By: Natasha Archary
Masculinity. A retro ideal that suggest men shouldn’t feel.
Depicting that what it takes to be a man is for him to always be strong and not show emotions.
There’s a pressure on men to live up to these standards have had adverse effects and whilst some honour this unspoken code, there are many who cave under these unfair demands.
The socio-political and gender stereotypes defined a systemic issue of near universal hierarchical attributes associated with manliness.
In South Africa, a hundred thousand people die from suicide annually, of which twenty thousand are black men.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group receives on average four hundred calls a day, a hundred of these distress cries are men from various age and race groups.
Since the beginning of the year, two South African men in the entertainment industry are said to have died from suicide.
Patrick Shai and although not confirmed, it is alleged that Riky Rick took his own life too.
A misconception that men are emotionally immune, is a complete paradox of conflicting stereotypes. With more men falling into depression annually, is this dated definition of masculinity still what we should prescribe to?
Listen to the conversation on Kaya Drive:
As a man in this world you have two emotional choices.
1. Open up & be a meme.
2. Bottle up & be a memory.
Rest In Power Riky Rick ❤ pic.twitter.com/uEiyJaXtDO
— Emmanuel (@BaeSickGuy) February 23, 2022
Change the narrative
Cultural, traditional, and societal expectations that a man has to be the primary provider is a medieval way of life where feminism is strong.
The question is why do we still subscribe to gender stereotypes when the world is changing?
Patriarchy creates a watered down version of masculinity that does away with an egalitarian view of society and the world. The term denies men their full humanity.
Liberated men are empathic, autonomous and connected. They are involved parents, who raise their children with their partners and are active in their relationships with dual roles assigned to both parties.
But, nowhere is it written in a rulebook that men shouldn’t feel or have their feelings validated.
Masculinity has nothing to do with the treatment of the opposite gender. Sorry ladies, but, if feminism has nothing to do with our male counterparts then so too is masculinity far removed from the female gender.
Instead masculinity is a man’s ability to be present and accountable for his actions, life and decisions. It is nothing more or less than the way a man carries himself. Be it strong or emotional.
A man’s man is not to be misinterpreted to mean a rugged-guy who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. Metrosexual men changed that years ago. While there are men who cannot fathom that the roles can now be reversed, there are those who welcome the paradigm shift.
Open up and become a meme or bottle up and be a memory
Although more men dealing with mental health illness, the stereotypes weigh heavy on those struggling to fight the depression.
Men have two choices:
- Open up and become a meme
- Bottle up and be a memory
When Will Smith questioned Jada about her relationship with August Alsina, and shared that with the world, he became a meme.
Because men are expected to bottle up all their emotions and hold it together, like they don’t have feelings.
Most do not speak about their mental health because they’re afraid they will be ridiculed too.
Feeling like they have no way out, many reach a dark and destructive place, that they often don’t see a way out of.
Suicidal thoughts plague them and many make attempts to end their life.
Also read: Midday Joy – Mental Health check-in