Blog: Weak?


If I was to be assessed against the gender stereotype for a man or masculinity I would probably be classified as

• Weak
• Pathetic
• A loser
• Not manly
• Emotional
• Not a real man

I am unafraid of sharing how I feel. We all have days where we feel like crap. Just because I am male, it doesn’t make me weak and pathetic for sharing that. Yet gender stereotypes of being a man in British society would tell you that this makes me a weakling as I have shown a little vulnerability.

I have an (invisible) disability, which I openly talk about – however the stereotype would tell me to man up and keep my mouth closed. I need to man up, be strong and just deal with. Showing any form of feeling and emotion is a sign of weakness and is not manly – if you actually believe in that stereotype.

And if I get sick, no it is not ok to share the fact that I am unwell, as I will be attacked with a term like “man flu,” because again a man showing they are ill is a sign of weakness. If I, a cis-gendered man made a negative statement against another gender identity because they are unwell, I’d get into a lot of trouble. Let me tell you, it is not ok to call a man weak because they are unwell. The term man flu seems to have become acceptable in the workplace, yet it is deeply rooted in gender stereotypes and some of us find this highly offensive.

Men find it a lot harder to open up about how they are feeling, particularly if they are suffering from a mental ill health condition. A large part of this is down to the gender stereotyping of men and masculinity. In England, more men die from suicide than women.

It’s time we stood up to this toxic stereotype and break this stigma. We all have mental health. Let’s make it ok to talk.

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