/ ARTICLE: Men, Masculinities and Mental Health

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UKC Articles - on 07 Jul 2017
Gerard West bouldering indoors, 4 kbAs a follow up to our recent article on bouldering as therapy for depression, Gerard West writes about the taboo topic of men and mental health, and reveals how climbing helped him to learn to open up to others.

Even after learning that I shouldn't sit silent, it took me almost ten years to be able to open up to my male counterparts and I have climbing to thank for that.



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Robert Durran - on 07 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Really good article. But if I click on Gerard's profile, I get Natalie Berry's!
Martin McKenna - UKC - on 07 Jul 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

That should be fixed
Malcolm Bass - on 07 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article thanks Gerard; really encouraging. Made me think some more about masculinity: I hope that nowadays we are getting to a place where we can each choose for ourselves what behaviours, views and values we think of as "masculine". Or, and perhaps this might be better, just dump the whole concept of masculinity all together and each of us just choose behaviours, views and values that suit us and are good for us and those around us : work in progress....
andy kirkpatrick - on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Have you considered that your problems stemmed from you not being able to fully be a man, or explore your masculinity, that such things are not prized or valued in this world anymore - in fact are seen as being primitive and stigmatised? When men with knives run amock I don't see any female yoga instructors running into rugby tackle them, but why should they, after all, they're not men. Perhaps a crisis of masculine identity lies at the heart of a suicide rate of 16.8 per 100,000 for men compared to 5.2 per 100,000 for women.
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TobyA on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> you not being able to fully be a man, or explore your masculinity, that such things are not prized or valued in this world anymore - in fact are seen as being primitive and stigmatised? When men with knives run amock

I'm pretty certain you have said before that some (all?) Muslim cultures are primitive, particularly in regard to attitudes to women, and that they deserves criticism - stigmatisation - because of it, after all who were those men with knives claiming to be acting in the name of? But then you seem to be suggesting that us men in the west are not able to fully be men. What parts of our masculinity are we not able to explore? There is little social stigma against sleeping around, ending a marriage, alternative sexual relationships etc. in our society. If you want to fight, you can join the military, box, do MMA or (I reckon anyway) go ice or mixed climbing. The aspects of 'masculinity' that are legally and (mainly) socially not acceptable in the modern UK seem to be connected to violence against of women - the misogyny that rightly we criticize the Jihadis and other conservative male Muslims for showing.
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slab_happy on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> When men with knives run amock I don't see any female yoga instructors running into rugby tackle them, but why should they, after all, they're not men.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Potts Or you could Google Norina Bentzel. Just off the top of my head.

To be fair, I don't think either of them are yoga instructors.
1
andy kirkpatrick - on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to slab_happy:

I bet that took quite a lot of googling time to dig up, which is a shame, as you missed my point by a mile (how about Kurdish women fighting ISIS, that's more on the money).
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andy kirkpatrick - on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Calm down cowboy, you sound more crazed and manic than I do, and to what seems to me to be a pretty rational question - no? I think you're confusing biology with belief systems in your response, dragging in old washing, and also dare I say it, a very masculine reaction - to attack. Take a deep breath and try again.
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planetmarshall on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> Calm down cowboy, you sound more crazed and manic than I do...

Takes some doing these days.
1
andy kirkpatrick - on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

Like being an early adopter of Twitter, I was ahead of the curve in terms of 21st-century mania, but with the meds I'm getting better.
Pursued by a bear - on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

That was a very interesting article, thanks for taking the time to write it, being open enough to share it and, I hope, provoking further discussion here.

It's curious how one can share things openly among a wide and varied online community that, perhaps, you wouldn't choose to share with your friends. I did, and I do, but I understand the difficulties. In one of those odd coincidences, there was a terrific article about autism in The Guardian today (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/08/david-mitchell-son-autism-diagnosis-advice?CMP=Share... ) that has had me musing over issues around mental health. Autism is one of those hard to define things, so differently expressed in different sufferers, and with no clear-cut edge so that many of us might read some of the signs and symptoms and think, hang on a minute, that's me...

And as with autism, where the cut-off isn't clear and we all might see a little bit of it in how we behave or once behaved, so too with depression; just where ennui and the blues turn into a depression that needs some form of help isn't a clear demarcation. It's an irregular verb; I'm depressed, you've got the blues, he's just a bit pissed off. It affects each of us differently. Thankfully, attitudes around this seem to be changing; in the workplace, when I was part of it, there was a realisation that on average about 20% of people could be categorised as 'having a disability', as I think it was put, and that a large part of those disabilities would be invisible. You can't tell from looking whether someone has epilepsy, or diabetes, in my case multiple sclerosis or, to get back on topic, mental health issues such as depression, yet someone who suffers from any of those conditions, and more, count as having a disability; and in many cases someone can move into and out of the disability category over time (I know it's a moot point as to whether having once suffered from depression you subsequently can ever be said to have lost the potential for it to strike again, but that's for a different conversation). That's a long-winded way of highlighting how issues around mental health are changing.

And I'm quite open about once having had my own mental health issues with depression and anxiety. I asked for help here, and people very generously offered it; and I have tried to repay that debt when I can if the subject is raised. Exercise helps with depression, that's widely accepted, and I'm glad you found a way to make it help you. Some exercise helped me but, contrasting with your story, one of the things that didn't was climbing. Trad climbing, that is; I've never been a boulderer and not so much of a wall rat either. One episode of utter uselessness comes easily to mind: a sunny May Sunday at White Ghyll in Langdale, thankfully, in retrospect, so busy we ended up on a Severe near the upper end of the crag. I was useless, scared witless on something I could usually solo easily, physically trembling, lacking any co-ordination and, frankly, a danger to myself and my partner. I spent the day casting envious eyes at people who were just walking and wanting to go somewhere, anywhere far away from any rock. Inevitably afterwards I felt more depressed than ever.

I recovered in time, and with the aid of a course of CBT over six months. What I learned doing that gave me the tools to stop myself going back to the dark spot I'd been in. And, afterwards, when sufficient time had passed, I started to open up about it. At work, on here, to friends. And people responded with patience, with amusement when that was what I'd intended, and with understanding. But taking that first sharing step wasn't easy and you have to choose the person or people with whom you do it.

But do share. Depression, anxiety, mental health issues in the wider sense need more people to understand about them and one of the best ways to get people to understand is if someone that's been there tells them about it. And you'll probably find that what you say will be remembered for the right reasons, and it may be that people come back with tales of their own, or to ask for your help.

