• Antaus
    4
    Men in American society have, for a long time, been emotionally undermined by a systemic cultural dogma. Men don't cry. Most boys and young men are taught not to cry because for some reason, the fact that a man has emotions is apparently a sign of weakness. It's perfectly fine for a woman to have feelings, break down on national television over something, and sob while receiving pats on the back. Were a man to do something similar, most of the people on the program would likely be quite uncomfortable and look around nervously.

    The problem is that this cultural and media reinforced mentality is downright toxic. Men have emotions just like anyone else, but often lack the tools or the personal understanding to express them in a meaningful or healthy way. So what happens ultimately? Men who repress their emotions can only do so for a limited period of time, because as the stress builds up these emotions will find a way to vent themselves. The problem is this either happens all at once resulting in an explosive nuclear meltdown, or the emotions begin to seep out slowly, and can poison someone's way of thinking without them even realizing it. From my own personal experience (seeing not doing) this most often comes in the form of passive aggression, which left unchecked, can lead to active aggression and ultimately violent outbursts.

    This isn't the only problem facing men however. In modern society there are a myriad of other challenges that face them on the road to emotional health. The first is the myth that men don't need help. This is something that is often perpetuated by feminist groups, a topic for a completely different discussion, that men don't need any sort of help at all. As a result when a men does come forward and try to deal with emotional problems in an open and thoughtful manner, he is often attacked for no other reason than being male.

    Another reason that men have such trouble dealing with emotions is because there are virtually no resources in society to help them in this regard. Apparently because a man is a man the prevailing attitude is 'Suck it up Buttercup' when it comes to their emotional needs, which men do have. While this might seem a little off-topic, please bear with me.

    1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

    1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.


    Source: https://ncadv.org/statistics

    This 1 in 4 statistic reflects a fairly alarming trend that roughly 25% of all men in relationships have been the victim of domestic violence at some point in their lives, approximately 14% face severe violence. With the American population at 325.7 million (2017), that's 81,425,000 men being abused, and 46,249,000 facing severe abuse. It's shocking that so many people could face such problems with virtually no recourse for help.

    How many domestic abuse hot lines, shelters, or outreach programs have you seen for men who are victims. I would imagine zero, because they get virtually no coverage in the media what so ever. There are a few places for men in such a position to receive help, but the disparity between help available between men and women is appalling.

    Now I realize you might be wondering what domestic violence has to do with men's emotions. That should be fairly simple, a man who is attacked in his own home by a domestic partner suffers emotionally just like a woman. To be attacked or beaten by a loved one often hurts worse than being attacked by a total stranger. This is someone that you trust and care about. There's more than just physical violence here, it's a betrayal of the most basic trust and respect that one human being has for another. As anyone can attest, scars of the heart often cut far deeper than any of the body. Yet by and large there is no help for men in these situations, and people wonder why men 'suddenly' go off without warning, walk into work, and shoot the place up.

    The problem is that there likely were warning signs for weeks or even months, but because men aren't suppose to be emotional, our society isn't taught to look for these signs. We've been taught to ignore the emotions of men while catering to the every emotional need of women.

    Even worse than this is that often times when there are emotional support mechanisms for men, they're either a program initially designed for women that have the 'wo' lopped off, or they're a cookie cutter approach of one size fits all. Nature, nurture, and experience all teach us that men and women most certainly are not equal emotionally. The way a man thinks, feels, or expresses himself is rarely the same as women. Human beings by gender are hardwired differently, therefore we approach life differently.

    In closing I feel that what America needs is to approach this problem from the point of addressing the emotional needs of men, as men. Not with programs originally intended for women, or cookie cutter systems. People need to wake up and realize that men have emotional needs that are distinctly different than those of women.
  • Noble Dust
    3k
    People need to wake up and realize that men have emotional needs that are distinctly different than those of women.Antaus

    Are they really that different, though? I was in agreement with a lot of the unpopular points you were bringing up, until here. I think your whole OP is a decent argument for the idea that emotional needs are pretty similar across gender norms. There's this concept called "love", and a similar concept called "acceptance". These are concepts that human beings in general need; not just want; need. Emotional needs are tied up with these concepts, and gender has absolutely nothing to do with it.
  • Bitter Crank
    5.9k
    Welcome to The Philosophy Forum. Great topic.

