Monday, 22 June 2015

Why we shouldn't call people "soft"

I know Bigfooty isn't the font of intelligence (emotional or otherwise) so I shouldn't be shocked when people call players who might be mentally affected by their surroundings "soft", or when people get riled up because the AFL wants to make the game safer for players. but seriously, it still pisses me off no end.

The fact is, sexism and gender stereotypes don't just hurt women. They hurt men too. The one that I'm worried about in this blog though is the stereotypes surrounding mens emotions. They're supposed to be tough, unfeeling, never crying or complaining. Nothing affects them, especially not to the extent that it does those silly, weak, pathetic women. Men are impenetrable, emotionally robust and they don't bow to anything.

Yeah, right. The mens suicide rates disagree completely with that. Before you old folks start deriding the younger generations as "soft" (gahhhh!) check this out - mens suicide rates have always been high. In other words, men have always had emotions. They've always felt pain, felt helpless, uncertain, sad, miserable, weak, lonely. Exactly the same as their female counterparts. The issue is though is that stereotypically men can't talk about their emotions, for fear of being seen as "soft" (grrrr!) and being mocked, making things worse. I mean, look at the suicide rates around 1930, between World War One and Two. Imagine how many men were distraught with what they'd seen at war, seeing their mates killed in front of them, and how they couldn't just talk to anyone about it because it just wasn't done. The problems that we are plainly aware of - things like domestic disputes, mental illness, depression, drug/alcohol addiction, they were all there, but they were hidden away because that's what society stated was the standard.

Thankfully, we live in a more enlightened time where people who ridicule males have no where to hide - or so we should. Why is the male suicide rate still so high? Why isn't a bigger deal being made out of this? Because the same people who are laughing at women with veiled sexism are doing the EXACT same thing to men, thinking that they're pumping men up when in fact they are hurting men badly. Men shouldn't feel bad for reaching out. They shouldn't be scorned for crying. The worst people for this though are the ones who SHOULD know better, the older males who lived through those high suicide rates and who more than likely have a friend who has killed themselves, unable to see a way out.

It's time to make things perfectly clear. Men are not emotionless powerhouses and women are not emotional weaklings. We are all human, who can be happy, sad, strong, weak, as we go through our lives. Let's give men a chance to get the help they need, just as we're trying to give women the strength to pull alongside them. Sexism hurts both genders - and is potentially killing off one.

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