The more I worked with grieving men in the 1980’s and 90’s the more I became aware of a strong cultural bias against men and anything having to do with emotions/dependency. The grief and trauma gave me a very good view into the hardships that traumatized men faced in not being heard or acknowledged in their emotional pain. It became very clear that a man’s emotional pain was simply taboo in our culture.
Once I started seeing this clearly I began to see the many other areas where men faced hardship and discrimination based on the same unwillingness for anyone to honor their pain or dependency. These ideas came into clear focus once I read Warren Farrell’s landmark book The Myth of Male Power. I saw then that what I had experienced was simply a small part of a much larger picture for men. Farrell labelled this as men’s disposability. In other words, if men were seen as disposable then their pain was seen as unimportant or worse. Farrell explained that every successful culture that has ever existed has found a way to make their men disposable. This was not some nefarious plot, it was geared specifically to insure our survival. Women were protected and men did the protecting no matter how dangerous. Thus we end up now with nearly all war deaths being male, 93% of workplace deaths being male, more of our resources going to women’s health issues and much less going to men’s. All of these things hinge on the same idea that Farrell had brought to light.
To make matters worse I started seeing how men were not only ignored in their pain but in the late 20th century men as a group were blamed for the ills of society. It is fair game to say just about anything negative about men but verboten to say anything close to being negative about all women. It was easy to see the connection of Farrell’s ideas to this sort of double standard but it was also very easy to see that no one else seemed to see this. Very, very few.
Since that time I have been working to bring men’s issues to light. Not just the issues of grief and trauma but all of the other related issues including things like domestic violence, suicide, men’s health, false accusations, and many more. I built a web site called Men Are Good and used it to house some different ideas about men and their plight in our culture. You can find that site here Men Are Good. I also have a youtube channel titled men are good and a google+ page of the same name.
I have been fortunate to have been involved in writing a proposal for a White House Council for Boys and Men with a great group brought together by Warren Farrell. You can see our proposal here.
I was also fortunate to have been the vice-chair of the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health and wrote three reports that surveyed the health status of men in Maryland. One report was on Men’s Health in general in Maryland, another was on Men, Boys, and Suicide and another on Male Victims of Domestic Violence. If you want to see the official version of these files you can find them here. The prior links may be a little easier to read.
I continue to write on the men are good site and also have started submitting articles to A Voice For Men. This AVFM site is growing rapidly and is truly becoming a voice for men.
We have a long path for men to reach a point where they are treated in an equitable manner and with love and respect. In some ways men’s issues reminds me of the way grief was treated back in the 1970’s when I first started working. No one really knew much about it, people blew it off, and the only thing going on was a few folks working to bring awareness. Sounds similar to men’s issues in today’s world. Remember, men are people too.