MALE DISPOSABILITY – The Military Suicide Epidemic Is Not Just a Military Issue

Commenter dungone made a string of comments so thought-provoking on the MALE DISPOSABILITY – The Suicide Epidemic in the Army thread that I thought I would just post them with some comments of my own for your reactions and comments.

Remember that dungone has first hand experience of everything he is talking about here. He is an Iraq veteran, he has been involved and stayed involved in the military suicide crisis, and he knows what he is talking about.

It’s pretty simple. One year in combat is ten years in civilian life. That’s the rule of thumb we had in my platoon for how much fucked up shit would happen to you during that time. If you increase the usual causes, then you increase suicide. It’s not much of a puzzle as to why. But solving it is the intractable part. When these generals are saying its a tough problem, it’s because they are staring at every single thing that is wrong with the way in which our society treats men. The military can’t hope to solve that issue. And the only other solution is to disband and to throw it all back at society in general to unfuck the status quo. 

It has become more and more convenient and more and more common after the all-volunteer force replaced the draft Army to see the military and national security as just another service government provides to the public. It is a consumerist rather than a citizenship model, and this is a consumer society.

The effect is a classist and sexist objectification of military members as expendable and disposable.

Gingko, in some of your links there is a general quoted as saying in 37 years he hasn’t faced a bigger enemy. Is that a different man from the one on NPR? He also says, further in that quote, that he views the problem as not only facing the military, but thousands of civilians as well. I liked that he said this. I don’t like that this is so often painted as a military issue. And I say that as a veteran who dealt with several suicides in my own platoon. Because people seem to have a way of ‘othering’ military suicide as something that is caused by mysterious reasons that would have never existed outside of the military.
Do you believe for a minute that if, let’s say, women in prison were committing suicide, that this would be considered just a prison issue and not a broader women’s issue? This happens all the time for male suicide, though. It’s a result of a lot of special pleading that make men’s issues invisible in our society. It’s really important to tie military suicide with the rest of male suicide, as the underlying causes are often the same. You can’t fix one without fixing the other. Really, that’s just the truth of the matter.

I responded:
Society needs to unfuck the way it treats men and it needs to rethink its relationship with its military. The relationship now is based on a consumerist model – “Well, they get paid for that, don’t they?” (Oh fuck you and your money. You wouldn’t have a dime of it if it weren’t for the world order these men provide you, so just shut up now and slither off.) – rather than a citizenship model.

Ginkgo, even before it became a volunteer military, our culture wasn’t treating the military as a citizenship role. It was treating it as a male chivalric duty to women. Military veterans were often denied the right to vote (whether through age, property ownership, race, immigration status, or any number of factors). Military service did not earn you a higher citizenship status such as it does in, say, Germany or in ancient Sparta or Athens. If you look at recruitment posters from a few generations ago, they often depicted some form of appeal to femininity, with Lady Liberty either being triumphant or getting raped by the enemy. Then you had the White Feathers. If you look at recruitment posters from the Korea and Vietnam era, it was about making “real men”. In fact, the USMC seems to have used variations of the “making men out of boys” meme as its main recruitment strategy for at least 50 years now. The early ones were pretty blatantly clear, while the new ones often focus on some mythical chivalric theme such as slaying a dragon. The message is pretty clear – society would like men to believe that it’s doing them a favor by allowing them to join the military, because otherwise they’d be some sort of worthless subhuman man-children.

“Ginkgo, even before it became a volunteer military, our culture wasn’t treating the military as a citizenship role.”

This is historically absolutely true. Black men could serve in the military and risk their lives – for instance the charge up San Jaun Hill we all know from the picture would never have succeeded without the support of the all-black unit somehow left out of the picture – but that hardly meant that their right to vote was going to be respected back in Mississippi or Georgia.

So, he’s right, it goes deeper than just a decay of citizenship. It goes to treating men as obligated to sacrifice their lives and themselves and their happiness for the sake of society in a way it refuses to ask of women. It goes to the objectification of men – certain men – as nothing but tools to be used for the sake of women and then discarded.

There is a purpose, even if people are unconscious of their purpose, to ghettoizing the suicide epidemic in the military and among veterans as a purely military problem. That purpose is to wall it off from the rest of society. Such a small percentage of the public have ever served in the military, or even know anyone in the military, that it is just natural to “other” these people, and then to ignore the problem. Problem solved. Purpose accomplished.