Like climbing, a lot of mental health is about a good sense of balance and there's no shame in falling off; but with both, it might be a hard landing if you do and you may need someone to help you get up again. Here's to getting back up!

T.
(I realise having written this pretty much as a stream-of-conciousness piece that it might not be clear whether I'm addressing the author or a wider audience. Well I started with the first and then diverged to the second; I hope, neveertheless, it contributes.)
Kristof252 - on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Notice a lot of 'I', 'me' and 'myself's in this dull and unhelpful article - a bit of a self-indulgent character by the sounds of things, which perhaps might explain his lack of success in human relationships. And a distinct inability to take responsibility for ones actions (dismissing laziness and other vices as just symptoms of a 'psychiatric illness') doesn't make you sound like an authority I'd care to listen to about a topic like depression.
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davidalcock - on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Blimey, some stone-age attitudes here. I think I'll just go and undermine my masculinity by cooking supper.
planetmarshall on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to Kristof252:

> Notice a lot of 'I', 'me' and 'myself's in this dull and unhelpful article - a bit of a self-indulgent character by the sounds of things, which perhaps might explain his lack of success in human relationships. And a distinct inability to take responsibility for ones actions (dismissing laziness and other vices as just symptoms of a 'psychiatric illness') doesn't make you sound like an authority I'd care to listen to about a topic like depression.

Notice a distinct lack of empathy in this dull and unhelpful response. A lack of humanity by the sounds of things, so would be surprised by any success in human relationships. Though I would not dismiss such things as evidence of sociopathy, far more likely just to be a generic arsehole.
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Pursued by a bear - on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

Quite. The phrase that went through my mind was 'a vapid comment by a perpetual adolescent' which, though pithy, lacks the wit of your own.

T.
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TobyA on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> I think you're confusing biology with belief systems in your response

I'm not sure. If you think masculinity is biologically determined and not an aspect of culture, where do we see this pure (unrestrained by modern feminism) masculinity? Where are men fully (naturally) men?


3
andy kirkpatrick - on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I seem to spend much of my life playing ping pong with a series of programmed responses...

but, dude, why not make a leap in your thinking: that culture is determined by biological differences in men and women, not the other way round, that what we are right now is the result of 2 million plus years of partnership and pragmatic negotiation between the sexes, and that to ignore that for wishful thinking is very dangerous.

Your definition of masculinity sounds as if it's straight off a gender studies course (are you an academic these days, or do you only hang out with academics?), as it seems to equate masculinity to violence, casual sex and FGM (and oppressing women I guess), which again I need to ask if you need to think about how you yourself view masculinity?



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mysterion on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:
I take your masculinities and raise it to masculinitiesies - that makes me clevererer and correcterer
Post edited at 22:56
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TobyA on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:
It would be simpler if you didn't claim that I said things that I clearly have not - indeed I'm not even sure how culture could determine biological differences in men and women?

Andy, you said to the writer of the piece "you [are] not being able to fully be a man, or explore your masculinity". As far as I'm concerned, I am able to fully be a man, I don't think there are aspects of my masculinity that I still need to explore. That's why I'm asking what aspects of masculinity you feel you are NOT able to explore, what you think is stopping men from fully being men.

Have you done a gender studies course? I haven't, so I'm not sure whether you are building straw persons ;-) or this is really what you heard when you did such a course. I haven't tried to define masculinity, I wrote: "The aspects of 'masculinity' that are legally and (mainly) socially not acceptable in the modern UK seem to be connected to violence against of women" while asking you, as I've done again above, what parts of masculinity you feel you are not able to explore.
Post edited at 23:08
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planetmarshall on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> I seem to spend much of my life playing ping pong with a series of programmed responses...

I get that sometimes when I type in my password. I retype it again, and again, and again. Each time getting more and more irate and insistent that I'm right despite all the evidence to the contrary. Then it turns out that I had Caps Lock on.
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mysterion on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:
> I get that sometimes when I type in my password...I had Caps Lock on.

Now that's a great story
Post edited at 23:28
davidalcock - on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

I've been wondering... what does it mean to you to be 'fully a man'? I'm confused, as the question has never really occurred to me. Are you talking about gender, culture, or some fantasy ideal? My other question is why does it matter?

That aside, thanks Gerard for the article - a well-written and impassioned piece.
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Hugh Mongous - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Are we not men? We are diva!
girlymonkey - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to davidalcock:

I find the idea of gender a really interesting one. As a woman, I could not define what it means to be female. I am just me. I love climbing, mountain biking, I'm a bit of an amateur mechanic, I sew, I crochet, I don't want to have babies... I am just me. None of these things make me feminine or not, they just make me me.
Recently there was a young person coming to an outdoor centre that I was working at who described themselves as gender neutral, and I found this a little sad. To me it said that society is trying to put this young person into a box into which they don't feel that they fit. I wish we could stop trying to define which box someone should fit into, and just accept that they are individuals.
Hugh Mongous - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to girlymonkey:

Yup!
SenzuBean - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to TobyA:
> As far as I'm concerned, I am able to fully be a man, I don't think there are aspects of my masculinity that I still need to explore. That's why I'm asking what aspects of masculinity you feel you are NOT able to explore, what you think is stopping men from fully being men.

There have undoubtedly been changes in society with regards to masculine identity. Perhaps the biggest is that many activities/professions that are associated with masculinity (physical labour things mostly) are increasingly unnecessary in this modern world (the focus is not that you can't do them - but rather that nobody needs you to do them). This can be a huge issue, because for some men, their identity depends on being able to be masculine. If all the jobs open to you are androgenous (through the empowerment of women), and the traditional masculine appearances have been co-opted (e.g. the lumberjack 'look' is now 'ironic') - that makes it a lot harder for some to identify as masculine.
Another part of the problem is that male role models almost all embody this traditional masculine ideal. So from a young age, boys are given an unrealistic standard to aim for - and this should definitely change.
Post edited at 08:16
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marsbar - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

I think you are over simplifying things here.

As for women standing up to terrorism have you seen this picture?

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.ibtimes.co.uk/woolwich-john-wilson-street-machete-ingrid-loyau-47...

Admittedly she didn't attack him while shouting "I'm Millwall" or break her foot kicking him like the guy in Glasgow, but still pretty brave.

