Tag Archives: pressure

Boys Do Cry

Being male doesn’t make you invincible. It doesn’t mean you’re made of rock, of ice, unfeeling and solid. Men can hurt, men can suffer, men can break. Men can be insecure about their bodies, worried about their futures, cut up over losing partners and friends. They cry and bleed, they drink too much and for the wrong reasons, take drugs, stripe their arms and legs with scars, throw themselves off buildings or in front of buses and trains. Being male doesn’t save them from sadness, from depression and anxiety, from helplessness. Gender identity doesn’t dictate how much someone feels.

But it can, and often does, dictate how we respond.

Men are actually 3.5 times more likely to take their own lives than women.

We leave men isolated, assume they will be fine, dismiss their feelings, attack their masculinity for experiencing human emotions: ‘Man up,’ ‘Don’t be such a pussy,’ ‘Grow a pair.’ The stiff-upper-lip doctrine is still thrust on men from a young age. Be isolated. Hide your tears. Suffer alone. Give everyone else the impression that you’re fine, unruffled. There’s a brave boy. Because bravery is solitude, seeking help is shameful and weak, and you must prove your masculinity, that you are somehow inherently stronger than women, by going through everything alone, when they would never be expected to.

This has to stop. All people can suffer, and there’s nothing shameful about that. We need to make it clear to all our friends, all our loved ones, regardless of gender, that we are here for them. We need to stop shaming people for feeling, shaming people for hurting, and shaming people for asking for help.

We must abandon this insane, poisonous myth that men must be invincible, and encourage everyone around us to care for others, and allow themselves to be cared for.

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Bare-Faced Honesty

When I was little, I had a little set of children’s eyeshadow. Colourful and intensely sparkly, I would scoop great globs of it onto my finger and smear it over my cheeks and forehead. A particularly brash red and purple shade of gunk would often find its way into my hair.

When little children play around with make up, they, yes, invariably look absolutely ridiculous by the end of it, but I feel that they get the point of it far more than most adults. Or what the point of it should be, anyway. Makeup, no matter how loudly the cosmetics companies may shout to the contrary, is not a necessity: it is an extra, one of those frivolous, superfluous things that are inarguably not of any practical value. And I really do think that useless things should be enjoyable in some way.

None of us should feel ashamed to leave our homes without our true faces buried six feet under in foundation, or shy away from letting strangers see us with our eyes less defined than we’d like; with paler lashes; with less full lips. We shouldn’t wear make up out of fear, but out of fun. We should be batting our mascaraed lashes with glee and flicking the edges of our eyeliner with a sense of fun and frivolity – or else what’s the point? Why go to all that time and effort if you don’t enjoy wearing it? There is nothing wrong with your natural face, and it shows that something is very wrong when so many women are ashamed of theirs.

We may no longer slather our faces in red and purple glitter, and, as we grow older, I reckon that’s pretty understandable. But our attitude to make up should still be the same. Instead of slapping on your foundation like a mask, put on your make up like you’re sat, four years old, with glitter in your hair and a big gappy grin on your face.

Or don’t put it on at all.

Also, I found these articles on the topic of make up:
http://www.disruptivewomen.net/2013/05/27/stripping-our-masks-redefining-attractiveness-and-questioning-social-pressure-to-wear-makeup/
http://jezebel.com/5972605/when-is-wearing-makeup-a-choice

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