This is a way of denying that this epidemic of suicide is distinct and separate from the problem of the grossly lopsided suicide rate among men. Divide and conquer, and soon you get ever smaller bits that are so much easier to ignore. But the military suicide rate is a men’s issue. It is an issue for all men and for anyone else who loves them.

“It was treating it as a male chivalric duty to women.”

“Then you had the White Feathers.”

This the life and death equivalent of rape culture. We have a culture in which women feel entitled to enjoy peace and security at the expense of men’s lives, and that these men’s lives and the sacrifice of them is their due.

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  • craichead

    The male suicide rate has been 400% that of women for decades and there’s not a penny’s worth of research money to look at why.

    Even among psychologists I see a horrible dismissal of this as a serious men’s issue. Even to a psych professional if you bring up that statistic their first response is typically “well women attempt it much more often.” Which is true, but at the same time it’s like dismissing a form of cancer that one gender has a 400% higher mortality rate for because the other gender gets it more often but has a 90% survival rate.

    Then when asked why they think men have a 400% higher suicide rate than women, the response is almost always either “because they use guns,” and then when you point out that western societies that have very few guns have exactly the same rate, they then just say “well it’s the methods they use.”

    But now if you catch one of these folks and ask questions generally about suicide without reference to gender their assessment is completely different. That is if you plainly asked them what the difference is between someone who succeeds in killing themselves and someone who just attempts, they have a lot more to say. They’ll point out that success typically stems from determination to die, and the use of a gun or a jump is so they know they’ll be successful. Likewise, with those who simply attempt, they just don’t want to die as badly. It may be a cry for help, it may be a borderline using a suicide attempt to manipulate and control.

    I recommend this as a little experiment to anyone interested. Use it on regular folks, but especially try it if you have any psych professional friends you know. Start out by asking them general questions about suicide and then ask the gendered questions. Guaranteed they’ll display the above thought process nearly 100% of the time.

  • Clarence

    Here is the ultimate in male disposibility: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/25/opinion/men-who-needs-them.html

    From the NYGODDAMNTIMES, natch.

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com Stoner With a Boner

    Clarence,

    that article is disturbing….

    It says he is the director of the Idaho Innocence Project…..

    I thought the Innocence Project had cleared many men of rape when DNA testing became available….

    —–

    on another note, how come Mr. Manboobz doesn’t talk about how men are “easily replaced” but talks about “artificial wombs” as the most misogynistic things ever? Doesn’t he claim to be for equality?

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com Stoner With a Boner

    from the article…

    ” Think about your own history. Your life as an egg actually started in your mother’s developing ovary, before she was born; you were wrapped in your mother’s fetal body as it developed within your grandmother. ”

    interestingly enough, my grandma on my mother’s side is my favorite woman ever. I don’t like my mother at all and even as a child, I couldn’t stand her. Not too different between the relationship of Stewie Griffin and Lois…

  • RocketFrog

    Perhaps predictably, the comments of that article are a depressing read.

    There are a few inaccuracies in the biology of the article. First of all, mammary glands are not only functional in the female – at least not in humans (some mammal males have lost them altogether, such as rats). Some fathers in developing countries have successfully breastfed children when their children’s mothers died (although it is unclear whether these men had pathological conditions causing them to lactate – starvation and various hormonal disorders can cause lactation in men). Second, while it is correct that the packet of DNA delivered by a sperm cell accounts for only a tiny fraction of the mass of a zygote, it accounts for fully half of the chromosomes in it. Since human beings are diploid (to my knowledge, all placental mammals are), this means that if we took men completely out of the reproductive equation, genetic diversity would stagnate (it could be preserved if humans were polyploid, like certain other species are – such as the all-female whiptail lizards – but we are not). A species with low genetic diversity (which humans already have) is more vulnerable to disease than a species with high genetic diversity.

    So, although some people seem to be happy to contemplate a world without men (which I myself, in my darker moments, think would be a great idea), there is still a considerable way to go before it is technically possible.

  • RocketFrog

    I wonder, by the way, what the purpose of this particular kind of article is.

    Journalism typically produces two kinds of article – articles that are intended to inform and articles that are intended to persuade (and frequently, a single article will have both purposes at the same time). Articles of both types, however, are written with an agenda (which ranges from increasing scientific awareness to pushing an explicitly political viewpoint).