    It seems overwhelmingly likely that gender does have something to do with it.

    Antaus, you are quite right that men are being ill-served. My only problem here is "Where does one begin?" because the dimensions of real gender differences and differing gender needs is so large a a problem to define.

    I'll come back later -- there's 14 inches of heavy sticky snow on the sidewalks of Minneapolis and I now need to do something about my small share of it.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    Emotional needs are tied up with these concepts, and gender has absolutely nothing to do with it.Noble Dust

    Love doesn't uniformly manifest itself, though. Surely you realize that loving a woman as opposed to a man makes for different love. I love my brother differently than my mother, and it does in fact matter that one is a man and the other is a woman. Were I in an intimate and romantic relationship, it would be, in part, because of the fact that (she) is a woman. I wouldn't, therefore, be in an intimately romantic relationship with a man.

    Besides, even if you take a less elusive angle on the topic than considering love is, gender differences with regard to emotional needs still remain, sometimes glaringly so. Women are more likely to be neurotic than men, for example. If my spouse is a woman that's exceedingly neurotic, then my love for her - which helps to satisfy her emotional needs - must be in line with who she is as a person.
  • Antaus
    4
    While I agree that men and women do share some emotional similarities, I have to disagree about them not being different. Gender not only plays a large part in emotional manifestation, but also need. Men and women are vastly different being mentally and emotionally, which just about anyone knows, hence the term 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus'.
  • T Clark
    3k
    While I agree that men and women do share some emotional similarities, I have to disagree about them not being different. Gender not only plays a large part in emotional manifestation, but also need. Men and women are vastly different being mentally and emotionally, which just about anyone knows, hence the term 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus'.Antaus

    Sure, men and women are different. Japanese people are different from Chinese people. Christians are different from atheists. Rich people are different from poor people. Black people are different from white people.

    Whatever the emotional, mental, and social differences between women and men, they are morally exactly the same. They are due the same respect and rights. They have the same obligations and responsibilities. The golden rule applies to each just as much as to all the rest. The rest is just wrapping paper.

    An alternate version of your quote I like better - Men are from Illinois. Women are from Indiana.
  • Sir2u
    1.1k
    Apparently because a man is a man the prevailing attitude is 'Suck it up Buttercup' when it comes to their emotional needs, which men do have. While this might seem a little off-topic, please bear with me.Antaus

    I actually saw a case of this happening, on a visit to the local police station. I live in a society that is still in the men are macho era.
    The guy was asked if he really wanted to accuse his partner of domestic violence. When he said that he did because she had attacked him with a knife(showing them the cut), they asked if he was prepared for his friends and neighbors to laugh at him for not being able to manage his wife. He quietly left. The friend that I was visiting told me later that the woman had come in and accused her husband of assault because he had punched her. When they picked up the man he said that he was not to blame because the police had given him permission to manage the problem himself.
  • Antaus
    4
    On this I would partially agree and disagree. If we bring morality into the mix, we also have to look at the social and cultural underpinnings that form said morals. Those are not the same either. Let's use the 'nuclear family' of mid 20th century America when ideology resulted in the things like the Donna Reid show, and Leave it to Beaver.

    The moral underpinnings of American society did share similar morality for both men and women in that raising a healthy, productive family was a good thing. Yet how this was approached for men and women was considerably different. The women felt emotional fulfillment from taking care of home and hearth, making sure the family was fed, clothed, and so on. The man found emotional fulfillment in 'bringing home the bacon' that allowed all this to happen.

