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This article has sat in the draft out box for some weeks now, but Cristina Odone’s extraordinary article in today’s Telegraph has prompted me to finish it.  I confess I’ve no opinion on Nick Clegg whatsover, but clearly his suggestion that he has cried on occasion (listening to music), and doesn’t enjoy being taunted, has struck a nerve with Christine.  She likes her men to be real men.  Strong and silent.  And presumably lantern jawed and steely eyed; willing to carry all the heavy items and fix the blocked drain.

I am disturbed by women in the media demanding that men get back in their box.  This should be challenged, and not just by men, but by those of us who remember just how oppressive it is to be constantly told just what we can be and aspire to.  The idea that ‘society’ and society’s expectations of us can play any influence in how we are, day to day, is difficult to prove.   But from my own experience, I found the clash between what I aspired to, and what was expected a constant challenge.   Bigotry does matter, it does impact on our lives.

As I recall the poster outside our (girls) classroom listed the following careers in a grid. They were teacher, nurse, primary teacher and launderette manageress. Running down the side of the grid were the qualifications you needed for each post. Launderette manageress required 5 O’levels, including as I recall, maths. As a girl born in 1960 my options were to get married, or be that little bit different and have a career, if I was bright enough. There, in front of me, were listed the world of possibilities reduced down to a sheet of paper. If I worked really hard, and surpassed everyone’s expectations, I could aspire to be a launderette manageress.   I’m not sure the poster had the impact it was supposed to, but it did have an impact.

I remember being severely dressed down for whistling in the playground, girls didn’t whistle.  Being angry that I wasn’t allowed to do carpentry and metalwork at school.  Finding the constant portrayal of women on TV as simpering brainless bimbos, forever having their clothes ripped off them, or who’d drop them at the drop of a pin, painful, embarrassing and enraging.   The swinging 60s were exciting, but from my standpoint all I could see was that women were depicted as sex objects, victims, or both.  Neither of which required any talking, just a bit of giggling or screaming.  Women’s liberation appeared to mean having sex with whichever male required it.  I’m sure I’m conflating things, but that’s how it appeared to me.

How you dressed and whatever line of work you pursued, would be judged.  You shouldn’t appear too strident, too masculine.  Try and look pretty, be feminine, even if you are doing a man’s job you can still wear a nice skirt.  And why ever would you want to be a stone mason or a fireman, aren’t we built differently from men? And isn’t Blow Up a brilliant film, have you seen the latest James Bond, why are those crazy feminists upset about Miss World.

It was commonly understood that women couldn’t do many men’s jobs because we were built differently, we weren’t as strong as men, or having us in the workforce would be distracting.   And further, given that there were so few women in history who achieved anything – apart from Elizabeth 1st and Florence Nightingale – we were clearly the gentler, and less able, sex. Sexism was as normal as Apartheid in South Africa, and those signs in pubs which said ‘No Gypsies, No Irish, No Blacks’.

For women over 40 out there I’m sure some of those things will resonate.  Do you remember the backlash, the sneering.  The male MPs urging Clare Short to get her tits out when she tried to get Page 3 banned?   Women’s libbers – bound to have short hair and dungarees – were disowned by good respectable women who liked to be feminine, and treated with contempt by well, pretty much all the media.  For the liberal media there were of course, respectable women’s libbers who drew a distinction between themselves (they dressed nicely and had husbands) and the loonies who were just frustrated lesbians and born ugly and clearly hated men, the way they ranted so much.  Christine’s article suggests that Nick isn’t a real man for his behaviour.  And women then, who wanted more, were accused of not being real women.   Surely I’m not the only one to see the irony here.

A number of the articles on this website challenge depictions and assumptions about men. And even go so far as to pick at some so-called feminist assumptions. And there is some concern that maybe a few of the articles may be a little too strident, a little too angry. Some comments have even hinted that this is an anti women site.

This is terribly familiar.