    If written primarily to inform, then I wonder what the agenda might be behind writing an article that tells us that 49% of the human species is useless (which, as mentioned above, is not strictly correct – at least from my understanding of biology, which is admittedly probably not as deep as that of the biology professor who wrote the article, given that I have no formal education in biology). The non-biological parts of the article seem to indicate that his purpose is to deflate what he seems to view as an overinflated sense of self-importance in men. Unfortunately, this is likely to not have the desired outcome – most of the men who are likely to take the message of their uselessness to heart are not likely to have an overinflated sense of self-importance anyway, whereas men who do have an overinflated sense of self-importance are likely to ignore the article or get defensive over it.

    If primarily written to persuade … well, that is a chilling thought.

    (I ought to avoid such articles. Ugly thoughts are reaching for the controls right now. I will try to remain calm.)

  • Clarence

    Sorry, Rocketfrog, my intention was not to upset you.
    This just seemed the perfect thread to put that in; I forgot you were in it as I’ve been popping around the net today. I know how hurt you’ve been by misandry, creep shaming and the like and it was not my intent to cause you more pain.

    As for me, I think the article is utter trash. I mean if we must give reasons – as opposed to the self-evidentary moral one of not condoning genocide or hatred against half the people on the planet – I suppose I could give two.
    A. If men were as misogynistic as this author claims we could simply round up the females and exterminate them once artificial wombs are perfected. It’s true you can’t produce an egg from a sperm cell, but you can produce an egg via cloning and cell differentiation techniques. So women’s eggs aren’t as irreplaceable as one might like to think.

    But seriously, Rocketfrog in all your exposure to male hatred of women have you ever found a man who called for the extermination of them when it became practical or wanted r/l “stepford wives” without personalities? Maybe a few serial killers, I’m unaware of any such people on the internet, not even MikeeUSA or Arpargus want to actually hurt females. And it’s true 99 percent plus of females don’t want a bad fate for us. But a few men, and a few feminists (mostly lesbian it seems) think the world would be a better place if we were never in it.

    More fools, they.
    B. The “Y” chromosome seems to be the one driving most human evolution. Not all, of course , but most. I wonder what kind of genetic bottlenecks might crop up in an all female society without any “Y” bearers.

    But this is giving that hate filled article more credit than it deserves. I refuse to view any human type as being less than human or being “useless”.

  • RocketFrog

    Clarence,

    Please – do not worry if I get upset over an article. I could see the title from the URL, so I knew what I was getting into. No need to apologize.

    (also, I would hate it for people to stifle what they want to share here on account of me.)

  • RocketFrog

    Clarence, continued:

    I have met men – although only on the Internet – who found a “Stepford Wives” / sexbot scenario appealing, although none who openly advocate the genocide of all women. Most women I have known who advocated male gendercide did not subscribe to a plan involving mass murder of men, instead preferring a “birth boycott” model of either aborting male embryos or using cloning or artificial insemination to ensure that only female embryos are even produced.

    Mary Daly and Valerie Solanas advocated outright murder of men, but I have never communicated with either personally. For a while I followed The Femitheist’s blog (and she advocated forced castration of all males, with a death sentence for those who attempt to evade castration), but again, I did not know her personally (and never commented on her blog – which has been removed by Blogspot, perhaps for offensive content).

    The Y chromosome itself is not really “driving evolution”, it changes so little between generations (due to its self-repair mechanisms, and the fact that defects in it almost always cause infertility if the self-repair mechanisms cannot fix them) that it is very likely that yours is a gene-for-gene exact duplicate of your paternal great-grandfather’s (the almost unchanging nature of the Y chromosome has been used to study prehistoric migration patterns exactly because changes in it are such rare events). Most of the genes on it deal with male-specific things, such as sperm production (meaning that it would be entirely useless in a female-only species), but remember that it is only *one* of the 23 chromosomes humans inherit from our fathers. Furthermore, only mammals even *have* Y chromosomes: Birds have a ZW=female, ZZ=male scheme (essentially the opposite of the mammalian sex chromosome scheme), and most reptiles do not have sex chromosomes at all: Their sex is determined by the temperature inside the egg during a particular (species-specific) phase of embryonic development. If the Y chromosome drove evolution, mammals would be evolving much faster than birds and reptiles, which is definitely not the case.

