Friday, 21 November 2014

A Crisis of Masculinity - Whose Fault is It?

According to a recent report by the charity CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) there is a crisis in modern masculinity indicated by a survey focusing on the UK which noted inter alia that:
  • Suicide is now the single biggest cause of death in men aged 20-49 in England and Wales
  • Men account for 78% of all suicides in England & Wales
  • 74% of women who had suffered depression said they had spoken to someone about it, while only 53% of men had done so
  • 42% of male respondents said they felt pressure to be the main breadwinner in the family, compared to just 13% of female respondents
  •  42-43% of male respondants said they believe a man is "mostly responsible" for being emotionally strong and taking charge in a crisis, compared to 16-17% of women.
 You can find further details at: Crisis of Masculinity

According to the Chief Executive of CALM, Jane Powell:
“The research underlines that so often their own worst enemies, men need new rules for survival. Outmoded, incorrect and misplaced male self-beliefs are proving lethal and the traditional strong, silent response to adversity is increasingly failing to protect men from themselves"

Interesting as the findings of the report are, this kind of diagnosis seems to me less than helpful. For those men who suffer from negative or distorted belief patterns that are contributing to their difficulties and depression, it sounds as if they are being blamed for having those belief patterns. For sure if they can learn to challenge and change distorted beliefs that is likely to help them manage or prevent emotional difficulties better, but is it really their own fault that they developed those beliefs or does that have more to do with their family, social and educational upbringing and the expectations placed on them by the society in which they live?

For those men who are facing emotional difficulties because of the way that they think and their tendency to hold 'traditional masculine' belief patterns, isn't it better to show them alternative ways to think and different belief patterns, and the advantages of holding those, rather than to berate them for having the problematic belief patterns?

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