I used to sit at Greenham[i] and wonder when the ‘mens movement’ would kick in. Well I believe it’s started – look at some of the great aricles in Shortlist magazine – and as a feminist I welcome it, it’s long overdue.

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. And gone are the days when trousers were forbidden for any ‘professional’ job.   We can slap on as much make up as we can lay our hands on, or none at all. We can wear jeans and dress casual, or drift around in silk dresses or ripped tights and mini’s – and regardless of which we choose, it is clearly understood that our style doesn’t indicate ANY sexual preferences or interests. We can be DIY experts and whip up shelves – or find ourselves unable to carry anything heavier than a bag of sugar, and be acceptably sweet and adorable when unable to change a fuse. We can wander around carrying teddies and lisping, or we can aspire to be Prime Minister. We can cry without fear of censure. And talk, endlessly, about anything – no subject is too intimate or taboo. And whichever way, however we behave; we demand the right to be paid equally. And still have doors opened for us, and expect to get custody if the family splits, and get a share of the husband’s wealth even if married for a only year.

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. A father at the sandpit during the week is viewed with suspicion; surely he must be a failure at work if he’s here with the kids.  Not being in charge of all DIY and lifting duties within a house where a woman lives is dereliction of manhood. And any hint of non-macho behaviour clearly shows that the man is gay. Real men don’t wear make up or fancy jewellery, and never wear dresses (unless Scottish, and then only a kilt) or any item of clothing which might, by its colour, texture or finish, indicate that they are a sexual deviant in some manner.

There is a strict code, which only David Beckham can cross, and only occasionally because he is unbelievably rich and famous. Crying, by any high profile man facing public humiliation, will be greeted by at least a host of female journalists  with acid fuelled derision. Men aren’t in touch with their feelings, can’t communicate properly, don’t understand mother earth, can’t express themselves well, don’t know how to nurture and have all the social antennae of a hermit crab. And because they’re so socially inadequate we can feel huge affection for them as women because it’s really us that keeps the world going.

Despite all the changes for women over the past decades, the role of men in society seems parked in the dark ages. Society still says, overwhelmingly, that a real man should get paid more than his wife/girlfriend, and should, indeed, be able to support them and a family. A real man is always in charge. A real man is invincible – so any weird lumps, any symptom of something more serious – can be ignored because it isn’t happening. A real man can drink his weight in beer. A real man doesn’t reveal anything personal. A real man will hide any personal pain – and be a hero for so doing. A real man doesn’t talk. And one of the most common bullying tactics in primary – and secondary school – amongst boys is calling one another gay.

To lose control mentally and emotionally can/must/should only be done in a proper manly way. Smashing something is, it seems, more socially acceptable for a man ‘losing control’, than crying. The former underlines his masculinity in front of peers, the latter undermines it. The barriers to a man seeking help are engrained in society. Men die younger than women, across the age range, because help-seeking behaviour is, by definition, unmanly. So they don’t go to their GP unless they have just sheared their leg off below the knee. The barriers to men seeking help for mental problems is higher still.

No, all may not be right for women just now, and let’s not roll back the changes and head for the kitchen. But let’s welcome the debate about gender because frankly it is long overdue. And, even more than that, I think feminists should see this debate for what it is, the questioning about who you can aspire to be, what life you can dream of, and a kicking against prejudice and stereotypes.

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.   The suicide rate is not static, it goes up and down, so this clearly isn’t just about genetics – society I suggest plays a large part.  And telling men that they should at least pretend to be invincible, shouldn’t show feelings, should be strong and silent if they want to be a ‘real man’, is destructive, selfish and plain nasty.

The articles on this site aren’t about hating women, but they are about trying to move some societal stereotypes and assumptions. As a feminist I abhor the idea that we require real men to be strong, silent and always in control.  Silence is what victims do, and I believe that if we are to prevent thousands of deaths a year, then we need to do more than just encourage men that its acceptable to ask for help, surely they should have the same freedoms that we’ve won as women.  We need to move some goalposts.  In my lifetime I’ve seen the position of women in society radically change.  It has for men too.  I’d like to think that feminists can support and encourage discussion about men in society, and be big enough to recognise discrimination and stereotype where-ever and whenever that occurs.  Because if we can do that, and change society, it will I believe save lives.