    It is possible to artificially create fatherless mammals by combining chromosomes from two females: This has been done to produce fatherless mice (although they have an *EXTREMELY* low survival rate). Unfortunately, in most mammals, there are genetic “tags” on paternal and maternal chromosomes that more or less ensure self-destruction if both are not present, which means that either these genes must be artificially inserted on the chromosomes of one mother (which there is currently no reliable way to do), or *her father’s chromosomal contribution to her* must be the one used to produce offspring. The latter would be an almost-accurate artificial emulation of sexual reproduction, except only daughters would be born – but the problem is that since no more boys are born, no more variations of paternal chromosome sequences ever arise, leading to genetic stagnation.

    In polyploid species (such as certain reptiles), this is not an issue simply because all individuals have more than two chromosome sequences, allowing them to use a process which essentially uses different sequences from themselves to make asexually produced non-clone offspring. This is how the whiptail lizard can survive with no males – but it only works because it is polyploid; the process is impossible for diploid animals (such as humans, and to my knowledge, all other placental mammals).

    In my darker times, I view women as fully human and men as subhumans, or possibly deformed humans.

    PS: By the way, I have known one feminist who, by her own description, “did not believe in genes”. She thought that genetics – particularly the existence of sex-determining chromosomes – was a patriarchal fiction meant to reinforce gender essentialism.

  • robo

    It’s disturbing, sometimes, what people will be able to convince themselves of if it fits their worldview. I can’t beleive that there is actually a discussion over whether men are neccessary or not. can you even imagine the media saying that kind of thing about women? ever?

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com Stoner With a Boner
  • Dungone

    Thanks for this great post Gingko. My reasoning in those comments is that men have to drastically alter the strategies and framing of the issues they face before anyone will ever take it seriously. Military suicide is not the only issue facing men that “doesn’t count” to the public as a men’s issue. We have prison rape as not a male rape issue, male birth control as really a women’s issue, etc.

    So I just want to stress the fact that there is no such thing as a military suicide issue per se. Consider how the military is looking into black women’s culture for potential solutions to what is predominantly white male suicide, for example. http://www.nationaljournal.com/thenextamerica/culture/black-women-key-to-easing-military-suicides–20120612. It would never be the case that regular civilian black women could teach us how to prevent white male military suicide if this was truly just a “military” issue. Of warfighting alone was to blame, then no civilian cultural remedies would ever be able to fix that.

  • Clarence

    RF: Back to our conversation tomorrow.
    This just in: http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/11254/20120802/life-longevity-men-women-gender-dna-mothers-curse.htm

    I do think this explains most of the male/female life discrepency, though not all of it. Unfortunately, this will just give TPTB more reason to ignore more male problems. It’s biology!… As if they needed any more excuses.

  • Dungone

    @Clarence: that sounds like utter bullshit.

  • Dungone

    @Clarence: that article sounds like utter bullshit. Their study says, basically, that mitochondrial DNA from other species is more poisonous to males than females. And did they just inject vast amounts of mitochondrial DNA into regular cellular regions? If the genders were swapped here, we would probably be reading about how men are “simpler” while women are “sophisticated” and require a “more evolved” set of DNA to develop correctly, or something like that.

    Anyway, mitochondria as well as any other female DNA can only be passed down during a females fertile age, meaning that 100% of all genetic material that allows both men and women to live past a woman’s fertile years are passed down by older men, or else they’re useless to the species. And there plenty of non-hokey science that says a lot of this has to do with telomeres, and that female biology does not allow the lengthening of telomeres in her offspring as she ages, but male biology allows for this.

  • Dungone

    The bottom line is that in all species that use sexual reproduction as we know it, the science on hand says that females can’t live long without good genes from the males, and good genes from the males require long lived males. This fruit fly experiment failed in a MAJOR way by not accounting for the fact that they only studied 1 single generation of a very short lived species and them talking about males selectively becoming extinct. So much of this junk sounds like a rehash of the “broken male” meme that seems to be predominant among some groups of academics.

  • Clarence

    Dungone:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120802141507.htm
    Please at least try to read the study before you criticize it. I probably should have given you THIS link instead of the one I provided, because the press can’t be trusted to report on science accurately. The authors of this study are claiming a ‘major breakthrough’ and their scientific reputations are on the line, they deserve to be criticized based on methodology and science and not on sensationalism.

