In Australia, we have mates, and a favorite pastime is to prank our mates and laugh at them. Laugh at their mistakes and at their failures. In fact, the closer the mate, the more you laugh at them.
It’s seen as a way of accepting male friendship in a society where physical touch between males is seen as homosexual.
But what is making fun with the closer men doing to the men involved and our wider society?
Television shows like The Simpsons, Married with Children, The Office, and many more, specialize in setting up men for failure and comedy. The media is building an image of men being weak, clueless and lost. Out of touch with modern society. Is this the image that we want our sons to grow up with, that they are weak and clueless, the butt of every joke?
There is a theory that whatever we throw at men, it will be all right at the end of the day. After all, men are generally stronger, earn more, and have more respected jobs. However, in an emotionally intelligent age, are we not seeking more from men? Are we not after them being in touch with their emotions?
Men have been taught from a young age not to experience the feminine emotions, or to cry or feel pain. Yet the vulnerability of men, their ability to express the emotions, is one of the characteristics that women seek in a partner.
In the western world, we are now experiencing the results of these complexities. Young male suicide is at extreme heights and increasing, with depression, frequently from loneliness and a lack of self-image being major identifies of the cause.
Substance abuse, whether it is in the form of alcohol or other forms of drugs is increasing. This is resulting in violent actions being carried out on friends, family, and complete strangers. Research is telling us that the factors behind the substance abuse is often trying to find identity or their masculinity.
Our society, in its search for humor, has taken away the image and masculinity of a man and replaced it with a joke. In the same we, we express love and friendship through teasing and humiliation, often when young men are at their most vulnerable.
Research has highlighted that this results in young men, having fewer close friends, and not feeling able to reach out for support in times of needs.
It is time for boys and men to be treated with respect and dignity. Men need to find other ways of expressing their friendship and love for one another, than in putting down, teasing and verbal abuse.
It is time for the hidden emotions that men carry to be released.
This is not to say that the excellent work that has been done in empowering women should be ceased. I am arguing that there is a role for men to be supported and encouraged, alongside women.
A change in the way we treat men can have ongoing effects in society as well. With a better self-image and self-esteem, men may become less dependent on substances to make them feel good, less violent, which could result in better relationships in the household, less divorce, and a positive future for all society.
A change in society always starts with one person, one idea, and spreads. It’s time to start spreading the idea, that men are to be valued too.
Photo: Getty Images