International Men’s Day reminds us that 8 men’s issues are very serious
In a patriarchal society where 98% of the people who held the office of president were white and 100% of them were men, it is hard to imagine the need for an International Human Day, which is the November 19.
After all, statistics that show progress in gender equality are depressing: only 27% of Congress are women, only 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, only 30% of university presidents were women in 2019, and only 27% of lower federal court judges are women.
Women earn lower wages for the same jobs and are less likely to be promoted to positions of power (even when controlled by other factors like educational differences) and are much, much more likely to ‘be killed by a current or former romantic partner that men are.
It’s bad there.
But acknowledging that women today still face strong gender discrimination doesn’t mean that men don’t suffer from patriarchy either. Especially men who also belong to other marginalized groups: men of color, LGBTQIA + men, men with disabilities, men living in poverty and homelessness, and men with depression and other mental illnesses, to name a few.
Even men who seem to have it all on the surface can suffer in ways that we rarely discuss. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of very real issues facing men today, issues that deserve our attention and compassion.
I believe that approaching these issues with compassion would help resolve many of the larger issues that affect us all.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor does it imply that anyone, regardless of gender, may not experience these issues. It’s just a way to start a conversation that ultimately would benefit everyone.
8 serious issues for men that deserve attention on International Men’s Day
1. The risk of death by suicide in men is exorbitant
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “In 2019, men died by suicide 3.63 times more often than women” and was the 8th leading cause of death among men in 2019, although it is considered as largely preventable.
While the suicide death rate among women has caught up in recent years compared to previous decades, the difference is still staggering.
Writing for the BBC, Helene Schumacher notes that “women are also even more likely than men to attempt suicide. In the United States for example, adult women in the United States reported a suicide attempt 1.2 times more often than men. more violent, which makes them more likely to be finished before anyone can intervene. ”
Schumacher also notes that men may choose more violent or immediate means to kill themselves because their intention is greater. She notes: “A study of over 4,000 hospitalized patients who self-harm found, for example, that men had higher levels of suicidal intent than women.
2. Men suffer from undiagnosed and untreated depression and anxiety.
How much? We don’t really know. As I cited in my last article on men and mental health, men often find themselves unable to seek professional help.
Joseph Harper, a mental health professional wrote: “I have seen mothers and wives literally drag the men they love into my office,” he wrote, adding, “I often struggle with certain people. male patients to extract information about their emotional problems. because they are so reluctant to speak. Others just downplay their problems by saying things like, “It’s not really that big of a deal” or “My wife is exaggerating this disproportionately.” Then there are the men who are just embarrassed and ask, “No one will ever know I was here, right?” “”
Obviously, society has taught men and adolescents that asking for help is inhuman, shameful, or unnecessary – or all three.
3. Men experience high rates of drug and alcohol abuse
According to the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Men are more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs, and illicit drug use is more likely to result in emergency room visits or death. overdose in men than in women ”.
This is probably due to the points mentioned above, but it can also be related to the stress and pressures associated with other items on our list today, such as dangerous jobs, the silence of male survivors of sexual violence, l homophobia and other intersecting oppressions – or even the pressure to be a “good provider” according to traditional patriarchal expectations of men.
4. Men do incredibly dangerous jobs
In the United States, men are the vast majority of employees in nearly all of the 25 most dangerous jobs: from loggers and oil workers to roofers and garbage collectors, we expect men to put their lives at risk. and rarely consider it heroic in Anyway.
Of course, men also account for the vast majority of military deaths, which is not considered work in the traditional sense and therefore is not counted in the above list.
On a personal note, whenever I watch men and even teenagers box, compete in mixed martial arts (MMA), or play football, I think about how we as a society just expect men to do so. ‘they sacrifice their bodies for our entertainment – especially the men and boys of color.
The NFL has one of the highest rates of serious injury, including spinal cord injury and head trauma (and subsequent permanent brain damage like CTE), of any profession. Many excuse these injuries by saying, “But look how rich they are! As if a high salary compensated for a lifetime of pain or disability.
Additionally, the career of an average NFL player lasts only 2.5 years (!!!) and players often find themselves with few job prospects and no insurance to cover their many injuries as well as none. assistance in the event of disability. Some end up with serious addiction issues from years of using drugs to manage pain.
5. Male survivors of sexual violence are often silenced
Most people don’t realize that men and boys have a 1 in 6 risk of having unwanted sexual interactions before the age of 18.
While statistics on sexual violence always vary depending on how the data is collected and what constitutes sexual abuse or rape, one thing is certain is that both men and boys are victims of violence. sexual more than people realize.
Adding insult to injury, many male survivors are humiliated, blamed and silenced when asking for help or trying to call their attacker and even considered dangerous, based on the fallacious vampire syndrome myth. .
More support is needed for any boy or man who has experienced abuse, but luckily there are now organizations like “1 in 6” where men can get confidential support online. This is especially useful for guys who haven’t had gender-specific treatment available to them in more rural or conservative areas.
6. Men who are abused by women are pushed into the shadows
While it is still considered relatively rare for men and teenagers to be abused by current or past romantic partners, we know that this is a problem that has always existed and has long been kept under wraps. According to NCADV, 1 in 9 men have experienced severe domestic violence.
A friend who worked in a small town emergency room for many years said men regularly came to their ward with injuries compatible with domestic violence, but who were never going to press charges or admit that ‘they were beaten. After all, it would be considered weak to be hurt by a woman.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. And if men feel they can’t talk about it then they aren’t getting the support they need to heal and can be left in very dangerous situations.
7. For-profit prison systems enrich rich white men with the bodies of colored men
The United States justice system is complicated and deeply skewed, and almost everyone agrees on this. The problems are far too numerous to deal with here.
But a very clear example of this is how for-profit prisons have exploited our criminal justice system to get rich. Judges have received illegal bribes for sending more people to jail or jail, and most of those victims are black men.
These prisons also put the incarcerated to work, essentially enslaving them.
Related stories from YourTango:
Ava Duvarnay’s documentary, 13th, explores this question in depth and is definitely worth a visit in honor of International Human Day.
8. Homophobia is still rampant in schools and in many communities of men.
Despite the fact that there are more gay men and women in many positions of power and represented on television and in movies than ever before, homophobia is still alive and flourishing in many communities.
Any teenager can attest to the banality of hearing the word “gay” used as derogatory – even among children who claim they would never discriminate or harm a gay classmate.
Homophobia is also rampant in many communities with discriminatory cultural and religious traditions.
This type of fanaticism is not only damaging to members of the LGBTQIA + community, but to anyone who may be considered gay or queer – from male survivors of sexual violence to boys and men who just don’t fit the norm. “Man Box”.
And while progress is being made towards full acceptance of LGBTQIA +, hate crimes against gay men still occur.
Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and media critic whose writings have appeared in The New York Times, Time, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed, Esquire, Vox, and more. She graduated in Gender Studies from UCLA and is raising three very busy children while working from home. Follow her on Twitter or visit Joanna Schroeder’s website to learn more.