Social Question

Demosthenes's avatar

Do you think society ignores problems facing men and boys?

Asked by Demosthenes (9321points) June 5th, 2019

Such as the over-diagnosis of ADD in young boys, fatherless homes, divorce proceedings that favor the woman, the higher rate of suicide in men, etc.?

How much discussion of these issues do you come across (anywhere—discussion among friends, online, the radio, in the news, in books)? I hear quite a lot about women and women’s issues, but men’s issues I hear less about. I think it’s often assumed that people who care about men’s issues are “MRAs” or “incels” but that is an unfair generalization that just ensures the issues will continue to be ignored.

What do you consider to be valid issues facing men and boys today? What are your proposed solutions for them?

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35 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I thought feminism was addressing all that~

hmmmmmm's avatar

Here we go.
Look, if you’re floating around wondering how things work, you might be tempted to get pulled into to reactionary “mens’ rights group” or some nonsense. You might look at a for-profit healthcare system and dysfunctional education system and see boys getting over-prescribed ADD drugs and think that it’s merely a gender thing. But that requires an extreme disinterest in economics, class, and institutional analysis. It requires a self-victimization that is quite harmless to the institutions that have caused such problems.

If you think that efforts by women to emphasize womens’ issues are in any way opposed to the exact problems you are concerned about, you are intentionally ignoring what their efforts are about.

Issues surrounding gender by definition have an effect on all genders, and they should be liberating for all. Feminists’ efforts are ones that should be liberating to males. And any gender analysis that doesn’t include class is foolish.

I hope you’re not taking liberals’ weaponized vacuous capitalist feminism as representative of gender issues as a whole or feminism. This might get some play in the corporate media, but that’s the point.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I think society is getting better at addressing everyone’s issues.
I also think women have more issues than men. Pregnancy, poverty, single parenthood, domestic violence, sexual assaults. Yes those things affect some men too but the victims are predominantly women.

elbanditoroso's avatar

In general, yes, men have issues that are being ignored or dismissed.

Women have, over the last 30 years (Gloria Steinem days) developed a highly effective publicity and sympathy machine that can crank itself into high gear at the flip of a switch.

Think of how quickly the #METOO movement got its publicity out after the various revelations of illegal and bad behavior by all sorts of men. don’t get me wrong – the women have every right to be pissed off. I am talking about how well prepared their publicity machine was, so that when stuff happened, they were able to immediately get on TV and get sympathetic airtime on radio and on TV and most everywhere else.

So to answer part of your question: Women seem to now control the conversation, and men (and particularly men with issues) have no path to speaking up without being branded as sexist.

All that said, not all men are alike. Harvey Weinstein and Al Franken were both hounded out. Franken wasn’t anywhere near an odious character as Weinstein was. Even decent people (of which I include Franken) are not treated fairly, because of the current societal myopia towards shades of nuance when it comes to men.

Yes, men have other issues (female-on-male rape, pressure to succeed and provide, issues with intimacy and understanding, PTSD), but right now, there is not a constituency that supports men, because men are not seens as sympathetic characters that might need help and societal support.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Things are moving forward for some. Women are now taking more positions in war zones, but it is still mostly men. There are increasing numbers of organizations both military and civilian trying hard to reach vets with ptsd before those individuals become suicidal.

There are 800 numbers that teens in crisis can call for help, but I notice more often the PSAs are efforting to target young men, and problems they may face.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I love, LOVE the #metoo movement. Finally men understand how women actually feel about being cat called.and grabbed. They are NOT the “complements” many men thought they were. It’s nice to have a voice after being ignored and dismissed for so long.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@elbanditoroso GA, that’s basically my assessment as well. I’ll also add that feminism has generally lost its way and that weaponized version that @hmmmmmm mentioned has more or less taken over and is giving young people the wrong idea. For many it’s whatever they want it to be because the leadership and general direction is absent. People use it as an outlet for negative things in addition to positive ones and nobody calls them out on it. Elements of it are starting to look a little cultish because it’s often just a social identity for people and not a social movement. It goes sour when they derive a sense of power and entitlement from it and it’s not simply standing up for what is right anymore. That’s the toxicity growing in that movement and the same for all of the men’s movements that are really nothing much more than a reaction to that toxicity. It’s impossible for those groups not to harbor the same toxicity as a result. If this is not dealt with the damage that can be done to relationships between men and women in society may be profound. Healthy relationships are paramount to a civilized, functioning society. What affects one gender affects the other so issues that affect men need not be swept under the rug.