However you seem a bit obsessed with this sort of thing recently, I'm not convinced that depression can be cured with a big dose of manly man time, or that it is generally caused by a crisis in male identity.
4
Yanis Nayu - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to girlymonkey:

I feel the same about being a bloke - I don't really feel like it defines me, and I couldn't really define masculinity. It certainly isn't about being an arsehole to women though.
andy kirkpatrick - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to girlymonkey:

I 100% agree that we get too tied up with gender identity these days and my own 'bee in the bonnet' over this comes from seeing the effect on kids (having a boy and girl, seeing what a mess this trend makes of their lives). At the same time, people need to really understand their ancient code and circuitry, especially the young, so they understand why they think and act like each other. A woman climbing El Cap is not a revolutionary act against male oppression, the 'boys club' or the misogynistic patriarchy, it's a revolution in one's self, just as a man beating another man on a jiu jitsu mat is not victorious in his masculinity ('being a man'), but just victorious against his own weakness as a human being.

Homo sapiens have evolved pragmatically, male and female adjusting to each others code and circuitry, and for all but a nanosecond of that evolution the world was violent and dangerous and death by starvation was only a meal away. I don't think we stop to think what it took to get us here, why men dominate and women do not. Our view of the world is brattish and twisted and weaponised. Since the 1960's there has been a revolution in the West in everything: family structures, diet, sex, education, leisure, communication, sexuality and gender, the speed of the change rapid and only getting faster, but in its wake, I see a great deal of wreckage and bewilderment and depression and a growing vacuum of identity and belonging (knowing who you are most of all). Many people are off the map, and so they try to create a raft around them, politicising everything, everything they say or do or think, every post (like this) like a manifesto, everyone a coffee shop Che Gavaras. We fill our Facebook pages and Instagram with a false reality and fill our hours and lives with 'stuff' to convince ourselves we are valid, like how a fat person eats because they are fat. But the more you try and make yourself, find yourself, create your identity, the more you come undone.

It's nice to hear someone who's willing to let go of a little be of identity. We're simple creatures, our thoughts, reactions and responses pretty much hardwired, creatures who have been promoted far, far beyond our low specifications, but if you can be anything - before being a man or women - it's to just be yourself.

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andy kirkpatrick - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to marsbar:

Personally, I find that if I think the person making a point has some intelligence then the point they are making is not of the lowest common denominator, ie women are shit and men are cool. It takes a leap of faith that the person has some viewpoint that is not violently opposed to your own, that needs to be knocked down, that they know a great deal about mental health, suicide, the complex nature of human relationships, history, politics etc. Maybe bringing up two children in the 21st century, seeing how they are affected by these things, and the effect on others gives them some insite that might be valuable. Our job is not to attack but understand unless you just want to be an ideological foot soldier?

My point is that there are biological drivers that separate men from women, mental and physical and chemical, and all too often we are told they are illusionary, a construct of society etc, which is obviously not the case. Allow men and women to grasp who and what they are and they will be happier human's, and not make everything they do an act of repression or revolution.

But.... if you just want to play a game of google searches and the posting links to back up your own base reading of a slightly nuanced question then I apologise.

6
Dauphin on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Interesting. Want to respond longer but no time. It seems to me like a big leap from experiencing mental health issues /illness to ascribing those anxieties to a 'failed masculinity' although that is certainly a popular Zeitgeist. It seems to be me there are clear risks to mental health from being a 'man' or a 'woman' or indeed 'transgender' non of which have anything much to do with 'masculinity'.

Best Wishes.

D
andy kirkpatrick - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

People who are assholes to women are assholes to everyone and such behaviour has nothing to do with masculinity (and the fact you maybe feel the two are connected is perhaps down to how we are all programmed to think about such things).



Yanis Nayu - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

I was referencing something someone else said.
captain paranoia - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> My point is that there are biological drivers that separate men from women, mental and physical and chemical, and all too often we are told they are illusionary, a construct of society etc, which is obviously not the case.

They're not the same in all men, or in all women, though. We _are_ all individuals.

And there is still a strong cultural influence on how both sexes are supposed to behave. e.g. "Boys don't cry" as a very simplistic example. I recognise my social conditioning that, as a man, I should protect women, and that most of the time, that's entirely unnecessary, and that really, I should be watching out for everyone, myself included.

Being a "manly man" is fine if that's what is natural to you. Provided it doesn't make you act like a jerk towards other people. Likewise, if you're a "girly girl".
3
marsbar - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

I've been severely depressed, I've been suicidal and made it back safe. I know and love a lot of other people in the same position.

I'm not convinced it is a gender issue underlying it.

There may be a gender issue getting help, and this is worth looking into. However what you said at the last of your shows I went to made me feel you were stigmatising getting help.

As for the link, I didn't need to extensively google her, that image came immediately to mind and I found it to show you. I'm in awe of her. Standing in front of a man with a machete.

2
Dauphin on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

Stigmatized by whom? Try being around women or having a relationship with a woman where you dont 'man up' whenever they feel its necessary. It more often than not wont last very long. The feminists are f*cking the serial killers and Hip-Hop dons and the young lads are told its important to talk about thier problems...

Men kill themselves more than women and die earlier because XY is demonstrably harder on the organism than YY, men have less chances to f*ck up and get away with it and the risks are far higher. But no one gives a f*ck. Its expected.

Women and Children First / Toxic Masculinity.

D

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Offwidth - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Dauphin:
Why oh why do people feel the need to talk genetics when clearly clueless?
Post edited at 12:18
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David Martin - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to davidalcock:
> I've been wondering... what does it mean to you to be 'fully a man'? I'm confused, as the question has never really occurred to me. Are you talking about gender, culture, or some fantasy ideal? My other question is why does it matter?

I might be able to answer that on his behalf.

Could it be the tendency to label what are considered to be negative traits (aggression, assertiveness, lack of empathy or emotion, physical strength, etc) as "male" traits?

Equally a desire not to discuss personal issues, be they depression or simply feelings, seems to be viewed as bad or in some way emotionally deficient. With that is an increasing expectation for the spilling of emotions (in popular culture in general as well as of men as a group - we after all apparently "no good" at showing our emotions).

There seems to be no cultural cringe in labeling these as male shortcomings that require changing. In fact it has long been acceptable in the media to make these traits the object of ridicule. Whereas to call something "girlie" or to talk about female traits in a negative sense seems rather more taboo.

