Last week, Unified published an opinion piece on why a Men’s officer should NOT exist. Now, Thomas Marchelak wants to argue for the other side…
Until the past week, I was oblivious to the fact that a University of West of England (UWE) had introduced ‘liberation’ roles. One of these included a Men’s Officer role.
This was followed by a smattering of praise and a widespread barrage of abuse, both internally and on social media.
Personally, I’ve found the reactions to be ignorant, dismissive and ultimately belittling to the pressures and constraints a modern man may feel.
UWE is not the only students union to have a ‘men’s officer’, it won’t be the last. it’s something uslees at best (much better to have a strong & radical welfare and mental health campaign) and actively dangerous at best
— ameliaargh ? (@joan0fsnark) 22 October 2018
The reactions? Trolling. Bullying by any name. It has already quickly led to the resignation of UWE student James Knight, the only candidate for the Men’s Officer role – who received abuse and even death threats online.
He told the BBC: “To me that was for fighting for men’s mental health, particularly because of the young male mental health epidemic that we have in the UK and in the Bristol area.
“We have a huge problem where young men are not coming forward to talk about their mental health and that’s led to a high rate of young men taking their lives.”
He’s not wrong.
Far and away, across all ages, suicide is a huge issue for men in this country. Having experienced these issues first hand, it sticks in the teeth.
It is an insidious, all consuming mantra that a man doesn’t show ‘weakness’ prevalent in all age groups across the population.
To focus solely on this, however, is an attempt at sidetracking and boxing the issue…
Somewhat coincidentally, the majority of voices in opposition to this post will not be male. Disappointing, really. We are supposed to stand unified for equality and to fight discrimination in all its forms.
In this age we are moving towards the importance of individualism and identity but to want representation as a man and we’re back to the idea of men being the established power. The group that is essentially alluded to as an enemy of personal freedoms. It’s bigoted and we should expect more.
An issue of men not being a minority and not needing a voice because they’re ‘always heard’ is common retort in this argument. As I, myself, found in the forum from which I first saw this story. Unified reports UCAS statistics that women outnumber men at university.
Take a straw poll and you’ll find distinct issues that would benefit from representation:
Time off to transition into fatherhood, custody rights or legal status.
According to CHAIN Report of Greater London, 85% of rough sleepers are men. More than 1 in 3 of these are aged between 18-35.
Mankind found that 8.8% of men have been a victim of domestic abuse since the age of 16, and that they are over three times more likely not to report abuse. If they do they are only 1 in 10 feel able to go to the police.
From a disparity in awareness and funding for testicular and prostate cancers to issues with fertility and impotence.
Ultimately I guess my point is there is a need to talk. Directly or indirectly, men are isolated from support and kinship or feel shame in reaching out. Just like anyone else we need someone to stand up for us.