View Full Version : Unmanned - Not a ship, either.
Maybe I should give up the Sunday papers.
"The general thesis of the book is that all over the developed world men are in trouble, that now that women earn, the male role as provider has been taken away, that thanks to today's genetic technology they are no longer needed even to make babies, let alone hang around the nursery, and that their distress is such that we see today an epidemic of suicide among young men - in Britain now 6,000 a year."
The article is worth reading and the book is at Amazon.
What role do you play / do you someday expect to play in the family?
07-30-2000, 01:19 PM
The whole article tends to suggest that the book concerns rather more than the stated "thesis." An initial problem I have witht the "thesis" is the 6,000 suicide figure. Are there really more suicides per capita now than before the 1970's? If suicide has gone up, is it clearly due to men not being able to understand where they belong in society?
It might be an interesting book, but the promo was weak.
Where do I fit in the family? Well, I still bring home the bulk of the income and I still spend lots of time with my kids (just as my dad who was the sole provider spent time with my siblings and me).
I don't think that women (in general) are going to look to get rid of men until they decide they enjoy dildoes and turkey basters over men--and I do not see that as a near-future event.
Duck Duck Goose
07-30-2000, 01:33 PM
Second that. For every Madonna or Rosie O'Donnell carrying on without a man, thank you very much (albeit with heavy assistance from secretaries, cooks, nannies, etc.), there are probably literally tens of thousands of women who are still doing it the old-fashioned way, with not a turkey baster in sight.
You should probably give up the Sunday papers, or if you just can't manage that, then at least save them till Monday morning. Leisurely Sunday afternoons are tailor-made for sitting around and worrying about stuff you read in the paper. I find that the pundits have lost much of their punch on a busy Monday morning, with the kids arguing over Pokemon and the washing machine making a funny noise down in the basement.
07-30-2000, 01:55 PM
You can't discount the simple fact that for many of us, hetero sex is simply the most fun. The deep drive in the animal brain to procreate guarantees that most people will continue to find it interesting and attractive, completely aside from any reprductive requirements.
This questionable thesis is nothing more than the same tired sci-fi/horror plots pulled out and waved at us for decades. It's just one more variation on the old "society as we know it is doomed if we let these uppity women/blacks/injuns/serfs have economic freedom", when it has clearly been proven historically that life gets generally better when economically disenfranchised segments of the population are permitted equality.
How many couples out there could get by on one income without a significant reduction of lifesyle? The reality is most households need two incomes to survive and get ahead. I hate being held back because of an hysterical, fearful, vocal minority who think I should be staying at home, subordinate to my husband, unfairly dumping the entire burden of our financial well-being on his shoulders. What do I do when he has that heart attack at 45 from the stress? Live off the state? Then they can abuse me in the press for a whole new reason.
07-30-2000, 03:39 PM
In fairness to the OP, Anthony Clare (the book's author) seems to be looking at a larger picture. The "women can get along without men" statements do not seem to indicate that Clare thinks women will opt to disassociate themselves from men. His point seems to be that when many men look around and can no longer claim to be "the" breadwinner and can recognize that they are not "necessary" for procreation, then they begin to doubt their purpose in life and some of them just wander off and kill themselves.
The book seemed to have quite a bit more to say about two-parent families and other aspects of society, and the review or promotion picked up the most sensationalist aspects of his discussion.
The specific question Jois asked was where do men see themselves in relation to families, child-rearing, breadwinning, etc.
07-30-2000, 04:12 PM
I sincerly doubt the figures,
The Royal Collage of Psychiatrists says that incidence of suicide in England and Wales is decreasing
and if you look in the following you will see that the total number of suicides in 1997 is 4100.
If there had been that number of suicides in just young males I think that there would have been corresponding levels in other parts of the population which would lead one to suppose a figure in total in excess of 15000 or more.
Time to junk the papers methinks
07-30-2000, 04:22 PM
Men are necessary for procreation. As far as I know they haven't created sperm in the laboratory yet.
07-30-2000, 04:27 PM
One should realise that The Sunday Times is a right-wing newspaper and that part of it's agenda is the promotion of the 2+2 family with no queers, lesbians, or single mothers to be tolerated as these are the causes of the downfall of society.
Looking at review it mentions a lot of hostility to the figures, which are not reproduced here for our scrutiny, and it does not care to put a name to the various bodies making the complaints.
Why not mention the complainants unless they have a credibility that would be difficult to undermine.
When a right-wing publication gets such basic data wrong then the premise that rests upon it looks shaky indeed.
Sorry it looks like tosh to me.
07-30-2000, 05:09 PM
Sorry, but I disagree that it’s tosh – irrespective of the highlighted ‘facts’. I do wonder that society has spent such a proportion of the last 40 years debating and addressing feminist issue’s that it is time for an ongoing debate about the role of men. Not just the occasional book or article but a shift in the entire gender debate.
Things have changed a whole lot and, IMHO, there is a lot of confusion out there. There seems something strangely odd about the idea of a ‘masculine movement’ but until something of that ilk emerges to set an agenda, I doubt whether a serious debate can begin.