Not saying I agree entirely with his angle, but I can certainly see the argument there.
Post edited at 12:57
captain paranoia - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Dauphin:

> Stigmatized by whom?

I assume you were replying to someone else.
1
captain paranoia - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Dauphin:

> having a relationship with a woman where you dont 'man up' whenever they feel its necessary. It more often than not wont last very long

Then I would suggest you are not compatible. Find someone who doesn't expect you to 'man up'.
1
David Martin - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

I know jack-sh1t about genetics, but is it not safe to assume men have as little control over their aggression and similar traits (as a result of highly elevated testosterone levels) as women do over their aggression at certain points in their menstrual cycle?

The former is viewed as a massive shortcoming in males but denied any biological imperative or acceptance that some might have huge difficulty in controlling it. The later seems to be excused and in my experience is right up there with the worst of male aggression, moderated only by female relative physical weakness - the episodes of verbal or physical abuse I've received from females in my lifetime, be they family, friends, partners or strangers must number in the hundreds, while I would struggle to think of a dozen times I have received similar from males.

The massive imbalance in male to female prison figures worldwide does seem to point to something in the male genetic makeup that, given every clear thinking person's abject fear of incarceration, may be beyond their control.
1
David Martin - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Then I would suggest you are not compatible. Find someone who doesn't expect you to 'man up'.

Serious question: would you be so blunt to a woman who complained to you about verbal abuse from a partner? Or would the issue be approached rather more sensitively?
Offwidth - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to David Martin:

It's safe to assume there is no such thing as YY. However beyond that assumptions and generalisations are maybe part of the problem. Suicide rates in China are highest amongst women for example. Whatever determines suicide, agression or other aspects of the human condition are bloody difficult to understand and pretty much always a horribly complex mix of genetics, resulting body chemistry and our environments.
1
Kevster - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Who knew the subject had so many strands to it, and varied responses. Too much of it seems to be a social construct than physical biology. Society is too complex to pick apart, the moment it is publicly measured or quantified is the same moment it changes in some way and renders the analysis inaccurate.
Male/female masculine/feminine have always been a continuum. In behaviour, biology and society.
Unfortunately for homo sapiens, we have the cognative ability to be troubled with the intricacies, rather than the summary binary outcome of natural selection.
Having never lusted after the somewhat impossible to acheive 100% "alpha male" status, being on a multidimensional continuum enables comfort and acceptance of social/ sexual & any other status in life.
As long as we are accepting of others places in these dimensions too, and keeping in mind that we dont all occupy the same niche - we are diverse after all.
Last time I checked, diversity is good, monocultures are somewhat dull after a while and have more chance of catastrophic failure than heterogeneous populations.
But in a heterogeneous population there is unequal competition. Which leaves the conclusion that getting hung up on comparing ourselves to others and others to ourselves can only lead to anxiety. Be kind to yourself, and wear sunscreen........ (The last bit was tongue in cheek).

I now have laundry to hang up, lunch to cook and climbing gear to put away after recently conquering a mountain. Life is good.
Have a nice Sunday ya all.
Dauphin on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Which clueless people? I was referring to bill and Ben epidemiology, no one mentioned genetics but yourself.

????

D
1
planetmarshall on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

What was it you were saying about only getting programmed responses, Andy? These days your programmed response seems to be 'I get to have my say and you have to respect it, but I'm allowed to belittle you as much as I like'. I'm afraid you don't get to dictate the rules of the debate. No doubt you have plenty to say on the subject of mental health and depression, but you are not the only authority on the matter. It may be that others' viewpoints are as valid as your own, and whatever insights you have gained by raising two children - you are not the first to have ever done so.
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captain paranoia - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to David Martin:

> Serious question: would you be so blunt to a woman who complained to you about verbal abuse from a partner?

Depending on how that complaint was made, yes, I might. Did you read the rest of the post I responded to? It also suggested that the relationship was already over, rather than being ongoing. My suggestion was for future relationships, and finding a partner whose expectations match yours, since the reality is that it's really very hard to change people.
2
kathrync - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I find the idea of gender a really interesting one. As a woman, I could not define what it means to be female. I am just me. I love climbing, mountain biking, I'm a bit of an amateur mechanic, I sew, I crochet, I don't want to have babies... I am just me. None of these things make me feminine or not, they just make me me.

This rings so many bells! Like you my interests are a mixture of things that are perceived as masculine (climbing/mountaineering, road cycling, writing code), things that are perceived as feminine (knitting, crochet) and things with no particular association (photography, gardening, running). I generally dress in jeans and graphic t-shirts - enjoy rocking a dress when the occasion falls for it, and have also been known to enjoy wearing a sharp shirt with cufflinks. I hate being called feminine, but I have no particular desire to be called masculine either. I feel no particular need to put myself into any box - I am just my own quirky self.

Regarding your comment about the young person who identified themselves as gender neutral - I think it is great that they feel secure enough to be able to say that they don't fit into traditional masculine or feminine roles - but I agree that it is sad that they feel they have to place themselves into another box instead.

To the OP - thanks for your article and good on you for speaking up. I am sorry about the abuse you got here and I hope that it doesn't deter you from continuing to talk about your struggles. I wish some of the people I know with mental health issues could be as open about them as you have been.

1
Lion Bakes on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

It's just part of how we are built; add a dose of testosterone to the social norm and you get a pretty stubborn human who won't talk about the things that affect one's health.

I disagree that that is a social norm or that being stubborn and not talking about things that affect your health is a man or testosterone thing. There's a wide spread of what men do or do not do, as there is amongst women. Some can't wait to tell all and sundry what going on in their head, some are more considered, and others are like a black box. Both men and women.


andy kirkpatrick - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

I'm sorry of that's how it reads, if we were talking face to face it wouldn't, but the fact you take the time to actually write a considered response means that what I said had some value, otherwise it'd be ignored.

My own thing is dead words and dead ideas, the blah blah blah of debate, where the responses could be cut and pasted ten thousand times from somewhere else, any day of the week - the programmed responses. People tell me all the time that my view is not valid as I don't have a degree in X or Y, but my speciality is language. Taking part in this kind of debate is pretty pointless for both of us, but I sometimes do it as - right or wrong - as my viewpoint doesn't seem dead to me, it feels like a question and not a statement. Yes I look like a tool or some right wing nut for going along with everyone else (I am a tool but I'm not what people think I am), but then in living memory, everyone filed into church and made their kids pray before going to bed, so who wants to go along with everyone else?
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davidalcock - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

Sorry Andy, but I'm still not sure where you're coming from. I'll try to write something when I have a keyboard to hand.
andy kirkpatrick - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to davidalcock:

Don't worry, maybe not meaning anything is the point.
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planetmarshall on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> ...the fact you take the time to actually write a considered response means that what I said had some value, otherwise it'd be ignored.

