Man Up! The hidden struggles of Men in Society.

Over the past few years, society has dramatically changed its views on women, LGBGQ+, ethnicities and different cultures. The world has been dominated by white, straight men who have created a strong, tall, dare-devil stereotype. My class in college were having a discussion about how the English Language may be biased towards men, and the teacher said:

“Don’t you think that having a patriarchal society has a negative impact on some men, as well as women?”

The whole class thought this was ridiculous, how could men suffer in a man made world? They have it easy!

But we don’t.

When you think of a typical man, you think of a tall, possibly muscular if not over weight guy who watches football, drinks beer, is loud, lazy and doesn’t treat women with respect.

I’m nothing like that. I’m short, skinny, incredibly shy and polite and I treat everyone with as much respect as I can. Yet this isn’t good enough for society. I’m abnormal, I stand out, I need to ‘man up’.

During the discussion, girls on my table were saying ‘yes, men can suffer, but it’s never as bad as women.” I feel like this is very, very wrong. Just because people have only recently noticed the high suicide rate of men, or that not every man want to go to the gym, become a builder or owns a tool box doesn’t mean that men have never suffered before. Imagine the poor men who were as small and skinny as me, being forced to go to war at the age of 16, cowering in training only to be told to man up. You don’t think that’s suffering?

I was picked on in high school for not meeting the requirements to be a ‘real man’, the thought of me having a girlfriend was hilarious because short guys aren’t attractive, because being short is a sign of weakness. Other kids tried to force me to swear, because men are expected to be rude and use taboo lexis. This was a major catalyst for my anxiety which affects my everyday life. I feel like I can’t do certain things, or I must do certain things in order to be accepted by other men and women.

I understand that women do have it much worse when if comes to physical abuse, the #metoo campaign spread the word like a house on fire. But we can’t ignore the fact that middle aged men are taking their lives more than any other demographic.

Not all older men are pedophiles, not all teen boys are bullies, not all husbands are lazy.

Some older men are carers , some teen boys are activists, some husbands do everything for their loved one.

Next time you see a boy racer and think to yourself “typical man”, think again, because it’s thoughts like that that are kill men every day.

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