Is the Mainstream Media’s Portrayal of ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Damaging Men’s Mental Health?

With a recent Gillette advert highlighting apparent ‘toxic masculinity’ and with suicide cited as the most common cause of death for men aged 20 to 49 years old in England and Wales. Why are men being unfavourable portrayed in the mainstream media? And with such a negative preconception of what it is to be a man thanks to so called ‘toxic masculinity’, how does this harmful stereotype affect men’s mental health?

According to Mental health statistics sourced from mentalhealth.org. One person in fifteen has made a suicide attempt at some point in their life. Of these, men are three times more likely to attempt to commit suicide or have actually committed suicide.

Despite the men’s rate of suicide being the lowest in the UK in over 30 years according to the Samaritans, in 2017, 5,821 suicides were recorded in Great Britain. The statistics show that 75% were male and 25% were female, which indicates that suicide among men is still prominent, and at an alarmingly high number.

Toxic masculinity, the root cause of everything bad about society, well, according to Gillette anyway. Credit: BBC

When an international men’s razor blade brand like Gillette implies that all men are sexist, misogynistic and suffer from a severe form of ‘toxic masculinity’, you really do have to question if men’s mental health is actually being compromised for the sake of trying to virtue signal a political message, in order to radicalise audiences whom are seemingly bloodthirsty for heterosexual men’s blood.

The villainous portrayals of men as degenerate perverts gripped with an obscene amount of testosterone and an inability to not rape every woman within radius, has filled the pages of mainstream media heavily and vocally for the past few years since the feminist orchestrated #MeToo movement came into fruition.

It seems like you can’t pick up a newspaper or scroll through a page online without seeing another headline accusing a man of some form of sexual assault against a helpless and defenceless woman, all while mocking and ridiculing men and the struggles that they may encounter.

In the UK, 1 in 8 men have a common mental health problem. Credit: Mentalhealth.org

When it comes to men’s mental health and the representation of men in the mainstream media, there’s still a long way to go before they accurately convey the devastating effects of men’s suicide in an equally compassionate tone to that of women.

Case in point was the coverage of Archie Day, a 20-year-old journalism student who committed suicide in October of last year.

The 20-year-old had struggled with depression, with his social media account allegedly displaying a capitation reading ‘Should have died already’, as well as an interest in musicians who rapped about depression.

A featured story of this heart-breaking tragedy in the DailyMail was treated as no more than click-bait fodder, with a misleading derogatory headline implying that the journalism student was simply upset that he had ‘lost his iPhone’ and as a result, killed himself.

Comments from readers of the publication were just as demeaning, with many condemning the victim as just another materialistic millennial, while continuously belittling and making light of this unfortunate tragedy. Alarmingly, the main perpetrators of the trolling of this poor young man were actually women. Ironically, the writer of this misleading clickbait article, Zoie O’Brien, was also a woman. But it didn’t stop there. Another rehash of the story using the same seductive headline also appeared in The Sun. Unsurprisingly, written by a woman, Molly Pike.

While it’s unlikely that many had actually read the full article, due to the limited attention span of most social media users, it was the overly dramatic and sensationalised headline that was enough for people to feel the need to leave their demeaning comments below it.

20-year old Archie Day was found hanged after battling with severe depression. Credit:: The Sun

No one knows for sure what triggered the young man to take his life. Someone who has battled with depression, will know the cycle and the feelings associated with it, but instead, the writer of this article chose to focus on a trivial mention of being upset at the loss of an Apple iPhone, briefly included as notes on the inquest of the young mans death, and use that as the main headline grabber to reel you in.

Described by his family and friends as a ‘loud and charismatic character that always seemed to be a bit of a ringleader’. It’s unlikely that even those who were closest to him, would have truly known what he was feeling.

Archie Day was found hanged in his room just hours after ‘sobbing uncontrollably’ after he had lost his mobile phone read the eye-catching headline, but losing his phone was probably the final straw and trigger of a cycle of depression and events that led to that tragic moment, where Archie decided to take his own life.

Misleading and over-exaggerated headlines like these, do not help the mainstream media’s defence of their depiction of men’s mental health. Whether it’s making light of male suicide for the sake of page views, or the shocking rise of false rape accusations against men whom are publicly named and demonised in the mainstream media, it’s very concerning that men are simply being fobbed off without any real concern or compassion, by women who are more interested in pushing a ‘toxic masculinity’ narrative that simply does not exist.

£5,287.67 has been raised on a Just Giving page set up by a friend in honour of Archie Day, with all proceeds going to Mind – The Mental Health Charity.

 

Story by Michael Lee

Featured Photo Source: LatestLY

 

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