What you say certainly has value Andy. Your expertise is language, mine is science. And in science we must, if we are honest, always start from the position that we could be wrong, and that being wrong is nothing to be afraid of. Knowledge, whether we are right or wrong, is to be valued.

So it would be simply hypocritical for me to ask you to accept the possibility that you could be wrong without doing the same myself.

On the subject of gender identity, I am no expert, but on philosophical matters I take the position of Hume, which is to conclude that the way things are, determined by our biology and our history, is no guide to the way things ought to be. Being happy human beings may involve finding our own identities, unafraid of how that identity fits the traditional gender roles we have created for ourselves. While it may be dangerous for us to proceed in this way surely you, of all people, would not be afraid of a future with a little danger?

As ever, I enjoy your writing, and look forward to your next book.

All the best.
thomasadixon - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> It would be simpler if you didn't claim that I said things that I clearly have not - indeed I'm not even sure how culture could determine biological differences in men and women?

The other way around I imagine. As an example, there's a culture of mum and baby groups, not dad or parent and baby, largely because mums take the leave. That's because they get pregnant, not us, so need to recover. They breastfeed, not us, and so need to be there 24/7, etc. Kids growing up watch the world and girls play with baby dolls to be like mum. Biology causes culture.

> Andy, you said to the writer of the piece "you [are] not being able to fully be a man, or explore your masculinity". As far as I'm concerned, I am able to fully be a man, I don't think there are aspects of my masculinity that I still need to explore. That's why I'm asking what aspects of masculinity you feel you are NOT able to explore, what you think is stopping men from fully being men.

What's being masculine to you? If you feel you can explore yours you must know what it is. The writer seems confused - being masculine means being stoic, and his masculinity is important, but being stoic is bad and you shouldn't do it(?). The acceptable response here is that he's right and it's good that he's talking - do you think that someone writing an article about how hard it was to deal with things stoically would get praised for it?

> Have you done a gender studies course? I haven't, so I'm not sure whether you are building straw persons ;-) or this is really what you heard when you did such a course. I haven't tried to define masculinity, I wrote: "The aspects of 'masculinity' that are legally and (mainly) socially not acceptable in the modern UK seem to be connected to violence against of women" while asking you, as I've done again above, what parts of masculinity you feel you are not able to explore.

You might not be defining it, but you are listing what you consider parts of it when you say some isn't socially acceptable. Why do you think being masculine is related to violence against women? You realise that's a pretty negative view of what masculinity is?
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TobyA on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> The other way around I imagine.

Well of course - that why I asked Andy not to say I had said things that I clearly didn't.

> but you are listing what you consider parts of it when you say some isn't socially acceptable. Why do you think being masculine is related to violence against women? You realise that's a pretty negative view of what masculinity is?

Again I think ideas of masculinity are mostly cultural because they change so radically between cultures and over time, so masculinity is what the majority of people take it to be - buts that completely by the by - this isn't about my ideas, it was Andy who originally suggested to the writer of this piece that his depression could be because "you [are] not being able to fully be a man, or explore your masculinity". I just wanted to know what Andy thinks is stopping him from being a man or exploring his masculinity because we live in a very free society in so many ways, so it seemed an extraordinary claim.

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davidalcock - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> Don't worry, maybe not meaning anything is the point.

Well, here is my little contribution to the debate, point or not...

First, and this is probably why my hackles raised a little yesterday, a very good article on mental health got hijacked by your notion of it being a lack of that male role that could possibly be the cause.... not that you specifically said it was, but it was your suggestion.

I went mad once, and still have to fight against other people's opinion of the fact that I once went mad. When you get everything taken away from you, it gives a certain perspective as to how many people far worse off than yourself have to struggle. I have to carry a diagnosis of manic-depression around my neck, some albatross eh? I need to renew my driving licence every year or so, I cannot get insured for my line of work, etc. In the officialdom of this country it is a life-sentence for many aspects of public and private life. I was a happy owner of my own roughty-toughty rope-access firm, squirting son after son from my fecund loins, supporting the livelihoods of many other people... Me big hunter, bring home bacon, f*ck lots, make baby, ooh ooh ooh, ug ug ug, etc. But one day something snapped. I have no idea why. Cue twenty months of episodes of psychosis following on thick and fast. By the end of it the practical side of my life was wrecked.

Yes, I was a happy 'male', insofar as that means anything. I also loved bringing up my baby boys, always setting two day-times a week to look after them when my partner went back to work. The joys of the effing tellytubbies, making their special lunches - "Mentals da mentals..." They liked quite spicy dal as babies. They cook it for me now. I grew up changing my younger sibs nappies, looking after them in all the aspects. Being a dad came easy, more easy for me than my partner who'd never even held a sprog.

I'm a person. I have a cock and balls, and probably a socially-conditioned male personality. But I do not define myself in terms of a masculine identity. I've never felt the need (neediness?) to do so. These days I'm a single parent to three boys between 15 and 9 in a one bed-roomed flat. They know they can do what they like out in the town so long as they don't irritate people too much or put themselves in ridiculous danger. They are quite capable of taking themselves to the woods, lighting a fire, catching signal crays and having a spot of lunch. I also sew and mend, wash, (iron if I could be arsed to own one), and all the other bits of 'women's work'.

I just absolutely fail to understand where your question about a sense of 'being fully a man' has any impact on the lottery that is mental-health, ie, being slammed by that bolt from Zeus, elf-struck, swallowed by Jonah's whale, etc. This is why I have been asking you what you mean, or what you mean by asking your original question.

All the best, David.
thomasadixon - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> Well of course - that why I asked Andy not to say I had said things that I clearly didn't.

"If you think masculinity is biologically determined and not an aspect of culture, where do we see this pure (unrestrained by modern feminism) masculinity?"

That's what you said...what did you mean?

