Young Men Also Have Real Problems

Young Men Also Have Real Problems

Recently I found an article on the New Statesman website about the writer and psychologist, Jordan Peterson. Now putting aside the grotesquely shoddy nature of the hit piece and the fact that I have only recently become acquainted with Peterson, there was a line that boiled my blood.

“But because he’s writing for sad young white men – and their problems are, you know, real problems, not like anorexia or rape or sexual harassment at work – he’s a public intellectual.”

Let’s break this down for a moment. The writer, Helen Lewis, whose work I have enjoyed in the past is implying in her criticism of Peterson that young, white men don’t have real problems. Apparently, she has to specify white men rather than all men because that would take away the racial aspect of men from minorities being oppressed. I’m sure she would hate to be accused of belittling that struggle.

The idea that young, white men don’t have issues appears to be somewhat prevalent in certain feminist circles. It is blindingly obvious to say that women have serious problems that need to be tackled and that fact I have to state that before I carry on is insane. But for the Helen Lewis to imply that men don’t have serious issues diminishes feminism which is about making the world better for men and women alike. To say that men don’t have real problems is not only false it is idiotic and downright dangerous.

Male Suicide is a real problem

75% of all suicides in the UK are committed by men. It is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 AKA young men. It isn’t cancer or disease or drugs or car accidents that is the biggest killer of young men but by their decision to end their lives. But I guess that fact isn’t a significant problem for Helen Lewis.

Which actually brings me to another headline in the New Statesman this week. “

Men are applauded when they express emotion – women are just told they’re over-sharing.”

I am a huge fan of the New Statesmen and was up until recently a subscriber. However, this week, it has given me two WTF moments. Men are applauded when they express emotion? Really? Please tell me when that happens?

I am 25 years old, therefore in the category of young, white man and I have with few exceptions of close friends felt comfortable expressing emotions and when I have made that choice, I have been told to ‘man up’. In fact, there are several books titled ‘Man up’ that specifically cover the phenomenon of men not being able to express themselves publicly without being told to man up and how that affects their mental health.

In fact, the mental health charity CALM even has a word for this sort of behaviour: Propamanda: Noun/ the catalogue of stereotypes aimed at making you a manly man, proper bloke or a top lad. One of those being that a man shouldn’t express any emotion that isn’t anger or lust. This comes under the topic of toxic masculinity that has been given a lot of column inches in recent months.

Toxic masculinity is a real problem

Toxic masculinity has led to severe issues of male mental health concerns that again leads to 75% of all suicides being committed by men. But yet suicide and mental health concerning young white men does not constitute a real problem, and therefore a clinical psychologist should not spend time trying to help them.

Switching to another issue, Helen Lewis implies that rape is only a female issue and yes out of the close to 100,000 rapes committed per year, 85,000 of those are committed against women. But telling the estimates 12000 men who are raped per year that their experience is not a real problem is grotesque and does nothing to encourage male rape victims of coming forward and smashing that taboo. Well fucking done, New Statesman.

Every group in society has serious issues that need to be faced. Some groups most certainly face more challenges than others. But to belittle the struggles of one group because you believe it helps your own group is grotesque and irresponsible, especially when it hardens taboos against that other group. You may feel that automatically a white man has more privilege in society than another. You may even be correct. But does that mean that every single white man in society never faces hardship or struggle?

Sometimes even the most privileged of groups need people to support them instead of helping another group. It’s the way a society functions.

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