For many men, depression and emasculation are synergistic. Understanding this is critical to recovery. What I have learned in my journey is that feelings of weakness about my masculinity can lead to depression, while at the same time, depression can lead to feelings of emasculation.” Quote from an article by Mike Veny, leading Mental Health Speaker from the USA Read Mikes article here
Mike Veny, top USA mental health speaker
Why do men feel emasculated?
We are constantly hearing news that more and more men are taking their own lives as did my own husband, but why? I believe there are many reasons but the issue is so much more complex than merely the fact that men are less likely to seek help when it comes to their mental health. So, what’s the reality? Are more men struggling with their mental health, is the media picking up on more stories so we are more aware or are the pressures of modern society playing a part? I’m convinced that all of these are factors but I don’t believe it makes up the whole picture.
I’ve been conducting my own little case studies over the last 10 years or so, watching with great interest how my daughters boyfriends fare in their very modern relationships. I’ve observed a number of challenges that both women and men are having in the struggle to evolve very quickly into, modern men and women. Whilst the scientific community battle out the finer points of what our lineage may be, the general consensus seems to be that, as a species, we are at least 100,000 years old, that’s a whole lot of evolving we’ve done! The speed with which we are now expected to keep up is simply unreasonable. Herein lies the core of the problem I believe.
Women were treated as the weaker sex for a reason
Nowadays we find it abhorrent to learn of the way women have been treated historically, but whilst there have been some unspeakable atrocities, there were actually some excellent reasons why women were treated as the weaker sex. Putting abuse to one side (that’s still very much a reality in the 21st century), our ancestors lived by the sword, and prior to that, by the club! The truth of the matter is that women are not, generally, as physically strong as men, therefore, in a society where everything had to be done by hand with little or no tools, it made total common sense that the women would take on the gentler tasks and men would chase after Antelope. It was merely a case of survival, nothing to do with political correctness, and it was because of this that we evolved in the way we did.
We’ve come so far, let’s not go backwards now!
Where women are stronger
We can’t actually know how cavemen treated the women of the tribe but there are a lot of primitive tribes that still exist in remote areas where the women are in charge! Therefore, it’s not beyond the realms of imagination to assume that cavemen treated the women with respect for the essential role they played within their society. The men were stronger and probably ran faster, didn’t have the debilitating role of child-bearing and were far better equipped for running through the undergrowth as they had tougher skin. For this reason, men today, still have more tunnel vision than women in order to be able to focus more effectively on their prey, and women’s peripheral scope is much wider than a mans, all the better for spotting the Sabre Tooth Tiger lurking on the outskirts of the camp! Evolution has played a huge role in many other aspects involving the different sexes, far too complex to go into here, but, let’s accept and know that we are different and in many critical ways, women are indeed stronger than men!
Isn’t teamwork better?
Are women better or worse than men?
Well…that’s about the most stupid question that could ever be asked! I was talking to my son Osborn a few days ago and he was pondering the fact that men and women are so different that we could almost be different species, I wholeheartedly agreed with him! Women scream for equality but actually, equality doesn’t mean justice!
Women should shouting out for justice, men and women are not equal in all areas, we actually carry very different strengths and society would work much better if we all accepted that it would be much more effective if we played to our strengths. Am I suggesting that women get back in the kitchen? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What I am suggesting is what I’ve been banging on about for years, EVERY person should be playing to their strengths, and I’m talking about men, women, neurodivergent people, people with physical challenges etc…EVERYONE!
It’s not about better or worse!
When it comes to talking about people, the words better or worse should never enter into the conversation, no person on this planet is better or worse than anyone else, it’s about our differences and playing to our own individual strengths. The word ‘disabled’ is bandied around constantly, disabled actually means ‘to render useless’, and yet, I’ve never met a ‘useless’ disabled person, differently abled, yes, not disabled. The same principle should apply to the sexes, we are differently abled and instead of trying to compete with men, we should be working side by side, as a team, utilising our greatest strengths to get the job done better. Justice, not equality. And, of course, those wishing to pursue ‘non gender typical’ jobs must be at liberty to do so, and more than that, welcomed into their sphere of work wholeheartedly. If they’re pursuing their dream job, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re be bloody good at it!
Where does this leave us?
Going back to the start of this article, I believe all of the above is relevant in terms of the confusion men are experiencing these days. Their traditional roles as hunter, bread-winner, alpha protector have been turned on their heads, my observations over the years have shown me that guys these days have absolutely no idea what or who they are supposed to be. I’ve entered into long conversations with many men on the subject, who all confirm what I already suspected, they don’t know what their role is anymore. All of them have experienced women growling at them when they’ve opened a door for them, but isn’t this just a societal nicety whether carried out by either sex? However, the upshot of this rejection is that men no longer dare to act in a chivalrous way, but they can’t win, women then accuse them of behaving like ‘cavemen’! Thinking back over the years I wonder when the ridicule of men by women actually became the norm? We’ve gone way beyond wanting equality, or justice, we now want it all, and so many women now view men as walking sperm banks and little more. We have one planet to share, it doesn’t take an enormous amount of common sense to accept that we need to work together, in harmony, in order to achieve the best reality for every person who lives on our precious, but fragile, lump of rock.
We all need a sense of purpose
Everyone needs a sense of purpose, it’s in our make-up as human beings. The media and society have insidiously sent out a message to the male of our species that he is redundant, no longer necessary…after all, we have sperm banks. 50% of our population shouldn’t be experiencing a feeling that the ever-growing reality is that they no longer have a role to play, women can do it all by themselves! Or can we? And is it any wonder that so many men are experiencing a sense of uselessness? Some men now try to assert their status in very negative ways, others just hide away and may become one of the suicide statistics that are so readily available in the media.
From my own very personal point of view I’ve never felt inferior to anyone, is it that I have a good self-esteem? No, I don’t have a great self-esteem and it’s nothing to do with self-esteem, confidence or anything else, it’s just that I’ve never focused on whether a person is male or female, black or white, Christian or Muslim. Their gender, ethnicity etc…matters not one jot, I’m interested in the person, nothing else. I think of we all focused less on the minutiae of each human being and reached out to each person as an individual the world would be a much better place. Discuss please?!
Do read Mike’s article for a man’s perspective.
My TED talk is here on much the same subject:-