My thanks to the supporters who notified me that an episode of the BBC programme Panorama was to be broadcast last night, ‘A death in the family’, about male suicide. I was out for the evening, but have just watched it on iPlayer – here. It will be available for 28 more days.
Suicide is the leading cause of death of British men under 50. I recently wrote an article for International Business Times on the subject of male suicide – here. In the article I pointed to the fact that the high male suicide rate is largely driven by reactive depression – the form of depression caused by stressful life events such as denial of access to children, or having no support as victims of domestic violence, or being homeless on the street, all fates far more likely to be suffered by men than woman.
The programme’s presenter is a 44-year-old man whose father committed suicide at the same age, in part due to ‘huge financial problems’. It’s well worth watching, but as we’d expect with a mainstream media programme, no recognition is made of reactive depression. Instead the focus is on ‘toxic masculinity’, the ’emotional illiteracy’ of men, and so on. If only men would act more like women, their problems would be over, was the underlying message.
This is victim blaming at its worst. Men typically don’t seek help because from a very early age males learn that society doesn’t care for them – state-sanctioned genital mutilation at 8 days of age, anyone? – a point made very well by Karen Straughan in her latest video, to which we linked a day or two ago. It must surely be clear to any thinking person that stoicism reduces the male suicide rate. By definition, feminists are excluded from this group.
Far too much exposure was given to Jane Powell, the Chief Executive of The Calm Initiative for the past six years. I met her around a year ago, and I can honestly say she’s the most obnoxious radical feminist I’ve ever met, by a country mile. Julie Bindel was positively likeable by comparison. Within minutes of meeting Ms Powell, she’d described herself as a ‘fervent feminist’ whose proudest life achievement was being a protester at Greenham Common.
Some of her charity’s income is spent on ‘annual audits of masculinity’. I asked her how those audits, or her organisation’s helpline, would help men denied access to their children, or male victims of domestic violence denied support, or homeless men denied accommodation. She sullenly glared at the table when I asked these questions, and had no response. My life will be a little happier if I never meet the vile woman again.