|>>|| No. 29409
Thank you for posting this OP, you've actually articulated something that I've felt myself at times very succinctly. I went through an emotional break-up the year before last, shortly followed by the suicide of one of my best m8s. The break-up itself was in a large part due to my depression and the way my partner at that time was absolutely unable to interface with it in any meaningful or helpful way, even if she thought she was trying.
Throughout that experience I have to admit, I did build up a bit of resentment at the way a man's emotions are often viewed by others, and especially with a lot of today's rhetoric about how men need to open up more, poisonous manliness, and #talkingsaveslives etc.
I think one of the things is a great deal of the time, people simply don't practice what they preach. They talk a big game about being there for anyone to talk to, but they're really relying on nobody taking them up on the offer. The other thing is, most people simply lack the tact to deal with those situations when they find themselves there, and it's not their fault. We're not all therapists. There were two separate girls who thought it would be a good idea to give me the whole "See, that IS toxic masculinity!" thing when I was trying to get my feelings out about losing a close friend (it was within a couple of weeks of that Gillette commercial too). Rightly or wrongly, I thought that was just incredibly insensitive, and simply not the time or place for it.
Overall the impression I've come away with is that this drive to get men to open up more is not so much about getting men to address phlegmatic emotions, as it is to get them to do it in a way which is more socially acceptable in today's more progressive climate. Much like OP, I don't want it to come off like I'm a bitter MRA type, and the fact we find ourselves worried about such accusations is a problem in itself really; and I want to emphasise that I'm sure the people behind this movement have their hearts in the right place. Where I think the problem lies is that it's a one size fits all approach, for something where really it's a very deeply personal and individual issue.
Let's take the #talkingsaveslives thing for example. It's not even a gendered issue in that case so we can avoid thorny potentially controversial opinions. While I think it's true that bottling your problems up is almost universally unhealthy, I think the way people approach and spread this message comes from a very neurotypical perspective, and will only really work on neurotypical people. People's issues can be very deep and complex, and to be honest I don't think anyone who is genuinely suicidal just needs to get it off their chest. There's a much deeper level of understanding and empathy we need to develop as a whole society towards invisible illnesses like depression, and I think lots of people are getting the wrong end of the stick that it's as simple as just talking about it. It's only any good to talk about things if what you're saying actually gets heard, and sinks in, which all too often simply isn't the case.
The few times I've been open and honest about my depression, I'm greeted with dumbfounded blank stares by people completely unable to process how someone who's usually so jovial can be suffering.
Anyway, I've sorted wandered off and forgotten where I was going with it. I also understand that the goal is to create a broader culture of acceptance and understanding that will eventually move things towards what I mentioned. But like I said, I think it's very one size fits all, without acknowledging that perhaps some people need different things. My mate had all the people in the world to talk to, and he wasn't shy of doing so, his problems ran much deeper and we were all powerless to fight them for him, in the face of a society that ostracises and punishes men in his position (the stereotypical "deadbeat dad") for having allowed themselves to get there.
I think part of the male psyche is most definitely ego. Culturally we've become rather ashamed of the concept of bravado and egotism, but I think unless you're a zen master able to absolve yourself of all worldy concerns, a comfortable, proud ego is actually a crucial part of a healthy man's psychological composition. We live in a world where any man can identify as a woman and any woman can identify as a man, and any of the infinite combinations inbetween, and that's a beautiful thing. I'm glad we're becoming more tolerant of those kinds of things. But I think amongst that, we're sort of forgetting a lot of men still identify as men, and they're fine with that, and what they need differs a little bit from what a woman or a trans or a non-binary person might need. We can't just treat everybody as the same uniform grey blob of human shaped matter.
I'll definitely stop now. Sorry to anyone who reads this confused mess.