    Now let's reverse these roles, have a working wife and house husband at this point in time. They would have been looked at oddly by society and I don't believe either would have found the same level of emotional satisfaction. The moral obligation, and thus moral perspective, of men and women in society has rarely, if ever, been exactly the same.
  • frank
    1k
    From my own personal experience (seeing not doing) this most often comes in the form of passive aggression, which left unchecked, can lead to active aggression and ultimately violent outbursts.Antaus

    The OP message actually was passive aggressive. Stop focusing on women and focus on yourself.
  • T Clark
    3k
    The OP message actually was passive aggressive. Stop focusing on women and focus on yourself.frank

    You can't talk about men without talking about women. I was actually impressed by how well Antaus expressed his thoughts without over-emphasizing the differences between them. His presentation seemed clear and humane to me.
  • frank
    1k
    You can't talk about men without talking about women.T Clark

    Why not?
  • T Clark
    3k


    You're right. You probably can. Although that's not the way the issues are usually framed, I can see the value. It would make it easier discuss the issues without highlighting conflict.

    On the other hand, I think the way the issue has been set up is fine. Do you really not understand the points Antaus is trying to make? Do you have anything of value to say about them?
  • frank
    1k
    Although that's not the way the issues are usually framed,T Clark

    What issue?
  • Antaus
    4
    The only place to start when addressing these issues is from the beginning, and I'm not being sarcastic either. Start small and build from there. It took a long time for the problem to reach this point, and it's going to take a long time to address and solve it.

    There's also another issue a woman on Youtube pointed out that I think is relevant too. Men and women bond differently. A lot of women relate to each other based solely on gender, this is less of a thing for men. The reason is because of how we're designed biologically and mentally. Women are caregivers and nurturers. They form the core of the 'home and hearth' sphere of our lives and this will often draw women together and promote cooperation.

    Men on the other hand have historically been competitive with one another, be it for food, land, resources, and even women. It's not to say that men can't come together because they can. However, for them this tends to be the result of sharing a common goal or objective, rather than being based on gender.
  • Bitter Crank
    5.9k


    Masculinity and femininity are built on the same human chassis and share a lot of parts, share a lot of performance features, but the vehicles that roll off the assembly line are unmistakably different. The dogmas about masculinity and femininity manage to be a disservice to both sexes. It seems to me that there are some essential biological differences between males and females which are the basis for differing emotional affect. While acknowledging differences, there is also considerable overlap, and beside overlap there is plasticity. But men and women are different. Viva la différence!

    To whatever extent men and women bond differently, one type of bonding isn't better than the other. (You aren't saying that, but I've hear it said.)

    "Male culture" may reinforce the suppression of emotionality in boys and men, but a good share of it starts in childhood, under the management of women -- mothers, caregivers, and teachers. It's not something that most women do or (probably would do) deliberately, but boys are taught early on to control (suppress, really) their emotions. A good deal has been written about how current standard classroom practice is ill suited to boys: lack of recess periods (outdoor activity time, preferably twice a day); expectations that boys will sit still for a long period of time, and so forth. Boys seem to suffer more from this than girls do, but it really isn't good for girls to be taught to sit still all day, either.

    Many children, boys or girls, have few opportunities to "go outside, play, and explore the world" because "the world" is perceived to be too dangerous, or in some places IS too dangerous. I grew up in a very small town in Minnesota and pasture land, fields, and woodland were very close by. A lot of urban folk simply don't have access to that sort of environment.

    Later on, as boys reach early adolescence, then I think the influence of male culture (for better or worse) becomes a stronger influence.

    We are all subject to a lot of influences -- peers, partners, parents, relatives, unrelated adults, school, media (whatever form), the church (for some people), the military, and so forth. The messages are multi-directional--be like this, no, be like that; don't do this, don't do that... etc.

    I'm gay and 71, so... I don't have a huge amount of contact anymore with younger men, these days. As a gay man, I've associated a lot with other gay men--all ages--who generally tend to be more emotionally 'available' and emotionally expressive. But the gay male subculture is a small part of the population. There are a number of middle age straight men at some groups I belong to that are extremely emotionally constipated -- just don't know of a better word to use. Some of them are just totally boxed in, others express their emotionality through intellectuality -- better than nothing, but not really healthy either. A lot of straight guys can't express approval effectively, and rather than expressing anger readily, they just slowly carbonize inside.