> Again I think ideas of masculinity are mostly cultural because they change so radically between cultures and over time, so masculinity is what the majority of people take it to be - buts that completely by the by - this isn't about my ideas, it was Andy who originally suggested to the writer of this piece that his depression could be because "you [are] not being able to fully be a man, or explore your masculinity". I just wanted to know what Andy thinks is stopping him from being a man or exploring his masculinity because we live in a very free society in so many ways, so it seemed an extraordinary claim.

It is about your ideas. You said that masculinity can be fully expressed, and so Andy's wrong. You then listed stuff that shows this - and from my pov the things you listed aren't associated with masculinity (ending your marriage!?). Violence against women makes you a prick, not masculine (defending women is masculine, the idea that men don't hit women is too) . One thing we appear to all agree is masculine is being stoic. No one is praised for it, the writer derides us for it, and people are praised for the opposite - that's an example of how society makes it hard to be masculine. Grow up, be brave, and share your feelings the article says. Don't be a man, cause that's bad.
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andy kirkpatrick - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to davidalcock:

Dave this is a subject that is as easily measured and defined as an oil slick, maybe the fact that we try to do so part of the problem, ie that you are 'clinically depressed', or that you have a 'chemical imbalance'. As human beings we like to view ourselves like machines, that we can be fixed up, drugged up, old bad memories replaced by good ones. When a guy runs over his own child pulling out of the drive of his house, becomes suicidal and 'manic depressive' afterwards it's not down to faulty wiring, a chemical imbalance, that person's mind is shattered and always will be shattered. The real living curse is having to stay living for the sake of others (have you ever read the Savage God?).

I don't know if growing up in the house where the last tenant hung himself, but all my life I've been fascinated with mental health, which in the last few years has moved on into why we believe what we believe, which is often in opposition to logic, reality most often subjective not objective.

The human mind was never meant to be under such stress and complexity, was never meant to be running a business or making sure the kids had enough money for lunch and bus fairs or stressing over the latest OS update for their phone. We were built to split bones and eat marrow, be low in nature's pyramid. Two million years seems like a long time, but it's not when you go from sucking bones to the hydron collider. We have been promoted beyond out station, and have evolved coping strategies, two of the best being religion and the other computers, our only escape from it all to return for a moment to that bone sucking life, which we call 'leisure'.

My comment about masculinity (I didn't intend to highjack this, but I probably talk to about 10 people a week on the subject of mental health, a subject - like cancer - people stay clear of), is that you cannot hope to reset your brain if all your coding and data is f*cked up. A man with shell shock cannot be but back in the trenches after a week of R&R. A human being needs to rebuilt themselves from the ground up if they're to ever hope of being 'normal' again, and that begins with understanding who they are = a male ape. To turn your back on being a man, to imagine that masculinity is somehow the problem IS the f*cking problem.

This is a subject that could go on for hundreds of thousands of words and maybe one in a hundred would understand it and actually find it helped them be happier, rather than feel aggrieved and angered at ... what? But like you Dave I've been there, had the police sat in my house asking if they should take me to the hospital, seen everything turn to ashes, feeling like even getting through the next minute was unbearable. But I had that curse - like you - of having to live, but I didn't want to get through by dosing my bone sucking brain to the point it didn't care anymore, finding out everyone around you is taking stuff to get through life, like being put into a coma until time would do its magic (maybe because I'd seen my mum on such drugs growing up), I wanted to find a better way.

And I did, and if that view of reality, the objective view, has somehow made me be seen by almost I know as a right wing crazy (for not playing the game), climbing's own Unabomber (as Grimer put it), then that's great. That's the price you pay for being sane.
TobyA on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> "If you think masculinity is biologically determined and not an aspect of culture, where do we see this pure (unrestrained by modern feminism) masculinity?"

> That's what you said...what did you mean?

That masculinity is not a pure product of our biological sex, it's mainly cultural otherwise ideas of masculinity wouldn't differ so much in time and space. I didn't say that culture creates biological difference which is what was suggested I had.

> It is about your ideas. You said that masculinity can be fully expressed, and so Andy's wrong. You then listed stuff that shows this - and from my pov the things you listed aren't associated with masculinity (ending your marriage!?).

I think masculinity is what people believe it to be. You might think violence against women doesn't makes you masculine but look at the machismo cultures of Central America where violence against women is endemic, or Pashtun culture where control of women and their sexuality is a core of male responsibility. Over the last 40 or so years many strong social expectations and systems of control have broken down in the UK. Short of breaking the law, there isn't that much you're not allowed to do in living your life. That's why I specifically wanted to know what restrictions Andy felt men faced in being masculine.

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Hay - on 10 Jul 2017
I think it is probably quite hard being a person right now.

Men find less holes to dig, fewer things to hit with sticks and nothing really needs strangled to death any more.
Women still need to do all the actual birth stuff but also have to go back to jobs that now exist which can therefore lump expectation and pressure on them.

Facebook is full of friends doing manly things and women being super.

That said it was pretty hard being a person when you froze to death hunting, were shot to bits in Flanders or had to rear children and sell matches.



andy kirkpatrick - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I've not got time to go running around this maze....

But for nearly 2 million years the heavy lifting of human evolution was made by males, due to the fact on average the male of the species has 45-50% more upper body strength and 25-30% greater aerobic capacity (think John McEnroe and Serena Williams or fact no women has yet to break the 4 minute mile). Males are also more stupid and more intelligent than females, meaning one could feed off the other. They also did not have to give birth or look after the children, children who unfortunately too many years to become able fighters or give birth. For almost our entire evolution the protection of the group (be that tribe, clan, family) has been down to men, as they were the most able, 'protection' also meaning the killing of anyone who could be a threat or stealing what others people had. The world has been an incredibly brutal place, dog eat dog etc, as it can be again in the blink of an eye, any natural disaster or riot showing us just how evolved we are not.

The term 'cultural' is misleading as masculinity is as tied to biological evolution as standing upright, or for some sea creature to flop ashore on some ancient mud flat ("we only evolved as there was a culture of hanging around in mud flats back then"). Can you define what you mean by cultural? Where does culture come from?

This has nothing to do with real men or real women (or boy and girls), this is about dangerous gender ideology that twists and ignores the rational world, that says that femininity is also a construct of culture and that by the brutal oppression of such things, sexless toys and sexless dress, genders left blank on birth certificates, we can create little blank humans.

