“Manning up in the past was to suffer in silence, manning up now is to put your hand up.” – Danny Frawley
Suicide is the leading cause of death in men aged 15-44.
75% of total deaths by suicide are by men.
The number of deaths by suicide are increasing dramatically every year (9% from 2016-2017)
It is time we redefine what it means to be a man.
I have just created a new Instagram page and am about to embark on a new blog.
The current state of men, males, manliness… is not in a good way. We are currently stuck right between two very different generations of men. Today we are in a more comfortable world than ever before, less threats, less reasons to fight, less need to be classically ‘masculine’. But in the past, amongst all the wars and famine, to be a man meant to be a warrior, to be a protector and a provider.
Today not so much. Today we are lucky. Yet the pressure to behave as such is still very much there.
The pressure to be tough, to “harden up”, to show no weakness and no fear and to provide (in excess) is stronger than ever before. This pressure is coming from all around.
The most modern pressure being the social networks, where comparison is crushing both men and women alike. For men it’s the threat to our masculine ego, where men with the most ripped muscles, hottest babes, shiniest toys and most extravagant overseas adventures get the biggest following.
There’s also pressure beyond the socials to have the most stuff, the newest stuff, the most expensive stuff, not only for the envy of your mates and the others on your street, but to show that you’re a man that can provide, just like your dad did. You could throw on top the (perceived) pressure from your partner to be the ultimate provider for her too, just like her dad did for her.
Amongst all this pressure to be, to appear and to provide, men genuinely want to be the modern family man. A rock solid relationship with their partner full of love, connection, good sex and quality time. But they’re fucking exhausted from how hard they feel they need to work in order to provide. So exhausted that they really don’t know how to be that guy their partner wants them to be. And let’s not forget that they must somehow keep up to facade to the boys that you ‘aint no “whipped bitch”, because being an arsehole to your missus in front of the lads is how a real man should be.
So, many men are drowning in their jobs, being as ‘busy’ as possible to prove that they’re giving every bit of effort they can and providing in the best way they know how, through work. Because a hard worker is what a real man should be, right gramps? It is completely the same as the 70’s right? The economic landscape is the same as it was 50 years ago yeah? Not quite.
What so many men are feeling today is shame. Shame for not being enough of the hard working provider our dad and grandad were. Shame for not being enough of the modern day husband and highly involved dad the world now expects us to be. Shame for not being more ripped, more wealthy, more balanced, more attractive, more in control, funnier, harder, softer, a better role model, impressively busy but always present.
But we don’t know how to talk about shame. It’s not manly to talk about it. No matter how many RUOK’s, Movembers and Beyond Blue’s we have, the fear to open up and show our true vulnerable selves is crippling. We all know by now how okay it is to speak up, but when all we have been brought up with completely contradicts the idea of “male vulnerability”, how the fuck are we supposed to trust the message?
Shame is what is leading men to numb themselves more than ever before. Using any form of numbing agent: alcohol, drugs, smoking, gambling, Candy Crush, gaming, or food as a way to escape the stress. And if it all becomes too much and the numbing agents don’t work, in the minds of many men today, there is only one other option left to take.
The purpose of this blog and socials page is to talk about all of these things that men are struggling to talk about. I will be exploring what it means to be a man of today and discuss how we can not only be better, but be happier, be more fulfilled, be less stressed, feel less pressure to be ‘him’ or earn ‘this much’, to find greater purpose… and to kill ourselves less often.
I welcome and encourage you to follow along and join in on this journey. To all men, to wives and girlfriends, to mothers and grandmothers, the topics I will bring up here are the topics we men need to hear and need talk about if we wish to be free of all the shame, perceptions and preconceived ideas of what a man is supposed to be. It will be a no bullshit, honest and open look into men and how we are today, and the real strategies we need to take beyond the next male health campaign in order to get that horrific statistic moving in the other direction.
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