[i] A women-only peace camp outside a cruise missile base in Berks during the 1980s.

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38 Responses to this article

  1. 10 paragraphs on the history of feminism as experienced by the author. followed by 7 noticing that men occasionally suffer sometimes, by their own doing.

    In an article about male suicide, who is the primary focus?

    kloo2yoo 15th April 2011 at 4:01 am
  2. Crying men are mocked and hated. Not crying men are mocked and hated. Working/ unworking – fighting/ not fighting etc etc. Then follows discrimination under the law and indoctrination of children.
    It’s time for women to really do something beyond fake tears.

    ben 15th April 2011 at 5:30 am
  3. Male suicide is not a feminist issue. It is a problem caused by our sexist society and made worse by feminists…

    One of the most common reasons for male suicide is relationship breakdown, losing children in custody battles and unmeetable child support payments. Losing your kids while being forced into poverty and threatened with jail (while being social castigated as a ‘deadbeat dad’) is enough to drive any person to suicide. Feminists have consistently opposed any attempts at reforming the family court system.

    The other big reason are young men with no education, jobs or prospects at a better life falling into depression. Feminists have consistently opposed any attempt to help these young men because they claim young women need it ‘more’ and because of the mythical ‘patriarchy’ these men have all the advantages they need already.

    leper 15th April 2011 at 8:57 am
  4. kloo2yoo, everyone must speak from their own experiences first and foremost, and the author does it in order to compare it to men’s situation. Jane Powell is saying things you have been saying for a long time, what’s the sense in trying to see fault in it? It also broadens the picture from suicide alone.

    I wonder about that paragraph of women now being able to do everything… I know a couple of young feminists who would disagree bitterly, but I think someone who grew up with launderette manager as the highest ordinary career aspiration is entitled to see it that way 🙂

    Vintermann 15th April 2011 at 9:25 am
  5. Hear, Hear!

    toblo 15th April 2011 at 9:46 am
  6. Kloo2yoo:

    I really liked this article. It makes sense to me that she would spend 7 paragraphs talking about her experience growing up and noticing the ways in which society had built and enforced a box for women, then switch over to talking about the box society has built for men. She’s trying to get feminists who resist viewing men as victims to begin to see the specific ways in which men are victimized by society, and has to establish her common ground with them before she can have any hope of making her case.

    She did a fantastic job. I especially like the way she examines her personal thought process in so much detail. I imagine her thought process growing up was similar to a lot of other women who came to view men as “the oppressor” and not as “also heavily controlled/repressed, only differently”.

    I think that one way to convince someone on a particular point is to first establish what you have in common with them in the neighborhood of that point.

    I don’t encounter writing like this everyday. I intend to read more of her work.

    hopeless case 15th April 2011 at 2:58 pm
  7. Thank you very much for this article! We need more voices like you out there in the world. It seems too many are all to willing to close their ears and eyes to some people’s suffering…

    Anton 15th April 2011 at 6:45 pm
  8. Thanks Jane for writing this article, a totally valid point made without any bias or politicising. I really enjoyed it.

    On a related issue, I’m a historian and in the last 20 years or so there’s been a big rise in looking at how gender was viewed in the past, male and female. But there’s been some really vitriolic responses from feminist scholars basically saying: ‘it can’t be gender studies if it’s got men in it’

    It seems to me that, like Jane was saying, we’ve gone from one generation of men in positions of power lording it over women and telling them what they can and can’t be, how men are just better at various things than them etc (Jane’s 1960s), to a generation of women in a similar (less numerical maybe) position of power telling exactly the same guff to men.
    Here’s hoping my/our generation can swing it back to the middle.

    Chris 28th April 2011 at 12:45 am
  9. This article resonates with thoughts I’ve had for some time now.

