As a daughter, a big sister, a little sister and a friend, I felt compelled to write something for International Men’s Day.
Much of this year has been about focusing on women’s issues, and these conversations are important and long overdue. It is right that we as women are angry and calling for change, but while it is a man’s world, this doesn’t always mean our male loved ones have it easier.
Men are more likely to hide a mental health problem.
More likely to hide domestic abuse.
More likely to engage in risk-taking behavior.
More likely to commit violent crimes.
More likely to be incarcerated.
More likely to be homeless.
More likely to die young.
More likely to kill themselves.
Much of the male behavior that harms us women, harms men too.
Author and mental health advocate Matt Haig summed it up well today; “Toxic masculine values poison inwards as well as outwards.”
Often we tell men what they can do to help us – but what can we do to help them?
Today I want to encourage the person reading this, male and female, to think about what you could do to help the men in your life.
A good place to start is to to reach out to your dad, your brothers, your friends, your boyfriend, all the important men in your life. Tell them you love them, and tell them you’re there for them. Tell them they can talk to you.
And then do it again next week, or the week after. And then a month after that.
Be constant and be consistent.
And don’t be afraid of what happens.
Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s hard to see the men in our life breakdown. To see your father cry, is to feel something entirely new. A pain, a fear, an uncertainty like no other. It’s not much easier to watch a brother cry, a boyfriend, a best friend.
It feels different somehow to seeing a woman crying.
We aren’t used to it, we aren’t accustomed to it.
But we, as a society, need to get used to it.
There was more than one suicide per day last year, with men accounting for eight in ten.
We need to get used to men showing emotion, showing fear, showing vulnerability.
We owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to the men in our lives.