  • Dungone

    Why should I read the study before I criticize horrible science journalism? Also, the link you gave just linked to the abstract, which was not informative. Aren’t you the one who usually feeds me this bullshit about needing the page number and isbn of every book, ever? At any rate, you are dismissing my criticism without actually responding to any of it, so fuck that. So, the, could you please tell me what page in the study the major breakthrough occurs in, because I don’t see it? Same request you’ve made of me before? What’s it have to do with male/military suicide, anyway?

  • Dungone

    Shit, that science daily article is even worse than the original because it goes straight for the applicability to octogenarian humans who haven’t had offspring in 50 years based on some fruit flies that live a little over a week at best. What possible breakthrough could this idiocy give? Humans live far longer than their natural lifespan would allow for, especially female humans who are incredibly vulnerable during pregnancy and “in nature” don’t survive very long past that on average.

  • Dungone

    Modern humans are like pet squirrels, who happen to live for years and years after their wild counterparts would have perished. The fact that anyone is still trying to dig up “evidence” to find biological causes for women’s longer life expectancy is enough to dismiss their whole endeavor right out of the gate. Especially when we have real pressing issues such as male suicide, which is what is one of the actual reasons why male life expectancy is lower than women’s. So here we have some junk journalism that approaches the topic by ignoring the most pressing evidence (including the male role in developing long telomeres, male suicide, male work accidents, male lack of social safety nets, male lack of medical research) and making a sweeping statement about FRUIT FLIES to try to justify something that had absolutely nothing to do with why female humans outlive male humans within our society.

  • Clarence

    Dungone:
    This clearly hit a nerve.
    Female humans outlive male humans in every society we have ever been aware of. In nature females usually outlive males, and last I heard, fruit flies don’t have societies. I should also point out that lower life span for males is predicted by some aspects of evolutionary theory based on the sperm and egg model.
    You may not find those questions interesting, but I do. You also clearly have your preferred answer already prepared. You ask why I didn’t respond to your criticisms, well, there are two easy answers:
    1. A lot of what you are saying doesn’t have anything to do with the topic. If there seems to be more mutations in male mitochondrial DNA of fruitflies than in female fruitflies than you may argue that the evidence is falsified, that fruitflies have nothing to do with humans, or that the fact of more mutations doesn’t mean what they think it does. In short, you are free to argue the science and the methodology, heck, you are even free to assert they made the whole thing up. I suggest you might want to look into fruitflies since these short-lived creatures have been a mainstay of genetic experimentation for ages, this isn’t just some creature they chose to use to illustrate a particular point.
    2. There is zero, none, nada reason to suspect that males and females would have exactly the same lifespan on average given any theory of evolution I am aware of or that I can even conceive. Males are not just females with a penis and differing reproductive/hormonal systems have large effects on the body. Males and females have differing basal metabolisms for Christ’s sake.
    More to the point, I suspect the fact that older ages in fathers seem to confer longer life in offspring might suggest that men who can father children at older ages have some genetic protection against this mitochondrial mutation effect. This certainly opens up interesting avenues to explore PROVIDED they find the “mothers curse” does occur in human mitochondria. But you didn’t see that because you were so upset with the report itself.

    What this tells me: if it can be extended to humans, which I would bet most geneticists fully expect – is that no matter how many public health initiatives are launched with men in mind, men (barring genetic engineering or maybe some kind of drug treatment) will never have the same average group life expectancy as women. I’m ok with that, I’m also ok with being male and not female.

    What I am NOT ok with is how this science will be misused to say that nothing can be done to increase male life expectancy because ALL of the difference is genetic. I think we can both agree this is bullshit. And THAT is how this ties into “male disposibility”.

    P.S. I don’t know what you are talking about with regards to citations and such.

  • Clarence

    Oh, PS:
    If both things are true for humans (“mothers’s curse”, older dads leading to longer lived offspring) then this kind of “evolutionary arms race” between male and female might lead to overall longer lives for everybody. Well, at least our descendents. Win, win, right? :)

  • Dungone

    Clarence, women outlive men in every society on average, but they have very, very rarely been the longest lived members of any society until recent times. What this means is that while most men died early, most women died a little later, but the most powerful men who had the most offspring would live longer than anyone else by a long shot.

