Men need safe spaces too, and here’s how to create one

December 23, 2021

‘’Men don’t like opening up’’ is a phrase used interchangeably with masculinity. But, we forget that men too are simple beings with a vulnerable side. Sadly, they’re expected to deal with struggles stoically. Do they like doing it? Probably not. They mightn’t even understand that what they are doing isn’t endurance, but repression. 

Men too are “to be handled with care” when it comes to emotions and they’re willing to open up under the right circumstances. 

However, many argue about the need for safe spaces for men. Authentically, 1 out of 2 men is prone to cancer and mental health disorders due to accumulated stress. In light of men’s mental health, Movember, an event focusing on men’s health, mental well-being, and suicide prevention was initiated. In November, men grow their beards to raise awareness.

This focuses on the ever-growing need for safe spaces for men. That’s why we’ve put together everything that a man can do to help other men open up.

Are men talking about it enough? 

The simple answer is: No. Right from an internet meme about safe spaces to family members shutting them out, men don’t have trusted outlets to pour their emotions. Particularly, men don’t open up in the fear that society might deem them as not man enough.

Do they like being emotionally vulnerable? 

For men, opening up means weakness and humiliation. But, when you put men together in a group, they are more confident, speak their minds, and are emotionally available.

Do they hold each other accountable?

We like to discuss or argue with the right people and men are no different. They hold each other accountable for their mistakes in society. Hence, safe spaces become necessary to talk about the threats caused by men and how to rectify them.

Why are safe spaces for men necessary? 

Eliminates toxic masculinity

Some men hate the idea of patriarchy and toxic masculinity. And then, there are men who embrace power and status. And when both are put together in the same room, they learn the art of righteousness. Safe spaces allow men to be emotionally vulnerable and turn toxic masculinity into positive reinforcement.

Reduces mental health disorders & suicides

We lose men 3.54 times higher than women. Being emotionally unavailable is one of the reasons why men succumb to suicide. In an interview, a rural man said, “Safe spaces help us have difficult conversations as men.” And that’s exactly what these spaces do. They build a foundation of trust that reduces mental health disorders and curbs suicide rates. 

Increases trust in other men 

Society has taught men to ‘’man up’’ and face their struggles. However, when there’s a safe space where they can talk about their darkest secrets, hideous fantasies, or their thoughts on masculinity, it changes their views on emotions. Additionally, it increases trust in other men and builds a confidential connection with the outside world.

How can men create safe spaces for other men?

Sharing experiences/stories

Giving men an environment that’s physically and mentally undisturbed will make it easier to talk about their stories. Letting them be themselves and creating a sense of openness will aid in further discussions.

Discussion meetings

In-person discussions are effective but social media is a wonderful place to talk to large numbers at once. Creating a group for emotional outbursts or discussing everyday issues will help keep a check on men’s mental health.

Mutual disclosure in a group setting

Jackson Katz, an author, and educator shared  “There is a need for men to build allies to talk about gender politics”

While discussions help form healthy relationships, the fear of being exposed stops many from sharing their views. For this reason, laying out the group guidelines in advance will build trust and allow for fearless discussions.

Sharing hobbies 

Men tend to bond over similar hobbies. Spending the day fishing or sky diving is a great way to know each other and open up conversations. 

Listening sessions

Men like the idea of diverse listening. Including people from different backgrounds and beliefs will encourage more of them to join the conversation.

Therapy sessions 

Sometimes, a one-on-one therapy session is more effective than a group meeting. This is because therapists are empathetic. This attribute makes it easier for men to talk about emotions to a trusted source rather than a group.

An initiative like heyy, helps weed out depression, insecurities, and more. If you or someone you know is suffering any form of mental health issues, here is a safe space to start.

Building safe spaces for men is paramount for their mental health. From feeling oppressed in a minority group to being queer, men need a space to be themselves and vent out. It not only evades toxic masculinity but also builds positive thinking and healthy emotions. 

 

Resources:

“Movember – About Us.” Movember, https://us.movember.com/about/cause#.

Campbell, Leah. “How Mental Health Stigma Affects Men.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 30 June 2019 https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-can-we-reduce-mens-mental-health-stigma

“On Movember, Let’s Address the Need of Creating Safe Spaces for Men – Changewire.” Changewire, 15 Nov. 2019, https://changewire.org/2019/11/15/on-movember-lets-address-the-need-of-creating-safe-spaces-for-men/.

“Op-Ed: Straight Men Need Safe Spaces, Too.” The Michigan Daily, 24 Sept. 2017, https://www.michigandaily.com/viewpoints/op-ed-straight-white-men-need-safe-spaces-too/.

 

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