    It does seem that a lot of feminists have been so focused on rising up from the poor place women once held in society that they have not noticed – or have actively disregarded – that men have an undesirable place too, even the traditional man is better off than the traditional woman.
    I’m too young to have seen first-hand how difficult it was for womankind to break free from its assigned place (which probably says a lot about how well it has done so) but I do still see how difficult it is for a man to stray from his place as the strong stoic, and you’ve illustrated it well.

    I consider myself an egalitarian when it comes to gender politics. I believe that men and women should be as equal as it is possible for them to be. This may conflict with reality sometimes – mostly (possibly exclusively) in matters of pregnancy, where a key difference between the sexes is biologically enforced – but in almost all respects I believe this is attainable. There is nothing that makes either sex a better leader or carer or scholar. Most importantly, though, I feel that only by appreciating that both sexes must be considered, and must be treated equally, that any real progress can be reached.

    There is a reason I call myself an egalitarian and not a feminist, despite the general definition of both words being the same. This reason is highlighted fairly well in some of the comments to this article. The real battle society faces is equality vs inequality, one of gender roles vs gender freedom, and yet all too often is it dressed up as a battle of male vs female. In the past, the gender divide may have been so great that these battles were essentially the same, but in the modern day that is no longer the case. Feminism is the “women’s side” – it’s in the name, after all – and fighting alongside women who want to be equal to men are those who want women to have the upper hand. I’m sure we’ve all heard feminisist sincerely say that the world would be better off if the countries were led by women (and somehow still manage to hold this belief in the face of Sarah Palin) or that men just can’t properly handle issues of gender equality. These two groups, who both call themselves feminists, should be opponents. Female egalitarians are discredited by falling on the same side as female supremacists, in much the same way men who want nothing more than fair custody of their children are tarred with the same brush as misogynists who want their women barefoot and pregnant (and indeed often end up in the same groups). Everyone discredits everyone else and nobody gets anywhere.

    I think I went off on a bit of a tangent there… well, you get the idea. People like you give me hope that we really can be free.

    Tenebrais 28th April 2011 at 1:35 am
  10. Excellent article, Jane. While there is wrongly still much discrimination against women (pay and conditions of employment for starters), men suffer much too: losing children in custody battles; being denied access to their children; being made to pay ridiculous child-support (yes, sadly, there are men who do not meet their responsibilities when they can and should); being made to give sometimes half their wealth (many are not rich!); women rarely initiating relationships (unforwardness that would be frowned upon in many countries, where women are, generally, more liberated—true, I have lived in Canada, USA and Sweden!!!). In custody battles, every case should be treated separately, which would mean many men getting full custody, but more likely shared custody would become the norm in such unfortunate situations. CSA and the sharing of assets needs radical reform too. The mother of our child, now 13, developed a serious mental illness, and when he was 4—I had done most of his rearing when he were a baby too, besides holding down a lowish-paid caring-profession job—I got full custody. A few female friends, of different backgrounds, support my views. It is time for real equality, a new society where men cry and are encouraged to, where there is virtually no domestic and other violence, where the mask of the macho culture is cast aside with the bra-burners, male chauvanists, sexists (and racists), and flakey reactionaries like “odious” Odone. The ruling elites divide the genders, as they do the races/ethnicities, the working and middle classes, because it fits their agenda of socio-economic control. Until we overthrow our political-bigbusiness-media-military-policeprison-judiciary rulers, nothing will truly change for the better. For thousands of years, the primitive communism of hunter-gatherer civilization was a relatively peaceful and egalitarian epoch, when women were treated as equals to men … early woman did not flinch from asking an early man out on a date! In my early twenties I attempted suicide twice, so will not be lectured by any feminist, who often care little for their fellow women, let alone men. Bourgeois ones are the worst, not giving a fig for their working-class sisters, many of whom exist in the grinding poverty these better-off women cause by voting for and indeed being tools of a system which screws the majority everyday. I detest the priviliged, reactionary, insipid, hypocrite Clegg, but not because he cries (a good thing)—he should also be crying at his betrayal of the British people. An end to low pay, unemployment, underemployment (including the disgusting practice of not paying interns at least the minimum wage), student debt, and other social-economic evils would end most suicides. The Samaritans helped save me half my life ago. And I admire CALM too. Let’s end this nightmare state once and for all: a rebirth for our commonly shared humanity.