If this is a thread about mental health then maybe my question is ultimately a question about ideologies that make men wish to stand opposed to who and what they are (and that's not wife beaters, murders and rapists as they are led to believe), to actually feel some pride at being a man (f*ck - and white!), and not ashamed like some concentration camp prison guard.

PS I'll be setting up a Dublin-based Fight Club soon (but don't tell anyone).

Now back to work.
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planetmarshall on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:
> ....actually feel some pride at being a man (f*ck - and white!)

Interesting to see you go down that road. Because if it's good to show pride in your masculinity because it's a biologically defined attribute that's been core to the development of human culture over millions of years, then it seems a bit daft to show similar pride in your skin pigmentation ( something that may have only existed in the human genome for as little as 100 generations ).

On the other hand, if 'being white' is a matter of cultural pride in western civilisation and its achievements then fine - but if we can show pride in rebelling against our baser instincts to kill each other and live in caves, then can we not show similar pride in rebelling against traditional gender roles? Because if so, then your whole argument about mental illness being rooted in going against our genetic grain goes out the window. You cannot have it both ways.
Post edited at 15:10
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andy kirkpatrick - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

I feel that you're showing your hand there, that single word is so loaded as to produce a whole paragraph? Is this a binary argument, is this verbal Robot Wars in which we try and dig into why men often feel so shit and worthless? Was its inclusion the opportunity to strike and push me down a hole? Is it a mistake to imagine people can understand that 'white' can take its place in what I had to say, or does that undermine my argument, that I'm suspect for even using it (but not if I included another colour?). That if I was talking about depression amongst Afro Carabineans men and talked about skin pigment ("Young black men are at higher risk of suicide than their white counterparts") would that deserve a paragraph?

The fact you think it does yet again shows your programming.

I mention it in passing as to be a man in many such debates is to be made suspect, to be white even more so, to be old triply so. To be a white boy in the west is to be trash, to be western to feel like a German does about past crimes, told you should be guilty of everything, that you 'lucky' not to be adrift in the Med, and that it's your fault anyway. We rob pride from the youth and fill their heads with Marxist lies, something lacking in any other cultures (I don't see first nations telling their children how they bought rifles and horses and copper kettles with the skins of animals they hunted to extinction then killed and raped and enslaved their neighbours).

This two things, the gender and ethnicity are connected for sure, but only in the mind of those who want to break human beings, to make them feel worthless.
4
TobyA on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> If this is a thread about mental health then maybe my question is ultimately a question about ideologies that make men wish to stand opposed to who and what they are (and that's not wife beaters, murders and rapists as they are led to believe), to actually feel some pride at being a man (f*ck - and white!), and not ashamed like some concentration camp prison guard.

Mate - this is getting really dark, but what about if you're are neither ashamed or proud of being male? What if that is just what you are? This is why I asked back at the very start how you think men are stopped from being men? How is their masculinity being denied? You seem to say that mental illness in men is the result of men not being allowed to be men, and that men need to be proud of being men in order to be mentally healthy. But I think as a relatively privileged white western man I'm not being denied anything. You'll have to excuse the Marxist philosophy, but is this a false consciousness? Has the feminist hegemony tricked me into this and actually I should feel oppressed and perhaps as a result depressed?
3
bouldery bits - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

I'm well proud of being slightly asthmatic and having 2 eyes. I'm also proud of my normal number of toes.
I didn't do anything to earn it - I was born like that.

Let's go round being proud of stuff we've done and not what we just happen to be? eh?
I don't think rocks go round thinking 'I am dead proud to be this rock'.
Goats might be very proud of themselves for being goats but every goat I've met has come across as a bit of a pr*ck so that might be the problem.

Being proud of something you just happen to be. Weird.


Be proud of achievements. Be proud of being part of something. Be proud of the fab people around you. Don't be proud of something that you've just had happen to you as a result of shear dumb luck.
1
aln - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> the opportunity to strike and push me down a hole?

Have you been down that hole too long? A wee hole in an ice field just big enough for a sleeping bag, lots of time to think...

1
andy kirkpatrick - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I don't want to get into a battle over false consciousness, but having spent half my life as a Marxist, I can tell you, for you to ask or insinuate such a thing is both low and revealing (I'm guessing this is your end game?), such words in such debates like this, between intelligent people, is like the police telling the newspapers they found child porn on a computer to make someone untouchable. I've had a few years of being told to shut up, that I'm ignorant, ill-informed or too inarticulate, but the more I try to not think how I'm supposed to think, to break out of how someone from the proletariat is meant to think, the world makes sense - the more I make sense, the less likely my children will be slaves.

It is dark, very dark, can't you see that, don't you see it all around you? We're like the robots from West World, programmed to only see the reality we are given, that is programmed into us, but that is increasingly coming up short, making us ill, leaving us feeling that the world has gone insane and doesn't make sense anymore.

This is really about more than being a man, it's about coming to grips with being a human being in the 21st century, square that and you'll be less crazy than everyone else around you.

Of course, I would say all that, being a member of the proletariat and such.
4
planetmarshall on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> It is dark, very dark, can't you see that, don't you see it all around you?

No, Andy. Because it's dark.
1
TobyA on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

Andy, I was asking you if I was labouring under a false consciousness (you said you take an "objective view" above), not suggesting you were. But lets not use that terminology if it 'triggers' you (yes, oh the irony - from a libtard snowflake such as myself) and just ask: am I being tricked by someone? If I don't think my masculinity is being limited, if I don't worry that I can't fully be a man, am I wrong? That was what you originally said, but in all the following posts you haven't really said how you think we are stopped from "fully be[ing] a man" and how that leads to mental illness.
2
captain paranoia - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> a question about ideologies that make men wish to stand opposed to who and what they are (and that's not wife beaters, murders and rapists as they are led to believe)

What ideologies are we talking about here? I'm all in favour of people being who they are. But the plain fact of the matter is that I'm not simply a "me man, me hunt, me make fire" type (although I'm not a bad shot with bow & arrow and gun on the odd occasion I've used them, and I can make fire...). That was the point of my earlier post; we are not simple, binary manly men or girly girls. We are all different. From birth. Then there are the social influences; nature and nurture.

If I were to try to pretend otherwise, and adopt some unnatural (for me) 'manly man' persona or behaviour, it would probably be bad for my mental health.

> to actually feel some pride at being a man (f*ck - and white!), and not ashamed like some concentration camp prison guard.

I don't feel shame for the actions of other men. Neither do I feel pride for the actions and achievements of other men.