I also liked what the #metoo movement did. I had not realized the magnitude of how much women did not want to come forward with abuse. That reluctance has allowed the minority of men who are abusers to terrorize women for far too long. This is one area that can lose its way almost instantly if it’s not policed from within though. If people are allowed to use it for less than savory things without much consequence say bye to most of what it has managed to accomplish.

JLeslie's avatar

Since two of my closest dearest moms are boy moms, I’ve heard a lot of opinions on how society makes things difficult it for boys. Things you have named like expecting boys to sit still in school too long, over-diagnosis of ADD, and that they learn differently, or might be slower with language, etc. Plus, TV certainly has covered this topic too.

My dad, who always was for women’s equality when it came to career and pay, also would tell me how it isn’t easy for men. Women want the choice to have careers, but he argued men get no choice. Men have pressures that are ignored. Present day, so this is 40 years later, women have that burden more and more, now that it is more commonplace for people to get married later or not at all. Even when married women often have to work also to support the household, but a lot of men would argue they feel the burden more.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

The ADD thing really pisses me of. IMO it’s a parenting issue not a behavior issue. Hell I could have had my son diagnosed with ADHD but I could not wrap my mind around a kid growing up drugged because I didn’t want to deal with it. It’s abuse IMO.
So we made it through and today he is an amazing young man.

Stache's avatar

Not really. There’s help out there when it’s needed.

I hate to say the first thing that came to mind when I read this question is the people who complain about not having a straight pride month or white history month. My mind went there.

Life is hard for everyone but marginalized groups do have it a bit harder.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ll add, I think men are more likely to be lonely as middle aged adults. Their support system usually is their wife, and that’s their main confidante period. Some men have some close male friends, but many don’t, and not in the way that they can tell all.

When men are depressed or really struggling I think they are less able to get help, because of societal expectations and pressures. Men are more likely to kill themselves than women.

I worked in behavioral health when the unemployment and economy got really bad 10 years ago and we had a lot of male depression cases. You might remember stories of men throwing themselves out of windows during the stock market plunge that put the US into the Great Depression. I think some of those stories were probably true.

Of course, serving in the military puts men at risk for mental health problems too. Women see combat also now, but that doesn’t change that men still do, and in higher numbers than men, and that’s the topic for the Q.

chyna's avatar

My brother taught middle school. One issue that he noticed was the girls would dress in short dresses and low cut tops. They would sit with their legs wide open. Even if the boys were taught at home to respect girls (and most weren’t) this would be an issue for raging hormones on both sides.
I also worked with a very large breasted woman. She normally wore low cut shirts. This one particular day she wore one that stopped just shy of showing her nipples. She was complaining that one of the men in the office was looking at her boobs. Every one was. Heck I even looked! But she didn’t like this particular man. I told her that if she was going to put them out there for all to see, she didn’t get to choose who could look and who couldn’t.
Boys and men have been taught to respect women and to disregard what they are wearing, that revealing clothes does not give them a right to grab, grope or rape. I think they need help when younger in dealing with these issues and in dealing with their raging hormones.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna Aren’t there dress codes at your place of work? I assume the schools have dress codes, and I don’t even understand a middle school girl not knowing to close her legs when she is sitting. I’m not in favor of requiring girls to wear skirts below the knee, but a little modesty and etiquette sounds in order. I am in favor of school uniforms, but that is a different topic.

chyna's avatar

There was no dress code where I worked while in the office. If we had to go out for audits, there was a dress code.
As for the little girls, I don’t know if the just weren’t taught to sit with their legs closed or didn’t care.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Stache You’re making it into a contest between men and women, an “oppression olympics”. Women have it worse, so men’s issues are irrelevant. That wasn’t the point of this question. I’m not saying women don’t have it worse and I’m not saying we should take attention away from women and put it on men. I’m just saying that men’s issues deserve more attention than they get.