    Michael Shea 29th April 2011 at 9:38 pm
  11. I really enjoyed this article. I know how it feels to have high expectations placed on me that conflict with my personal aspirations. I can relate to the issues you raised such as bullying for not being a stereotypical man. I find it’s worse in certain working class parts of the UK where men and women’s roles still follow the old stereotypes. It’s also far worse in countries where homophobia, racism etc. are still accepted, and you will be outcast by your family and neighbourhood if you don’t conform to your expected role in society. There is a broad spectrum of people in the world, and it’s a shame that certain people feel so self-righteous that they want to oppress you if you don’t fit into their idea of what you “should” be like. You can be what you want to be. If the sheeple can’t accept you for who you are, they need to learn that it’s not your problem for being too different, it’s their problem for being too narrow-minded.

    James 11th May 2011 at 8:40 pm
  12. well said! Men seem to have little rights when to comes to children, very sad.

    Rebecca McG 22nd May 2011 at 8:51 pm
  13. Breathe deeply, this too will pass. Gender and politics aside, this is an issue of common humanity, of taking back the time to be and to care. The comments make me look deeper into myself and others. Great article Jane, why not more mainstream?

    Lisa 30th May 2011 at 6:49 am
  14. I like the general idea of the article (that the media promotes harmful messages to men about how they should be), but I’m really not sure what feminism’s got to do with it. It’s not feminists stopping men from speaking out… Generally speaking (and I’m aware there are exceptions) feminists want men to protest for a better image for themselves in the media and elsewhere, just like feminists do for women (there are feminists who specifically work for men’s issues as well). I’ve attended feminist discussion groups, read feminist literature and written for feminist blogs and I don’t think I’ve ever come across the view that men shouldn’t be allowed to express their feelings… Those representations tend to come from highly inaccurate reports in the media (just like the quoted article) written by men and women who often either don’t identify with or strongly oppose feminism in all forms.

    We all need to keep the discussions about gender issues going however we can. If men are committing suicide because they’re unable to express how they feel, then that’s devastating and needs to be stopped. But by directing this article at feminists, it feels a bit like you’re preaching to the choir and possibly alienating us at the same time. We’re on the same side!

    Sarah 8th October 2011 at 9:20 am
  15. My ex commited suicide. Yes two wives had left him, both of us had requested he go to counseling with us which he refused. I believe he was mentally ill. I have read that 90 percent of people that try suicide are mentally ill. I think men tend to choose a more lethal way when they try- they use guns.

    I am glad that the author is trying to think outside the box and take responsibility but I believe it is misplaced. Many many women can accept men being emotional, crying – being the stay at home parent. My experience is that most men limit themselves and I suspect this is due more to how they were raised, by men also raised in this way, then to anything a feminist has said or done.

    My ex was what one would call “macho” i guess and hid his feelings no matter how I tried to relate to him. This was a thread that ran throughout the men of his family I came to know. It was the expected way. I suppose this was an attitude men had in the old days to get the tough dirty work done. The problem is we now have less tough dirty work to do and need more teamwork which requires exposing oneself to some extent.

    jen 16th October 2011 at 12:10 am
  16. I’m reminded of an incident some years back when I went into our Central Library and was confronted with a “Focus On Women” display. The head of the Library was an ardent femminist – hence the display. So I went up to one of the Librarians and asked where the “Focus On Men” display was. Unsurprisingly, there wasn’t one. And aside from looking vaguely embarassed said Librarian shrugged and replied, limply, something like: Well, the Library is full of books for men…” I should have asked her if she meant the ones about beer and skittles…

    It’s nice to hear someone broaden the discussion…and about time.

