Via the SAFER Blog:
I’ve often found myself trying to explain to people that rape culture and patriarchy aren’t just bad for women. If you draw attention to a form of violence that is primarily aimed at women by men, and a form of social oppression that is intended to provide men with dominance over women, a lot of people will think you must be hostile to men, or want to take something away from men. Nothing could be further from the truth. Patriarchy and rape culture are clearly more harmful to women, but they also cause men great harm, and I engage in anti-violence work to help men as much as I do to help women or anyone else. Here’s why:
The patriarchal “ideal” of male toughness and invulnerability creates the following problems for men:
- Men are often expected to endure hazardous conditions, with the attitude that any expression of fear is a sign of weakness. This means that men are likely to find themselves in dangerous jobs, or in risky physical conflicts ranging from fist fights to actual combat.
- Men are often afraid to admit emotional weakness, making them less likely to seek help for depression and other mental health issues, or to be accurately diagnosed, which increases their suffering with these conditions. Perhaps as a result, men are more likely to commit suicide than women.
- Men are less likely to seek medical help when they have a physical problem, leading to unnecessary suffering and, at times, death.
- Men are more likely to attempt to “prove” their toughness with risky acts that sometimes lead to injury and death.
- Instead of emotionally engaging the pain they feel due to racism, poverty, and colonization, many men feel compelled to show “toughness.” This prevents effective resistance movements.
- Violence aimed at boys is likely to be minimized or dismissed by adults, leading to increased acceptance of bullying.
- The belief that it is more masculine and therefore better to be entirely independent and invulnerable (never disabled, never sick, never vulnerable) leads to a collective failure to provide social services such as health care, unemployment insurance, welfare benefits, and other benefits that help everyone, including men and boys.
- Social services believed to serve only women (as if women somehow exist in a vacuum) are often targeted most vigorously by those adhering to a belief in the ideal of atomized, independent men as the core of a healthy society. The cultural belief that men are independent, and that their lives are not linked to women’s, allows many men to remain apathetic in the face of these policies, which harm them immensely.
Read more here.