I can only feel pride or shame for my own actions, or things that I am involved with, or have some influence over. Being 'a man' hardly falls into that category; it's just what I am by chance of birth, and really doesn't seem to be anything to be either proud or ashamed of.

[edit] ps. I see TobyA and bouldery bits have pretty much beaten me to it.
Post edited at 23:10
thomasadixon - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> That masculinity is not a pure product of our biological sex, it's mainly cultural otherwise ideas of masculinity wouldn't differ so much in time and space. I didn't say that culture creates biological difference which is what was suggested I had.

I read what he said differently then, as I don't think he said that, and he's made clear what he meant now. Masculinity and femininity are born of the fact that men and women are biologically different. We notice this, we act on it. Girls group and boys group and that's true across humanity. That expresses itself in culture, but it's not just (or mainly) cultural. The idea that women and men are the same is cultural, and seems to deny reality. Equal in value, absolutely, but not we're not equal as in the same, we're different.

> I think masculinity is what people believe it to be.

How can masculinity be whatever you believe it to be and still have any meaning? Or do you mean what the majority of people believe?

> You might think violence against women doesn't makes you masculine but look at the machismo cultures of Central America where violence against women is endemic, or Pashtun culture where control of women and their sexuality is a core of male responsibility.

We're here, not there. You've said above that masculinity means what people think it means, so how does what people do elsewhere inform what masculinity means here? Why do you reach for cultures from far away, why not look at "gentlemanly" behaviour from right here, which says that men should protect women and treat them gently?

> Over the last 40 or so years many strong social expectations and systems of control have broken down in the UK. Short of breaking the law, there isn't that much you're not allowed to do in living your life. That's why I specifically wanted to know what restrictions Andy felt men faced in being masculine.

He's said it himself, but it seems clear that masculine traits are seen as bad in our society, that being masculine is bad. That in itself is a restriction, and it's nothing to do with law. Certainly agree that social expectations have changed, but they've not been replaced with a vacuum, just new control systems.

As an aside...what's all the stuff about AndyK being climbing's unabomber? Anyone fancy explaining? I've clearly missed something there!
davidalcock - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

Yes, I have read the Savage God, many years ago, and more recently when I remembered how good it is. Al Alvarez is a great writer. I don't think mental stuff is purely nature - that over-emphasis is a cop-out in my opinion, both for one's own self and also historical family dynamics and beyond. But I'll save my misery memoir for the day it amuses me to write it.

Still haven't figured out what 'fully being a man' means though... It still sounds rather idealistic to me, like a creation superimposed on a more fluid and subtle reality, yea, even unto the stone age. But that can wait for a day as it's my birthday tomorrow, and I shall be getting man-treats... Night night all.
planetmarshall on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> And I did, and if that view of reality, the objective view, has somehow made me be seen by almost I know as a right wing crazy...

To think that you, perhaps alone, have an objective view of reality is plain delusion, and this is what I mean by first accepting that you might be wrong before entering into any sensible debate. At least assuming that it's your goal to increase your knowledge of the world, and not just score forum points.

You have some valuable insights Andy but they are insights, not facts. You say that to deny our natures is dangerous. More dangerous still is this messianic conviction that your view of the world is any less subjective than those who take a different view, and perhaps a more optimistic one.
planetmarshall on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Why do you reach for cultures from far away, why not look at "gentlemanly" behaviour from right here, which says that men should protect women and treat them gently?

...

> ...it seems clear that masculine traits are seen as bad in our society, that being masculine is bad.

I'm afraid I can't square either of these statements. You say masculine traits are seen as bad, but the only example you've given is a fairly vague definition of 'gentlemanly behaviour'. Can you give some evidence that such behaviour is looked on negatively in our society? Or another example of masculine behaviour seen as 'bad' - that isn't just generally being a bit of an arsehole?
1
thomasadixon - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:
Well again, the article this thread's about. It explains how being stoic is masculine and that being stoic is bad. Everyone cheers the writer.

Your idea that being masculine's generally being a bit of an arsehole might be an example too.
Post edited at 08:51
planetmarshall on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Well again, the article this thread's about. It explains how being stoic is masculine and that being stoic is bad. Everyone cheers the writer.

But that's precisely the opposite view that the OP experienced. He experienced an expectation from society to be 'stoic' in the face of adversity due to being a man. If society had viewed this trait as 'bad', then he would not have experienced those problems. From the article -

I just couldn't face the idea of my masculinity being somehow damaged by showing my weaknesses

> Your idea that being masculine's generally being a bit of an arsehole might be an example too.

That's not what I wrote, you either misunderstood or are deliberately misrepresenting my argument. I asked for examples of masculine behaviour perceived as 'bad' that were not just examples of poor behaviour generally.
thomasadixon - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

> But that's precisely the opposite view that the OP experienced. He experienced an expectation from society to be 'stoic' in the face of adversity due to being a man.

Maybe I'm missing something - can you point to where he feels this expectation as other than internally driven? I can't see that he says he was pressured by anyone to act as he did. He points to counsellors that *he* wouldn't speak to, that society sent to him to fix him.

> If society had viewed this trait as 'bad', then he would not have experienced those problems. From the article -
> I just couldn't face the idea of my masculinity being somehow damaged by showing my weaknesses

That's a personal view, not a societal view. Obviously we're reading it differently - I read it as a personal struggle against his own instincts, not against what others are telling him to do. As above - society tells him to share. When he comes out as having shared society tells him he's done well, it rewards him for following the new way.

> That's not what I wrote, you either misunderstood or are deliberately misrepresenting my argument. I asked for examples of masculine behaviour perceived as 'bad' that were not just examples of poor behaviour generally.

Well you seemed to be linking poor behaviour and being masculine. If I misread apologies.
bouldery bits - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

This thread's well beneath me. I'm so manly it hurts those in my immediate vicinity. I only feel the 2 emotions - lust and hate.

Gonna nip out now and punch some weaklings.
captain paranoia - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

> I'm so manly it hurts those in my immediate vicinity. I only feel the 2 emotions - lust and hate. Gonna nip out now and punch some weaklings.

Thanks for that. I've been wondering what all this 'fully being a man' stuff was actually about.

Now, if you can explain to me who it is that's oppressing us poor enfeebled men, and stopping us from being 'fully men', I'd be much obliged.

<damn: I don't seem to have quite got the hang of this lust and hate business...>
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