    Bob 28th November 2011 at 10:57 am
  17. But the strange thing is (if you consider the authors ideas on what men can and can’t do, as to compared to women) that thirty or so years ago, when suicide rates were much lower for men, the male world was a far, far more macho one?
    In the thirty years since men have become much different, much less gender repressed and much less judged on what and who they might behave like. That is undeniable (and you’d think good too) but why have the suicide rates increased so steadily since then?
    I haven’t seen a convincing feminist answer for that and I don’t expect I will.
    Like kloo2yoo eluded to above, feminism tends to be only interested in answers that chime within it’s established narrative.

    James 29th November 2011 at 2:23 pm
  18. Probably a well intentioned article, but like most feminists and even educated women she just seems to have a poor understanding of men.

    All men or at least most men know how to act like a man, yet the author of this article would be a nightmare to be around, only a vulnerable man would fall for a women like this.

    Liam 30th December 2011 at 11:38 am
  19. I just read the statement about this website The campaign against living miserably (CALM) was set up to reduce the high suicide rate amongst men under 35, currently the single biggest killer of young men in the UK. It is a campaign and charity set up for and on behalf of young men.

    It sounds great but yet I’ve just read that the chief exec of the website is a feminist. To me it just seems like some sort of piss take. It would be like Adolf hitler setting up a support group for Jews in the 1940s.

    Feminism has done more to contribute to male suicide rates than anything else and people shouldn’t forget that, anyone wanting to know the truth about feminism should read this.

    Liam 30th December 2011 at 11:46 am
  20. Globalisation means that we all have to compete with the world market to get a job, not just the people in your city or country, like in the 60s. This was inevitable due to the advance of technology, but it has been made worse by liberal policies on immigration.
    Feminism means that men and women are now competing for jobs. Consequently, instead of women being seen as allies, they are increasingly being seen as the enemy of man.
    When a man feels he is surrounded by enemies, he is more likely to resort to desperate measures e.g. murder and suicide.
    It also means that both the man and the woman are expected to work and bring in money.
    Whereas before a single male breadwinner could support a family of four, now a couple who are both earning just manage to scrape by, and the pressure often leads to divorce.
    Either way, the kids don’t get a proper upbringing and they grow up dysfunctional with a sub-par education that leaves them unable to compete in the new global market.
    The markets have responded to women joining the workforce and swelling it enormously – everyone puts their prices up and it becomes almost impossible for singletons to get a foot on the property ladder.
    Britain is on its knees and it was liberal thinking and the feminist agenda that put it there. The high suicide rate amongst men is just one symptom of this.

    However, because the current societal model is proving to be a weak and self-defeating system, it will eventually crumble and be replaced by strong and ruthless men who implement a return to traditional, conservative values. We are already seeing the start of this with the increasing influence of Islam in Britain.

    My opinion... 31st January 2012 at 10:59 am
  21. Liam, why is a feminist helping run a website about male sucide a piss take?I hold feminist views but I’m not a man hater. I want girls and boys to reach their full potiential whatever gender. My family has felt the impact of male depression, as Janes may of too, I don’t think anyone has the right to say that person whatever their views cannot set up or help a charity.
    Plus I think an article about a very paranoid CIA and McCarthys’ views of feminism in the 1950’s doesn’t relate to the male youths of today who feel they have no place in society and how adults male or female can make them realise that they have worth as we are all human first.
    Lets stop arguing and help these boys feel they have a future……!

    fiee 28th February 2012 at 10:28 am
  22. If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem

    Stu 7th March 2012 at 8:27 pm
  23. James: over the last 30 years the jobs available for men have moved away from traditional physical work based on teams of men labouring together and more on solitary or intellectual work. A young man today is more likely to be a freelance web designer spending most of his time working in isolation than a miner, farm labourer, or even factory worker. This removes men from their traditional sources of male solidarity. Women are better at creating and maintaining non-work based social support networks. This means men rely far too much on their romantic partner as their sole source of emotional support, especially when they are scared to reveal their feelings to anyone else. For such men, the breakdown of a romantic relationship leaves them utterly alone. As women and feminists, helping men become better friends to each other and to give each other genuine emotional support is a win-win.