    What do you mean you don’t get what I mean by the citations? Give me a link to the fucking study if you’re going to tell me to read it. Chances are you haven’t even read it yourself. I am calling you out on the various times when I told you the name of a book but you refused to accept it even provisionally unless I dug up the page number for you, and it was perfectly clear that you had no intention to actually buy the book and look it up, you were just deflecting. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. You haven’t even been able to describe or link to anything that even describes the methods they used, what this experiment actually was. You just linked to some claims they made about how profound their findings are. It’s bullshit.

  • Dungone

    “I should also point out that lower life span for males is predicted by some aspects of evolutionary theory based on the sperm and egg model.”

    What the heck is that supposed to mean? The “sperm and egg” model shows that females are absolutely incapable of improving upon the single most important factor to longer lifespans. Females are born with all their eggs, males produce brand new sperm as they age and can afford to devote more resources to producing longer lived, more expensive telomeres as they get older. Telomeres are lost every time DNA goes through the duplication process and eventually you get raw genetic material needed for cell function getting tossed. Only sperm production increases telomere length.

    So unlike the dumb as fuck claims in those articles, females who introduce harmful mutations to males also limit their own lifespans as a result. And guess what? Guess how fucking long a fruit fly lives? They literally don’t have the same pressures on replicating their DNA that long lived species have, so what works for fruit flies doesn’t say shit about what works for humans. They could easily add up mutations that are harmful to men without having the kind of adverse effect on their own lifespans that human females would have. And still, even then, this was a single generation experiment which proves nothing, too, because what they say about thousands of generations cannot be extrapolated from observations about a single generation. It really makes me think that the study authors are probably fucking idiots who shouldn’t have published their shit until they got a little more feedback.

  • Clarence

    Dungone, you are confusing me with someone else in regards to the page number and books thing.

    And Dungone, besides getting me mixed up with someone else, you are in no position to demand anything of me. So maybe you should “call yourself out” for a bad memory.

  • RocketFrog

    One study of human longevity that corrects for lifestyle differences is the cloister study from Austria: http://www.cloisterstudy.eu/

    They studied the lifespans of Christian monks and nuns, who have very similar lifestyles, and found that the life expectancy difference was tiny, with women outliving men by typically less than one year – in stark contrast to the surrounding Austrian society, where women outlive men by five years or more.

    This seems to me to indicate that the biological component of the equation is responsible for only a small part of the result, and that lifestyle differences (not the least of which is that men are much more likely to die young) are a larger factor.

  • Clarenceinbalt

    Rocketfrog:

    But then there is this:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16510865
    and I bet few if any of the women in the study you linked to were mothers.
    I suspect the real biological component for mothers is larger than for women who do not get pregnant. But it still wouldn’t explain 5 year’s difference.

    And on that, I’m off to lunch.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Some very woo ladies I know up in NC, swear that if you take out a woman’s uterus, the difference in male/female lifespans disappears. Apparently, it isn’t just the decrease in estrogen (postmenopausal women still live longer), but actual hysterectomies. There is something about the uterus itself.

    They had studies and stuff (this was an herbal conference and they are anti-hysterectomy activists, have bumper stickers saying “save the uteri!” and so on)… but I never really paid attention to the specific citations. Still, it is an interesting idea.

  • Ginkgo

    That’s pretty woo, Daisy, and I thought I had heard it all.

    A hysterectomy take sout the ovaries too, right? That may be what’s doing it. Estrogen is thought to have effects on heart disease. Sadly, the hops in beer appear not to be an adequate hormone replacement therapy, though maybe I just need to up the dosage.

    I wonder if this correlates with the generally shorter lifespans of eunuchs.

  • dungone

    http://goodmenproject.com/health/the-good-life-why-are-men-four-times-more-likely-to-kill-themselves-than-women/

    This piece on is your typical “it’s because men don’t talk about it” quackery being peddled, this time on GMP. The entire screed basically blames a vague notion of “men’s culture” as being responsible for men not talking about it. The good doctor claims that men’s problems aren’t really that bad and simply having a chat about it would make them realize that things aren’t so bad, which is what women do all the time. It’s up to men, he says, to change, so that they don’t go off and off themselves.

