It's been some thirty years since the beginning of the women's movement of the 70s and 80s that brought with it a tsunami of dramatic cultural and social change. Women not only redefined themselves beyond the restricted and limited role of housewife, but also challenged social mores of sexual discrimination, gaining for themselves legal, economic, educational and social rights and opportunities. As a result of the women's movement, many men in the United States similarly began to question their own experience as men. Discussions from what being a "man" truly meant to men's rights within the court system (with regards to divorce and child custody) became prevalent. Thirty years later, however, and into the 21st century, where are we as men? How have we grown in our understanding of what it is to be a man? Recent research, statistics, books and articles on masculinity would suggest not much, not much at all.
Despite the advances of medicine in the last few decades, according to national statistics, men, particularly men of color, are still dying some five to seven years earlier when compared to the death rate of women. According to researcher, Will H. Courtney, men have higher death rates for all 15 leading causes of death, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, HIV / AIDS and chronic liver disease. Many men believe they are healthier than they really are, and so they engage in high-risk behaviors leading to higher health related problems. Men also generally seek health care less often than women, thus reducing the chances of an early diagnosis of potential health problems. Statistics also reveal that men have higher rates of death by accidents, homicide and suicide.
The high rate of suicide by men, experts believe, is due largely to undiagnosed and untreated depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, some six million men suffer from depression, a number that may even be higher when you take into account those men who may suffer secretly. Underlying male depression is the growing belief that many men who suffer the condition feel pressure to not express themselves for fear of being seen as less than manly. Researchers have come to identify this male experience as "male stress", "gender-related stress", or "masculine stress". The often used warrior maxims, "What does not kill you makes you stronger", "Suck it up, and" Deal with it "are examples of this traditional male exhortation to ignore pain. Supporting this view, Terrance Real writes in his book , I Do not Want to Talk about it, depression carries with it a "double stain" for men, "the stigma of mental illness and also the stigma of 'feminine emotionality'". to seek help, therefore, let alone admit to the need for help, is contrary to the code of masculinity.
Men and Feelings
Men are generally socialized to believe that being a "real man" involves not only being physically strong, but emotionally strong as well. A lesson learned as early as infancy. In a …