    fran 24th March 2012 at 7:36 am
  24. Well the largest areas of male employment are either clerical, dist centres (order pickers and such like) or in engineering. It’s not like men are working in solitude?
    As for ‘the women are better at creating non-work based social support..well generally the UK is well known for it’s love of hobbies, for either sex. Through hobbies you have clubs, through clubs there is companionship
    Plus, it’s a hell of an assumption to say that the majority of male suicide victims relied emotional support, solely from their romantic partner. So that’s not really flying for me.
    But unless there is some hard fact-based research put into this, rather than just speculation based on certain presumptions (which just seem to be there to support a pre-established narrative), then nothing will be done. The problem is, gender studies = feminism, so I have my doubts any studies will have been started with a blank page.

    James 25th April 2012 at 10:44 am
  25. Why is it that people must so often pitch feminism against men and maleness. I am a passionate feminist and have never quested for dominance over men. Feminism is about equality for most feminists. We do not cause male suicide (@leper) and we do not ‘make things worse’. Quite the contrary – the activism by feminists has made life a lot easier for women and men and will continue to do so because we challenge the damaging societal norms and gender stereotypes that are harmful to all of us.

    Anonymous 25th April 2012 at 3:55 pm
  26. Would it be so hard for Ms Powell to spell Cristina Odone’s name correctly?

    Vanilla Rose 5th May 2012 at 10:28 pm
  27. Sorry Vanilla Rose, have amended. Jane

    jane.powell 11th May 2012 at 1:50 pm
  28. Man or Woman what does it matter, feelings are something we all have, humanity is at a very low point at this time, young minds are attacked, right from the start, older people are spared no time as they should be able to look after themselves, but how much of our modern days understanding comes from the media/web/socical site, we all need to talk again and more important listen.

    Pete 19th May 2012 at 6:03 pm
  29. I can’t tell you what it means to read this coming from someone else, and particularly from a woman. As a child of the 80s I was brought up in an environment where we were constantly told that girls could do anything boys could. At 15 I started experimenting with makeup and clothes but took a lot of abuse for it. Having just turned 30 I can’t believe the lack of progress in achieving equality for men. I’m twice as old and it doesn’t feel like the boundaries have moved at all. Yet I’m laughed at the room for even suggesting that there are ways in which men don’t have it fair.

    Interacdiv 24th May 2012 at 11:48 pm
  30. great article. I haven’t read all the comments, (although they look interesting, so I will) but I do feel as if you skimmed over points such as: (paraphrasing) ‘women can be bankers’ and ‘the way women dress doesn’t tell us anything about sexual preference’, when (I hope!) you do actually realize that these are much more problematic concepts, and women are still only free to do X or wear X within certain limits (expectations + attitudes of others), just like a man is free to be a stay-at-home-dad but, like women in banking, or women with a shaven head/short skirt, will face prejudice for doing so.

    Eve Maria 28th June 2012 at 1:17 pm
  31. Nice way to take feminism and suicide and turn it into a story defining men’s role in totalitarian terms. Strange it is how the political camps that most espouse diversity are the most eager to pigeon-hole individuals into one-size-fits-all roles – artificial roles that primarily serve the political purposes. Look it up — this is called the ecological fallacy, quixotically commuted most often by those who should be best equipped to appreciate social ecologies.

    Narvana pre mortem 27th January 2013 at 1:13 am
  32. A friend put me onto this article to help me feel better. Its great that a woman has posted this, because as men I don’t think we are given the right to question anything that feminists say. If you are man and disagreeing with something a feminist says or does you are wrong be default. I’m glad I am not the only one who sees the irony in this, and that I so see I am not the only guy who feels frustrated. There is still a long way to go for equality for both genders but the right to be treated with equal disregard serves no good purpose to anyone.

