I wanted to write a small article about a different thing, but... Did you know that June is a Men's Mental Health Month? Seeing how little stuff related to it you see in social media (if any at all) compared to Pride Month, it makes me wonder: "Why?".
Before members of LGBTQ+ community take their pitchforks, that I am not saying that problems raised by them are superficial or anything, I can totally agree, that there are places where biases prevail and where the minorities are, indeed, oppressed one way or the other. This is not about that, but I do want to speak about a certain trend, that I've been seeing. And my hope, that in near future I will not need to preface such discussions with anything like this very paragraph.
Being a man is not easy. Surprisingly sometimes even men do not realize that. Historically, men were (and in most cases still are) raised with stereotypes of "strength", which implies lack of emotion and defiance of physical limitations. It's not only "men don't cry", but also "men don.t get sick or tired". And somehow, when reality hits us, instead of realizing that stereotypes are wrong, we start digging in ourselves trying to find what is wrong with us. We are the fault, not the stereotypes and unrealistic expectations.
This essentially creates a loop, where a lot of men overstress and overwork, and then in order to combat the stress they work even more, and in order to combat overwork, they stress doubly so. Add to it that then women (or other men) start complaining like "Modern men have no compassion" or "Modern men are all about work", and that blows men's minds.
Then we can also add the constant buzzing from [radical] feminists and LGBTQ+ members (and also other men, which are not white, if a man is white) about how men are are privileged and all doors are open for them. And while this may, indeed, be true in some environments, which strive on outdated biases, that's not always the case. In fact, I'd argue that in most cases [white] men "gain power" not because their were privileged, but because they had no other choice but to work themselves to the bone, and their results got them that power.
There's is the catch, though. Do you remember Aladdin? I saw good point about his story: even though he could have wished for removing monarchy or dealing with poverty, he chose to wish for being a prince. And he did that, because he did not know anything better, because he was constantly fighting for survival, and becoming a prince was seen as the only way to get out of the survival mode. As we all know, that wish was not what ultimately made Aladdin happy in the end, but people (and other creatures) around him.
Similar thing happens when an overworked and overstressed man finally gets a breather after achieving some "privileged position": this man has no idea what else to do, besides striving to retain the position. And when he hears any "complains" from others in his environment, he will still go back to the same old patterns of "this is all my fault", and thus - overstress and overwork more.
What changed Aladdin was, essentially people (and other creatures) somehow telling him, that it's ok for him to be himself, that he is not a failure because he is poor or because of something else superficial. It was acceptance and compassion. In fact, Jasmine almost literally walked miles in his shoes: remember, that she did venture out of the castle specifically to see how other people are living. So while, she did not experience all the hardships, she, at least, was willing to learn.
Somehow the concept of not judging someone's "privileges" without living their life got lost in people's minds. The modern "woke" culture is prove of that in itself, at least in instances, when it becomes truly ridiculous. This does not help men with their struggles at all, it only adds to those struggles. Again, not because there are no instances of racism or homophobia or fat shaming or whatever. There are, and I am saying this as a Russian, who lived most of his life in a country, where racism and homophobia are practically in the culture (fat shaming, too, but to much lesser extent, I think). But I am "not a typical Russian", since my mindset was always "you be you, as long as you are not interfering with other people's lives", and when instances of men becoming oppressed increase... It makes me sad.
Luckily, though, it seems like people are starting to wake up slowly. An Asian guy raises a concern about what "anti-racism" is doing to white men, a gay man denying LGBTQ+, a trans-woman realizing, that being man is not as easy, as she thought. Even Rowan Atkinson kind of touches upon the problem in his speech on free speech, although it is on a higher level of abstraction.
But maybe this is just my confirmation bias, since these videos were suggested by YouTube to me, maybe it's not all that bad in reality. Maybe white men oppressing everyone are more common and they all have no mental issues whatsoever, while doing so. I would not know: I have only walked miles in my own shoes, and somehow have survived this far.
If you are a man (or woman or whomever you feel like), and you are struggling with your life - make sure to find someone, anyone, who will be able to accept you for what you are. Even if it's a mental healthcare professional. Even if the one from a hotline. You are not a failure, unless you believe that's the only thing you are. And trust me - you are not.