Men need love, too.

I can understand that I’ll get some reactions like, “Women need love!” or “Women need more love than men!” or “Women suffer much more than men!”

But see, this is the exact mentality we need to obliterate. Because it is so important that people understand just how debilitating and destructive it is for everyone to impose stereotypes on men and riot when they’re imposed on women.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention show that men die by suicide 3 times more often than women, and white males accounted for 7 out of every 10 suicides in 2015 alone. The rate of suicide is highest with middle-aged persons, specifically on white men.

I know these are scary numbers, and suicide is scary to think about. In Florida alone, suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 25-34. 25. That’s such a close number. That’s 7 years from where I am— that’s almost 5 years for the love of my life, and 6 for one of my closest friends and 4 for others and it’s so overwhelming to think how high this statistic is in our state alone. As scary and as hard as suicide is to think about, it’s even harder to admit that we are all the cause. On a systemic level, we, as a society, have contributed to these scary statistics, respectively in regards to men.

Young men and middle-aged men have so much pressure on their shoulders to be what society expects them to be. Masculine. Muscular. Strong. Yet, no one has tried to stop this. No one has said, “We need to acknowledge men as human beings, not by their gender,” like countless people have advocated for women and transgender people. I’m an advocate for women and transgender people as well, but the worst thing is when you find out that some of the people you’re fighting for just don’t care about men’s wellness.

Let me tackle body positivity first. While I couldn’t find any research in regards to the correlation between suicide and body dissatisfaction, I was able to find that men deal with eating disorders. Men have a lifetime prevalence for eating disorders: .3% anorexia, .5% bulimia, and 2% binge eating. Let’s just think about that for a second. Men have a lifetime of eating disorder tendencies that people just don’t talk about because it’s considered a woman’s problem. The idea of men having anything physically or mentally wrong with them has been stigmatized to such a point that people don’t even know that it’s happening.

Men suffer just as much as women do in regards to media exposure effect. They compare and judge themselves, but the difference is that it is socially acceptable for women to be insecure about her body but god forbid a man to feel insecure about his. Men typically strive for a similar body type: lean, toned, and muscular. You know the image I’m talking about, you can picture this “ideal guy”. Men struggle so much to fit into this stereotype of masculine that they would rather starve themselves in silence than to try to talk to someone about it.

We can stop these stigmas and these mentalities. We can stop letting the media affect us so greatly. Don’t be pretty like them be pretty like you needs to be the new norm. Men should feel open and okay without being “ideally masculine”. Men shouldn’t feel the need to hide their mental disorders just because it’s frowned upon by certain people in society. There are people out there who don’t believe in mental health issues. There are people out there who believe women’s suffering is more so than men’s. There are people who call themselves feminists or egalitarians without being an advocate for men’s wellness. And, you just need to know that they are wrong for that.

For any guys who are reading this, I just want you to know that you are loved and you are valid. No matter what your size is, no matter if you’re the macho-est of men or on the feminine side. At the end of the day, these are just labels that were created to put people into categories and to create a divide. So screw everyone who says you need to behave a certain way or look a certain way. You are beautiful and you are amazing.

Sources:

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/research-males-and-eating-disorders

https://afsp.org/about-suicide/state-fact-sheets/#Florida

https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/