    Brettc1 17th August 2013 at 1:25 am
  33. This is a worthwhile and admirable article. However, I think it’s a shame that it doesn’t acknowledge that there are feminists who do tackle issues that effect men, that a lot of what feminism aims to achieve will help men too. There are definitely a lot of ‘feminists’ out there who are a lot more strident and against this, and frankly they’re wrong and they’re unfeminist. They are incredibly damaging to the progrssion of men, women, and everyone in between. But this article feels a lot like it’s a lecture that feminism isn’t doing enough for men, when it’s still trying very hard to do a lot for *everyone*. Male suicide *is* a feminist issue, but I also don’t think lumping all feminists together as one unhelpful movement and lecturing ‘them’ is going to help change the minds of those that need changing. I’m a feminist and I feel strongly about a lot of male issues, and I hope that while I might find this article to be somewhat patronising to me, personally, I also acknowledge that it’s not really for me. I hope it opens the eyes of others and helps show the men who need it that feminism is for them, not against them. Thank you for writing it, Jane, as I think it’s a very brave thing to write about, given the sort of muck women can get flung at them for writing about important things on the internet.

    NEB 11th September 2014 at 12:00 pm
  34. I will only attest to my problems and hopefully get some responses here. Before that I want to thank the article writer for acknowledging the issue and doing so respectfully.

    Firstly I’m not married, I have no children. I’ve barely had any relationships and none of them would hold a candle to what almost everyone else seems to get out of life.

    I come from a severely broken background of neglect, special needs (autism), and the son of a schizophrenic father. My first and most persistent reason for wanting to die are rooted in failures to achieve most anything. The primary being that I am not attractive and generally perceived by others to be too weird to interact with romantically.

    The primary driver for my life was mostly the idea that one day I would meet someone I could connect with and share my inner most thoughts with and eventually either have children of my own or adopt children to raise. I want kids because I want to be the father I never had as I guess some sort of stupid karmic feedback?

    Needless to say I’m now 32 and I don’t see this ever happening. I do not blame anyone else for my inability to couple but I do get frustrated that I have no support networks to reach out to.

    Instead I’ve chosen to bury myself into escapism going from heavy drug abuse to now video games and pornography. These are just temporary fasteners to numb that I am basically a failure by my own definition/goal.

    I do not join MRAs in believing this is because of feminism nor do I join feminists and say that this is because society influenced me to feel this way. It is a standard I held myself to and I’ve always known why.

    Thus I know it’s all a ticking time bomb till eventually my temporary escapes cannot negate either mounting physical health problems or the pain of failure becomes too much to bear. At that time I do plan on killing myself as peacefully for others as possible.

    I have no qualms or hatred nor vendetta I
    Nor blame to put on others. All I’ve ever wanted was to be heard and be able to hear someone else I care about.

    Philosopherjake 22nd May 2015 at 7:19 am
  35. Hi Philosopherjake

    Thank you for reading and contributing – it sounds like things are pretty tough for you. The helpline exists, its there for you, and we bust a gut to keep it going and expanding, and we’re proud of the service, so do use it. Its free from landlines / BT phone boxes and most mobiles, and they will want to hear you and talk with you more about your situation.

    jane.powell 22nd May 2015 at 10:26 pm
  36. Very well written article with some brilliant points. I completely agree with what you’ve written, and admire CALM for addressing these issues. I believe strongly that perceived gender roles for both men and women are having a horrifying effect on our mental health. As a man, I often struggle with the idea of opening up to people, I struggle to accept feelings of sadness myself, let alone talk to anybody about it. I’ve been trying over recent years to be more open and less ashamed about how I feel. Bottling up emotions is not strength, it’s crippling. If you don’t ‘let it out’, you’ll carry it with you forever. I admire a man who cries freely, he is stronger than I am.

    JC Axe

    JC Axe 9th June 2015 at 6:52 pm
  37. Pingback: The Danger of ‘Big Boys Don’t Cry’ - Parenting Pod

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