Is ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Really Behind the Male Suicide Crisis?

The issue of male suicide has hit the headlines after a new documentary entitled Our Silent Emergency by radio and television personality Roman Kemp.

In the documentary, Kemp offers a sympathetic and deeply personal portrayal of the mental health and suicide crisis in men, yet even before the documentary aired I – like many others – have become sceptical of these highly emotional, one-sided documentaries.

Now to give the devil his due, I think there is a fair point in there somewhere with regard to how suffering in silence and trying to be all macho can drive a man to such a place of helplessness he considers suicide.

If you’re struggling and need help, you need to ask for it, fair enough. However, as usual with such documentaries, the conclusions are always the same – that something amounting to toxic masculinity is to blame – while society and media is framed as an unforgiving, brutal environment in which male mental health is heavily stigmatised and a huge secret.

Yet is this really the case?

That a documentary is being commissioned on the topic by the country’s biggest media organisation, which does tend to cover male mental health a lot, it seems a bit odd for an unspeakable stigma.

Further still, the media response to the documentary has been pretty glowing from across the political spectrum, while the blue-tick Twitterati have also been gushing over it too.

This raises one very big question, are we really being shown the full and true picture behind this issue, or are we being shown a politically correct, media-friendly version which only shows half of the story to fit into a broader woke agenda surrounding toxic masculinity?

Is Male Suicide really a ‘Silent Emergency’?

Now I want to preface this by saying this isn’t an attack on the Roman Kemp guy, I don’t know anything about him, but he seems a nice enough person and I think he clearly means well, what I’m more interested in is the framing of this issue and what it means for men.

To start with we have the title Our Silent Emergency, which immediately implies no one is talking about this – either because of ignorance or stigma – and that it’s a sudden drama that we have to address now. Yet is this really a silent issue, or an emergency, is the truest sense of the word?

I’m personally not sure it’s silent at all, every International Men’s Day tends to focus on the impacts of supposed ‘toxic masculinity’, while we also see the theme in the media regularly. Not to mention the slew of celebrities, sports people and even royalty that have quote-unquote ‘opened up’ about their mental health and the issue of suicidal thoughts in recent years.

Doesn’t exactly seem silent to me…

Secondly, is this really an emergency? An emergency is defined as “a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action…”

Well, we can see it’s serious, yet is it unexpected? As this data shows, male suicides have accounted for three quarters of all suicides since the mid-90s… Is it really unexpected at this point? Can an emergency last for 25 years?

Questioning the Narrative

Now as I said at the top of the video, there’s something in the notion that some men feel as if they have to be too tough to speak out, yet as I covered in a video where Mike Tyson & Terry Crews talk about this, I think this is more concentrated to certain arenas such as poverty-stricken, violent areas and more laddish, immature environments.

Such an environment is far from the norm, and further, the ideology of toxic masculinity – while seemingly compassionate to the plight of men, is really a neo-marxist political ideology stemming out of gender studies classrooms hellbent on framing the genders as a power-based political relationship of oppression.

Also, while I appreciate this is anecdotal – I became interested in this area after my brother’s suicide, and since then I’ve had friends commit suicide as well, and here’s the rub – each of these men were talking about their feelings, yet still committed suicide… this makes me consider that I can’t be the only person who’s witnessed this which seems to run counter to the mainstream media view…

The Debasing of Men

One of the major cultural events in recent years that went against the grain was the unstoppable rise of Jordan Peterson and his message of personal responsibility, transcendental meaning and, ultimately, that men actually mattered.

Young men flocked to see Peterson all around the world, with millions finding solace, challenge and a reason to sort themselves out and stop complaining in his message emphasising the arduous journey a man must make to find his soul.

This was exactly my experience in recovering from compulsive behaviour, heartbreak, early life trauma and chronic anxiety – via a blend of men’s work, spiritual work and 12-step groups, I was able to take personal responsibility for my life and turn it into a deep, challenging spiritual quest in which adversity became opportunity for growth rather than cause for worry. 

Yet as I started to recover from my relentless self-obsession, endless extrapolation of my supposed mental ailments and victim-centred thinking, I could see the world was heading the other way. While I lapped up Peterson’s message (although not agreeing with everything he said), I could see he was getting pilloried in the mainstream media for going against the grain.

I think Peterson whacked the very centre of a bird’s nest and showed progressive hypocrisy for what it is. It tends to be the very people who shout about toxic masculinity, lament the suicide crisis in men and call for men to share their feelings that simultaneously see masculinity as an oppressive, largely useless element of society.

I mean when was the last time you saw a documentary commissioned about men being strong, capable, wise leaders?

You just wouldn’t see it because strong, healthy men are not acceptable to the cultural elite. Instead, we have an unending diet of masculinity as a problem, of men as a problem, just take the recent tragic murder of a girl in London which led to a progressive response to ban men from leaving their homes after 6pm…

What messages does this send to men, especially naïve and inexperienced young men? It says you’re a problem, your gender is a problem and that you’re responsible for unspeakable horrors that have nothing to do with you and you bear no responsibility for…

Saying the Unsayable

So, it seems in this question of male mental health and male suicide that only one politically correct view is ever allowed.

It seems to me that to risk saying masculinity has a real, essential value to this world is something that cannot be done as it would undermine the progressive worldview which only views it as oppressive and bad.

Henceforth, the only language it’s acceptable to use is that of ‘toxic masculinity’ and good, honest traits of masculinity must be played down, or outright ignored…and then we wonder why men are lost…

Of course, as usual, progressives and the woke will assume the moral high-ground and lament supposed toxic masculinity, yet despite their efforts men will continue to commit suicide in very high numbers, just as they have for that last 25 years since the anti-Western, anti-male worldview came to the fore and we basically outlawed any notion of male virtue…

Awakened Man

Now I started Awakened Man to counter this – to give men a journey of deep initiation to counteract the modern nihilism, meaninglessness and empty culture modern men are faced with.

It may seem bleak now, yet when we engage on this path, we walk the journey of our forefathers, both cultural and spiritual, we find an inner meaning far deeper and more profound than any of the sanitised pap we find in modern media.

We find guidance, challenge, a tribe and, most importantly, we find our way home.

If you want to know more about this then check out my 1-on-1 work, my book From Lost Boy to Awakened Man, the free ebooks and the Awakened Man Men’s Tribe

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