Posted in Gender, Mental Health

Male Disposability and Mental Health

Some of my regulars will have seen me occasionally post videos from rationalist anti-feminist Karen Straughan on here. Aside from her outing the truly lowest of the low of bottom-feeding hate-mongers in feminist thinking, and calling out the hypocrites and misandrists, one video caught my eye and now I am wondering what effect it has had and is having on male mental health.

It is about how men have always been seen as disposable. Please, before you read on or comment with a haze of red mist – watch the video, it’ll save me having to explain what I am about to write.

A lot of this struck a chord for me. No, I have never fought in a war having been drafted, I have not been on a sinking boat and told to wait for a lifeboat but I have gone through my life with countless insistences of “ladies first”. Whether that is out for a meal where the waiter or waitress asks my female companion first, whether she is served her drink first merely for the pure chance of birth. This might seem petty to women but ask yourself how you would feel if you were expected to go last in just about everything because of social courtesy purely because of the genitals you were born with.

Far more than that, when my marriage broke down I felt that I was no longer of any use to my then wife. Looking beyond the betrayal and the dishonesty (because marriages do survive infidelity), what made me realise that it was over was that she no longer wanted me because I was no longer fit for purpose. Our non-existent sex life was excuse that she used to justify her cheating, my inability to “satisfy” her justification for throwing away the 12 years we had together. I felt redundant, though at the time I was consumed with so many other emotions, looking back now I felt I was being cast off like an old pair of shoes.

Similarly, I feel that Miss X took advantage of my attention towards her to boost her own ego. Even before she knew I was attracted to her, she used our “friendship” to make her feel better about herself. Even after that, she played on it and toyed with my feelings while she figured out how she felt about Mister Unsuitable. Then when they got together, her contact dried up and she lost interest. This was not the first time she threw our “valued” friendship aside because of a romantic relationship.

From friends and family members who have gone through breakups where the woman has been the cheater or the one whose actions were largely responsible, the same pattern is there – “he is no longer of use to me”… the disposable male is clear. This is not a new thing, TV Tropes demonstrates how prevalent this is in media and gives many examples. We don’t even have to look that far, look at how news reports focus on missing girls, see how “Bring Back Our Girls” went viral while the boy’s school that Boko Haram attacked just a few weeks earlier in which they killed all the students didn’t even get a mention in the mainstream media.

Whichever way you look at it, in real life and in media males are expendable. A woman dies and it is tragic, a man dies and he is a collateral. Elliot Rodger killed six people, four of whom were male yet if you believe the feminist rhetoric, you’d believe he attacked only women.

What Effect Must This Be Having on Male Mental Health?

I’ve mentioned before that men are valued and, indeed, objectified for our utility (sometimes to women, but mostly to society in general) and this is backed up in the evidence of how men are treated in the news and fiction media (see above). When a man’s worth is tied to his utility – in his traditional gender role as a protector and a provider, a man who is valued for his material wealth or earning potential- to take that away seemingly takes away his reason for being. Men are considered not just providers and protectors, but fixers and doers and tools for society.

We must also remember again that in the western world, 75% of suicides are male. The major reasons for male suicide are:

  • Unemployment
  • Social isolation
  • Divorce / separation
  • Long term illness

The fourth is common to both genders and to a lesser extent, so is unemployment. However the top three are almost overwhelmingly the reason men take their own lives. It’s not difficult to see in each case that a man’s utility is taken away – in the first, his role as a protector. Without a job, he is unlikely to find a woman willing to date him, especially in societies where he is going to be expected to entirely fund the courtship while the woman / women he dates will hide behind this “tradition”. I know that a lot of women are not like that, I dated just one who expected the traditional gender role, but then I live in far more liberal Europe and got used to the “sit down, you bought the last drink – this one’s on me!”

The second and third options speak to his role as father and husband and his inherent value as both provider and protector. A single man who has just lost his job is a very high suicide risk.

Feminism has been very good at encouraging women to see that they are more than their worth as mothers and wives and now we need to do the same. We need to stop the chivalry when it becomes a double standard, we need to demand equality in our lives and in society. We need society to stop treating us as a disposable commodity.

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Author:

I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

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