There aren’t any issues unique to straight or white people. There are issues unique to men.

Stache's avatar

^That’s not what I said at all.

My first sentence: Not really. There’s help out there when it’s needed.

Do you only want people to agree with you? You should have worded your question differently if that’s the case.

Demosthenes's avatar

No, but I anticipated being misunderstood to suggest that men and women “have it worse” to the same degree which was not what I indicated and it’s irrelevant to what I was asking.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Did EVERY girl in middle school wear revealing clothes and sit with their legs spread open @chyna?

MrGrimm888's avatar

Men certainly have their own issues. We’re supposed to just deal with them though…

KNOWITALL's avatar

(without reading answers)

I don’t hear much about it anywhere except for my male friends and family and coworkers.

From healthcare (no bend over and cough anymore?) to employment, they are a very neglected part of our society. When it comes to family issues, as you mentioned custody or divorce, I think things are getting a little more equal, but still not quite there when they have to literally prove mom’s unfit, which isn’t always easy to do.

I still hear a lot of women playing games with holding the children hostage from dad until he pays child support, etc… It also may not be very popular to say here, but I think older white men are really struggling, too. I know quite a few, not just in my area, being let go from jobs in favor of younger males across many industries.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Look at how this thread went.

Women’s issues acknowledged, the Q is about men, but it has taken a slide sideways and became about women.

Duchess says I love metoo, and everyone is all back on that.
SMH, there are other people on this planet than girls who feel victimized.
Sure, there is lots to be changed for women, but believe it or not, men are people too. And, what is one thing women have touted for generations? Men don’t open up, don’t share, don’t talk about their feelings.
No wonder! Let one try, and some harpie is all about her own troubles, men can fend for themselves. Well, men should be able to have the talking stick sometimes.
So, I can read down through this thread and see why men feel like they don’t count.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Patty_Melt – brilliant comment. Exactly right. If i could give you a hundred lurve, I would.

seawulf575's avatar

I think, overall, society is NOT addressing men’s needs. There is a drive to change men into some sort of neutered beings. It has been going on for decades. Look at how men are portrayed on TV. They are either the extraordinary evil psycho-killer or they are the somewhat lovable but entirely bumbling fool. Neither is entirely accurate and both categorize men into whatever the current flavor of the day is. If a man isn’t gay, doesn’t kow-tow to society or actually thinks for himself, he is deemed to be aggressively masculine. The answers towards men’s issues are geared towards making the man fit some foolish mold.

canidmajor's avatar

I think there is an enormous disparity in how girls and boys have their issues addressed. During the 60s and 70s girl children were being raised by more self-aware moms (yes, it was still mostly moms) to be more evolved and independent women. The little boys were often being raised as they always had, which left them kind of twisting in the winds of change.

When my friends and I all started having kids in our 30s, we all tried to mindfully parent, but it was harder for the boys in school and with their peers because they seemed to face a much wider range of behaviors that were accepted or mocked, the confusion outside a small social group seemed to be exacerbated.

The traditional roles of dominant males and submissive females are no longer viable, but the prevalence of males still believing that they should be dominant, due to early familial and social conditioning, causes a greater imbalance and confusion.

As a society, we are far behind where we should be addressing these things, as I think it took us too long to recognize the dichotomy. I really have nothing constructive to offer as to a solution, I haven’t studies social dynamics enough to help, I can only hope that balance can be achieved.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Well, I had a brilliant answer here, but the ER finished with me and discharged me. Of course, when I turned my phone back on, it was all gone, but when doctors finish, you git while the gitten’s good.

