All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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101 Things that make me happy (Part 03)

Previously, in Addy’s 101 Things that make me happy list:

| 1-35 | 36 – 52 |

serena-ryder

(61) Women with guitars; preferably when they know how to play them! :p

Unlike the last two installments in this epic list, which were entirely random, today I focus my attention on all things female. In fact, this section was so easy to write I’m thinking of putting together a ‘101 Things About Woman that Make Me Happy list’!

Hopefully no offense is taken, as none was intended! :p

53. Giving a woman an all-over body massage; preferably for at least 30-60 minutes.
54. Female writers; so much more emotive, descriptive and rewarding than (most) male writers.  
55. The female Scottish accent; shudder!
56. The female Canadian accent; swoon, eh!
57. Beavers; is there a cuter wood devouring animal on the planet? No, I didn’t think so! :p
58. The look a woman gets when someone tells her she’s nothing like her mother.  
59. When you’re talking to a woman about an encounter with a Like Like and they immediately (and enthusiastically) share their first encounter with one; FYI, this has only happened to me once!
60. Underwear; what? Seeing a woman in underwear makes me feel happiness in much the same way that seeing a man in underwear makes a woman feel happiness.
61. My Kink; granted it doesn’t *have* to involve women…but it’s so much more exciting when it does! :p
61. Women with guitars; preferably when they know how to play them! :p
62. Vagina; it’s the most beautiful word in the English language for a reason.
63. Women who refuse to be sucked into the ‘hair is evil, shave it all off’ fad; I just don’t get the ‘pre-pubescent schoolgirl’ look, it actually creeps me out!
64. Breasts; yep, last time I checked, I was indeed a man! :p
65. Any woman who despises the word “panties” to the point they’re willing to smack anyone who uses it! (Yes, I abhor this word, how did you guess?)
66. Re-enacting that Spider-Man kiss; yes, it doesn’t have to involve women, but as I’m heterosexual I’d prefer it did.
67. Having long, interesting, emotional conversations about anything and everything under the sun; something you just can’t do with (most) men.
68. Tickling; granted, it doesn’t *have* to involve women…but (like pretty much everything) they’re so much better at it than men! :p
69. Yes…I’m that obvious! Or should I say crass? :p

beaver

(57) Beavers; is there a cuter wood devouring animal on the planet? :p

~ Tomorrow: Given I’m an equal opportunities kinda guy,  ‘101 Things that make me happy: The Male Edition’ ~


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Thirteen female writers I’d like to see work on ‘Doctor Who’

Way back in 1997, when I was but a rather geeky high school student, I wrote an epic essay as part of my A-Level coursework analysing the somewhat dubious history of female representation in the television series Doctor Who. Although it was written in a mere 60 minutes the night before it was due, my rather rampant knowledge of the subject matter combined with the passionate voice with which I wrote, earned my essay an A+ and helped me scrape a pass in Media Studies.

Today, this essay exists only in the cobweb gathering files of the British Educational System, but the gist of the essay was basically: female representation in Doctor Who, with a few minor exceptions, has been pretty abhorrent since the shows innception. This needs to change!

Fortunately, since the shows revival in 2005, females characters have had a much better time than they did twenty to fifty years ago. Although far from perfect, it is a plesant change to have female character who actually do something beyond flashing a bit of leg or fuelling a variety of ‘spot the knickers’ drinking games.

Unfortunately, this change has not extended behind the scenes, as Mathilda Gregory recently wrote about in The Guardian:

“On Saturday, Doctor Who returns, kicking off the second part of the seventh series with a James-Bond inspired episode that sees the Doctor and Clara whizzing round London on a motorbike. Which is exciting if you like interesting drama with witty banter and thoughtful concepts. But less exciting if you like interesting dramas that include women on their writing teams.

Because season seven of Doctor Who will feature no female scribes at all. Not in the bombastic dinosaurs and cowboys episodes that aired last year, and not in any of the new episodes we’re about to receive. In fact, Doctor Who hasn’t aired an episode written by a woman since 2008, 60 episodes ago. There hasn’t been a single female-penned episode in the Moffat era, and in all the time since the show was rebooted in 2005 only one, Helen Raynor, has ever written for the show.

Isn’t that is a pretty terrible record for a flagship TV programme?”

One female writer in the last seven years. ONE!? There are no words to properly describe how disgraceful this is, especially given the vast array of tremendous female writers working within the television and film industry. Given that the writers seem to have difficulty writing three-dimensional female characters, it’s time to shatter the current sexism and let women take control of the TARDIS…but who?

In this first of two Doctor Who inspired Thursday Thirteen posts, I look at some of the female writers I believe should be writing for this television institution.