    This is the problem. How does someone write an article about male suicide in good faith and completely fail to talk about any of the actual reasons why men commit suicide? Like, for instance, everything having to do with military service? Or having your spouse divorce you. And take the kids. And your finances. Various things that happen to men, which often lead to suicide, which rarely happen to women in such extreme ways. How do you leave that out and proclaim that, like women, these guys just need to talk about it to realize that their issues aren’t so bad?

  • RocketFrog

    dungone:

    A not-entirely-insignificant segment of suicidal men do not talk to anybody because they do not have anybody to talk to.

    Telling such men to just talk to someone is sort of like telling a victim of a famine to just go eat something.

  • dungone

    @RocketFrog, that’s obviously my point, but you have to explain why men don’t have anybody to talk to. These people, especially the therapists, basically have a hammer and they’re frustrated because men won’t turn themselves into nails. If women have lower suicide, then why can’t the men just become women? It’s not very clever, but that’s basically their approach to solving the male suicide epidemic. One of the comments over at TGMP said it well, “talking is not a one way street.” Someone else pointed out that men do talk, but that nobody listens. On a societal level, people don’t really care about the issues facing men and, instead, just want to blame men for it. Are you suicidal? Well, it’s obviously because you’re too macho. Silly right? And these people want you to talk to them. I’d sooner recommend for suicidal men to talk to a Zoltan fortune telling machine.

  • Ginkgo

    What a piece of shit article. I left this comment, but it’s not over yet.

    “That’s part of it Britteny and the rest is the difference in the degree of intent. when men attempt suicide, they more often actualy intend to kill themsleves. That’s just a function of the empathy apartheid in society – if a woman makes “a call for help”, she ‘s likely to get it, along with sympathy and soul-searching all around; when a man does it he is derided and despised for ebing weak. So the call for help is not really an option. No one will give a shit anyway.

    And this bullshit, sub-professional article, full of victim blaming of men and denialism to the point of not mentioning any of the concrete reasons men kill themselves – no mentio of the realities of how divorces work in this society, no mention of the completely lop-sided effects of military service between genders, no mention of the way violence against men s glorified in the culture – is an example of that empathy apartheid. he quite palinly dopesn’t really give a shit about why men kill themsleves, not enough to analyze it even a bit.

    Tyson’s bullshit about testosterone is straight up offensive, sexist hate speech. He would hardly write anything about estrogen as a causal factor to anything negative. He says testerone kills of parts of the brain that influence social bonds; has he ever written anything about estrogen killing off the parts of the brain that influnece logic or spatial or math skills? (I hope not. That’s crap too.)

    Brittney pointed out that men and women use diffenrent means to attempt suicide – Yes! Exactly! – but why is that? Women have the same access to the same means as men have – why don’t they use these obviously effective methods if they reallyi ntend to aactually commit suicide?

  • dungone

    Here’s a news article that came up today: http://news.health.com/2012/09/11/curbing-suicide-now-a-national-priority-u-s-says/

    The author is eerily silent on the fact that it’s a men’s problem even when he is discussing the fact that it affects the military particular hard. Still, it’s almost as if the people who are actually trying to cope with the problem have been listening:

    The military has been hit particularly hard. “Right now we are losing more of our soldiers to suicide than we are to combat,” said Army Secretary John McHugh.

    Many military suicides aren’t combat related, he noted. Fifty-four percent of military personnel who committed suicide in 2010 and 59 percent who attempted suicide that year were never deployed, McHugh said at the press conference.

  • dungone

    Sorry, here is the complete passage I wanted to quote:

    The military has been hit particularly hard. “Right now we are losing more of our soldiers to suicide than we are to combat,” said Army Secretary John McHugh.

    Many military suicides aren’t combat related, he noted. Fifty-four percent of military personnel who committed suicide in 2010 and 59 percent who attempted suicide that year were never deployed, McHugh said at the press conference.

    “What this tells us is we are dealing with broader societal issues,” he said. These include drug and alcohol abuse, relationship problems and depression, he said.

    Good!

    But, hell, the article fails to point out that men are most often the victims. When I say failed, I mean that it doesn’t use the word “men” or “male” once in the entire article. And it features a photograph of a female soldier.

    It doesn’t say that some of these “societal problems” are actually men’s problems in particular. It’s up to you and me to point out the irony that it’s the erasure of male victims that in itself is the biggest problem.