So, @canidmajor, friend, you mention balance.
That is a thought many people get caught up on. That is why there are still so many places in this country that can’t blend Italian, Chinese, Greeks, Poles into a single happy community.
Everybody says why can’t “they” be more like us.
There is more than one them. There are many thems.
There are not Christians and atheists. There are Jews and Muslim, and kool-aid clubs, and, well I have other lists coming up.
There are not men and women, there are male, female, born female identifies as male, and that list goes on longer too.
Black people might think that they are the only ones who have, “there goes the neighborhood” said about them, but farmers say it about cityfolk when they escape to the country, and Asians about…, oh I do have a lot of lists going on here.

My point is, we can’t achieve balance, because there are so very many points of division, and even each point of division has many subdivisions.
I wish @dxs were here to help me, because I’m awful at math, and I’m trying to discuss what I think might be infinite division.

The only ONLY way to heal ourselves, is to realize that all of us are a complex collection of living cells, and even if I don’t like you, or what you are, or what you say… I must not allow my feelings to cloud my understanding that you are human (even if some of us are not democrats). Humans should not hate and harm because of differences. That doesn’t mean I should invite people I don’t like to my home, only that I shouldn’t harm them or prevent their “pursuit of happiness”.
I think I said it better the first time.

Stache's avatar

@Demo My response was not irrelevant to your original question. If you wanted different answers or people to only agree then your last paragraph in your details should have been your question. Your mistake is not my fault.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I don’t quite agree with you, @Stache, but if you fall into a grouping you feel is well supported and aided, then I am very pleased for you and your good fortune.
I mean that sincerely.

canidmajor's avatar

@Patty_Melt, my mention of “balance” referred solely to the the raising of the children’s how the female children were being raised differently to accommodate for the changing times, while the male children were not.
I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I understood you fine. And that was my very point.
It is never two groups facing changes and adjustment. That is the problem at its core. Those who attempt to balance two groups, socially, fail to realize the are dealing with far more subtleties than simply two groups. That is where we fail. We need to approach changes with increased awareness and understanding that we are not educating girls and slacking with boys.
We are addressing young people who are trying to understand if they are wearing a wrong gendered body. We have boys who would like to be stay at home dads someday. There are more “types” to address than simply boys, and girls.
There are wealthy boys, wealthy girls. It is just not as simple as, did we help the boys enough? Because that very question means, no. Nobody was helped enough.

canidmajor's avatar

No, you didn’t understand if you miss the point that being aware of the changing times and attitudes, while raising children, is important for all of them, and leaving one group behind (and refusing to acknowledge that there are differences is just hopelessly naïve) will damage the social structure.
We seem to be talking across each other, @Patty_Melt, so I leave you to it, not explaining my post again.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Stache I think it’s pretty clear that I don’t just want people to agree with me. Excuse me for actually asking questions on this half-dead site. What have you contributed aside from attacking anyone who’s to the right of Mao?

My issue was not with your disagreement that men’s issues are ignored. My issue was with your statement about marginalized groups having it harder, something I don’t even disagree with, but I don’t see as relevant (as well as your likening this to “straight pride”, which is a farce that as a gay man, I obviously think is bullshit).

MrGrimm888's avatar

I agree. I didn’t think of the thread’s subject matter, as something like “strait pride.” I am on the same page, that I think such a thing is indeed mocking the gay pride thing. And I didn’t think being concerned about more basic male needs was such a radical idea.
I don’t see the male issues, as a gender being “left behind.”
Maybe our society could make some improvements in letting males know (at an earlier age,) that they don’t have to just bottle up problems, and emotion, and march on… I think in many cases, that way of raising males has become less necessary. And maybe teaching them how to deal with things like pent up rage, could result in less violent outbursts, and better coping skills.
As Patty mentioned, there are a lot of newer issues that society is learning to accept/understand. That’s great, but we need to learn how to nurture these better, and probably get better, in regards to things like gender identity, and helping people learn to not feel isolated as just a male, who needs to not mention some of these isues and just soldier on…

This really goes for how society deals with both genders, and the myriad of more previously taboo issues that we can help them with…

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