The Privilege Myth

In 1991, Naomi Wolf wrote about female eating disorders in her book The Beauty Myth. She posed an interesting question which remained unanswered in the 2002 edition.

How would America react to the mass self-immolation by hunger of its favorite sons? How would Western Europe absorb the export of such a disease? One would expect an emergency response: crisis task forces convened in congressional hearing rooms, unscheduled alumni meetings, the best experts money can hire, cover stories in news magazines, a flurry of editorials, blame and counterblame, bulletins, warnings, symptoms, updates; an epidemic blazoned in boldface red. The sons of privilege are the future; the future is committing suicide.

Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth.  New York: HarperCollins, 2002. p.180

The real answer is simple: the country would do nothing.

Unlike Wolf's prediction, there is no panic or media frenzy. Men have always composed 80% of suicides and though the Irish University Times called the number of male youth suicides an epidemic five months ago, the world continues to not care.

The author of the article, Samuel Riggs, asked the pertinent question. “What is happening here? What is happening to the men of Ireland, that is causing this incredibly worrying high rate of suicide?” And only two comments were made, the first of which blamed the men for drinking too much alcohol.

Meanwhile, marches are held to stop violence “against women” at every opportunity. Endless charities exist to fund women's mental health, women's clinics, and women's shelters. Men are pressured to call themselves feminists and wear white ribbons to show they care about women. Young boys entering university are forced to attend anti-harassment seminars that imply all men are rapists and a single accusation from a woman can destroy their futures without benefit of a fair trial.

But no crisis task force has been formed to figure out why young boys are killing themselves. Not a single march, no Seanad hearings, and attempts to discuss the issues will be mocked with song.

Twenty three ago Naomi Wolf claimed that society would respond to male suicides. At the time she wrote her book, the epidemic already existed and, like usual, Wolf didn't bother to get her facts straight or actually research her book properly - and no one cared about that either.

Male suicide rates are the doorway to a dark cavern of ignored human misery. The reason no one noticed and no one has done anything about it is that men are not valued or protected the way we cater to women. We hear all the time about violence against women but we don't hear about violence against men for a simple reason: no one ever asks.

Well, almost no one. Welcome to Men's Human Rights Ireland.


Diana is a prolific writer and youtuber who is promoting mens rights in Canada.

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