Meanwhile, women are finally beginning to achieve equality in some area’s – over equality, some might argue in others - and the world is filling up with one parent families, with people living alone and the divorce rate is nearing 50%.
Something ain’t working and some of tomorrow's adult's are paying the price for us not addressing that 'fact'.
Myron Van Horowitzski
08-01-2000, 01:37 PM
Originally posted by Asmodeus
Men are necessary for procreation. As far as I know they haven't created sperm in the laboratory yet.
I think the idea is that it's possible to get someone to father your child without needing him to marry you or live with you; or even without meeting him at all.
08-01-2000, 02:15 PM
Some light background reading (edited from the original):
Trends in suicide in England and Wales, 1982-96 by Sue Kelly and Julia Bunting of Demography and Health, ONS.
Key findings for the period 1982-96 show that:
Since 1982 suicides among women have fallen continuously while among men they have only started to fall since 1988. Men aged 25-34 are now the only male age-group for which suicide rates continue to rise, by 30 per cent between 1982-84 and 1994-6.
Among women, only in the age group 15-24 have suicide rates risen though they remain at a relatively low level. There were dramatic falls in the older age groups. For women aged between 45 and 84, rates fell by between 45 and 60 per cent.
In the 15-44 age-group, divorced and widowed men continue to have the highest suicide rates, although they have been falling since 1982-84. Suicide rates for single men and women have been increasing since 1982-84.
The self-inflicted death rate for men in prison doubled between 1982 and 1997.
And from The Samaritans:
5,993 suicides in the UK, 433 suicides in the Republic of Ireland in 1997.
One suicide every 82 minutes in UK and Ireland.
75% of suicides are by males.
869 suicides by young people in UK and Ireland - more than 2 per day.
Suicide accounts for 18% of all deaths of young people.
Rising trend in attempted suicide in England and Wales - 50% increase since 1990.
Suicide attempts by young men in England and Wales have risen by 172% since 1985.
26% of the population personally knew someone who died by suicide.
There are at least two suicides every day by young people under the age of 25 in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. The rate of suicide amongst young men (15-24 years) in the UK has increased since the 1970s - statistics showed a downturn from 1993, but the rate rose once again in 1997 to 17 per 100,000, compared with a national suicide rate of 13 per 100,000. In the Republic of Ireland, suicide amongst young men continues to rise dramatically and in 1997 was at 27 per 100,000; three times the rate for 1987.
There's also an alarming-looking graph comparing male and female suicide rates, with the male rate per 100,000 approximately three times higher since 1987.
Finally, and most relevantly, Men's Health Forum - Suicide (http://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/suicide/default.asp) also has a lot of statistics and some attempts to explain the apparent disparity. I'll attempt a brief summary, as the article is quite long.
1 / Men may be more reluctant to seek help for psychiatric problems than women due to different perceptions of such problems.
2 / Men are heavier users of alcohol and drugs, both of which are implicated in suicide (there's no cite for this claim, however).
3 / Poor socio-economic status (or a change to a poor socio-economic status) is identified as a "minor" element, not to be over-emphasised.
4 / Higher levels of male aggression, combined with a driven desire to "succeed" in life and work, and a norm of independence, lead to men being isolated and aggressive, liable to turn that aggression inwardly when they don't succeed (a)
5 / With particular regard to "maleness", or as the article describes it, "gender-role stress":
"Changing patterns of employment, (have) altered gender relations, new discourses of masculinity or femininity may undermine young men’s sense of certainty and security, particularly when these are seen to damage opportunities for economic independence..... significant numbers of young men may need more support in finding their way on this rapidly changing terrain, and statistics on young men’s suicide indicate that there is much work to be done to contain growing problems" (b)
In summary, the authors conclude that the role of "masculinity" in male suicide rates is as yet unproven and unclear, but seem to expect further studies to uncover a greater link.
Personally, while changing gender roles may contribute, I think that the fast-paced urban lifestyle may be more to blame. I'm only realising now, a couple of years since university, just how much I feel like I'm in a race. I used to think I would take a mediocre but low-stress job somewhere quiet -- don't laugh, but not entirely unlike the lifestyles in Douglas Coupland's Generation X -- whereas now I find myself wanting to compete with my friends career-wise, wondering how I'll ever afford a flat or a house. Some of this is undoubtedly down to my own personality, but I know I'm not the only one of my friends to start feeling this pressure to be "go ahead". Being male means it's rarely said, though, and that's where I think the main problem is. Society is changing, gender roles are changing, but male perception of them and the means to adapt or cope with change isn't changing itself (or at least, not fast enough).
Sorry if this sounds rambling.
(a) Stillion, J.M., McDowell, E. E., and May J. H. Suicide across the life span: Premature exits, Hemisphere, New York. 1989.
(b) Bradford S. & Urquhart C. ‘The making and breaking of young men: suicide and the adolescent male’ in Youth & Policy: 61.
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