    It seems to me that competitiveness is an essentially male feature. Biological creatures that humans are, we are not discontinuous with our evolutionary roots. Most male creatures compete for something--like mates, food, territory (food and mates). Brains and culture have helped us avoid the grind of individually scrambling for food and mates, but the drive is still there. So it often gets expressed on the freeway. I have to admit that when I am out bicycling, I like to compete with other riders (not that I'm much competition any more. Used to be.) It just feels natural.

    Men, it seems like, are more likely to bond over work, or an objective, a battle, a cattle drive, clearing snow, taking down a tree, etc... than just over each other. Women "do lunch". Men get together around car repair--figuratively, if not literally.. Working together is one way that a lot of men interact. They can work on a project, hunt together, do sports together, build together -- all those sorts of things. Work provides a mediator they--we--can employ to bond and share.
  • frank
    1k
    How would you relate your views to the OP?
  • frank
    1k
    Bill Clinton and Obama were pretty free with expressions of emotion. On the other hand, imagine Hilary Clinton crying during her debate with Trump. It would have been disastrous. So it depends.

    Among some there is a sort of herd mentality in opposition to male expressions of emotion. Separation from it comes at a price. Failing to separate from it also comes at a price. Pick your poison.
  • praxis
    632
    A lot of women relate to each other based solely on gender, this is less of a thing for men. The reason is because of how we're designed biologically and mentally. Women are caregivers and nurturers. They form the core of the 'home and hearth' sphere of our lives and this will often draw women together and promote cooperation.

    Men on the other hand have historically been competitive with one another, be it for food, land, resources, and even women. It's not to say that men can't come together because they can. However, for them this tends to be the result of sharing a common goal or objective, rather than being based on gender.
    Antaus

    This isn’t making much sense as written. You claim that women relate to each other based solely on gender and men come together based on sharing a common goal, yet say that women “form the core of the 'home and hearth' sphere of our lives and this will often draw women together and promote cooperation.” You appear to be saying here that women come together or relate to each other based on sharing the common goal of homemaking, in which case they’re fundamentally no different than the way you claim that men relate to each other, the only difference being the specific common goal or the type of goal.

    Are you suggesting that women don’t have the potential range of shared goals that men have? Or perhaps that homemaking, or any sort of stereotypically feminine goals, don’t qualify as real or meaningful goals?
  • Eric Wintjen
    9
    Are you suggesting that women don’t have the potential range of shared goals that men have? Or perhaps that homemaking, or any sort of stereotypically feminine goals, don’t qualify as real or meaningful goals?


    Not to bring religious ideas into the discussion, but I believe complimentarionism applies to this, in a biological sense. Females evolved to be the primary caregivers of children and the home while men were away, men evolved to compete for domination both over their peers to climb hierarchies and over their environment through hunting and defending their family and/or tribe. Both positions are equally important to survival.

    A lot of women relate to each other based solely on gender, this is less of a thing for men. The reason is because of how we're designed biologically and mentally. Women are caregivers and nurturers. They form the core of the 'home and hearth' sphere of our lives and this will often draw women together and promote cooperation.

    Men on the other hand have historically been competitive with one another, be it for food, land, resources, and even women. It's not to say that men can't come together because they can. However, for them this tends to be the result of sharing a common goal or objective, rather than being based on gender.
    — Antaus

    I believe what he is trying to say is that the female biological role naturally avoids conflict and promotes noncompetitive cooperation as it is dangerous to have conflict around young children and infants, therefore females might be naturally better equipped to relate to each other without needing the competition that male-to-male cooperation is usually built on.
  • praxis
    632


    It may be fair to say that women generally tend to be more nurturing and cooperative, most likely due to their biological role in childbearing, but I don't think anyone knows if this is culturally based or an evolutionary psychological adaptation.

    Women can compete or cooperate in common goals for mutual benefit, obviously. Men can compete or cooperate in common goals for mutual benefit, obviously. Men can't give birth to or nurse children, but they can do everything else. Women can give birth, nurse their children, and do everything else.

    Men are not inherently competitive.
  • frank
    1k
    St Anthony:
    anthony-with-baby-jesus.jpg
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