Thirteen female writers I’d like to see work on ‘Doctor Who

JLC Doctor Who

~ in no particular order ~

1. Felicia Day
Although best known as an actress (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Eureka, Supernatural, Dollhouse), Felicia Day is also the creator, writer and star of the magnificent Web TV show The Guild – for which she has won numerous awards for writing. This writing talent, coupled with her apparent love of genre television, makes her the perfect fit for a writing job on Doctor Who.

2. Jane Espenson
I have long admired Jane Espenson as one of the best writers in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. She wrote some of my favourite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Earshot, Triangle, Superstar, Conversations with Dead People) and one of my favourite episodes of Angel (Guise will be Guise). She co-created the Syfy series Warehouse 13 and has written for other seminal genre series, such as: Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, Once Upon a Time and Game of Thrones. All of this – in addition to her work on Doctor Who’s sister series Torchwood – means the question isn’t should she write for Doctor Who but why hasn’t she written for Doctor Who?

3.  Lena Dunham
Okay, this is the first of two odd choices on this list, but bare with me. Whatever your feeling toward the television show Girls (personally, I think it’s brilliant) you cannot deny what an exceptional writer Lena Dunham is. Although the genre of Girls is about as far removed from Doctor Who as you can get, she has already proved her ability to write terrific dialogue and characters, earning an Emmy nomination along the way, which is all I need to one-day hope to see a Lena Dunham scripted episode of my favourite television series.

4. Isobelle Carmody
Isobelle Carmody is one of the leading names in fantasy writing. She began work on the Obernewtyn Chronicles at the age of fourteen and since then has won numerous awards and international acclaim for her writing. As Neil Gaiman – another prolific writer of fantasy – has been given the opportunity to write for Doctor Who, I see no reason (unless she doesn’t want to, of course) why a writer of Carmody’s calibre shouldn’t be given the same opportunity. I for one, would cherish the chance to have her write for the show.

5. Abi Morgan
Doctor Who would be lucky to have a writer of Abi Morgan’s calibre working for the show. Over the last fifteen years, Abi Morgan has proven herself time-and-again to be one of the greatest writers currently working in British stage and screen. Her credits include the screenplays for the television dramas Sex Traffic, Tsunami: The Aftermath, Royal Wedding and Birdsong. For film, she wrote the screenplay for Brick Lane (adapted from the novel by Monica Ali) as well as multi-award winning films The Iron Lady and Shame. Most recently, she has earned acclaim for her BBC television series The Hour, set in the world of 1950s current affairs television.

6. Lucy Watkins
Although you may not immediately recognise the name, Lucy Watkins has been a considerable force in genre television writing for many years. Since co-creating and writing the cult classic Hex in 2004, Lucy Watkins has gone on to write for Merlin, Demons and Sugar Rush, consistently proving her writing skills within the medium of television.

7. Jessica Hynes
Having guest-starred in three episodes, Jessica Hynes has already accrued experience within the world of Doctor Who. This, in conjunction with her exceptional writing work on the television series SpacedLizzie and Sarah, Asylum and Learners, makes her a wonderful fit for the world(s) of The Doctor.

8. Amber Benson
Although perhaps best known for her role as Tara Maclay in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Amber Benson is also the acclaimed author of several novels and graphic novels as well as the writer and director of two feature films; Chance and Loves, Liars and Lunatics. A resume that reveals her to be more-than-capable of writing for Doctor Who.

9. Tina Fey
This is the second of my ‘odd choices’ on this list. Despite her critical acclaim, Tina Fey’s writing work has never strayed into the genre of science-fiction and fantasy. However, as with Lena Dunham (above), I see no reason why this would be a hinderance. She has a perfect grasp of character, dialogue and plot which, when all is said and done, is all one needs to write in any genre. Personally, I think I would have some form of aneurism if Tina Fey were ever to write for Doctor Who. So perhaps it’s best that it will likely never happen! :p

10. Alice Bell
When Alice Bell was twenty-one she wrote the screenplay for acclaimed Australian film Suburban Mayhem. Since then, she has gone on to write for such critically praised television series as The Slap (the adaptation of the Christos Tsiolkas novel), Puberty Blues (the 2012 adaptation of the quintessential coming-of-age novel of the same name) and Spirited (starring British actor/comedian Matt King). With such an impressive body of work, I would be more than happy to see her join Doctor Who’s writing team.

11. Anne Cofell Saunders
Anne Cofell Saunders began her career in television as assistant to the producers of the show 24. She wrote her first episode for this series in 2005 (Day 4: 7pm-8pm) before going on to write for such genre mainstays as Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Smallville and Chuck, consistently proving her knowledge of both the genre and masterful storytelling; the latter being something Doctor Who is (in my opinion) currently lacking.

12. Allison Adler
The fact that she wrote my personal favourite of Chuck is by-the-by, for over the last twenty years Allison Adler has worked extensively in the arena of television, writing and producing for shows ranging from Chuck and Family Guy to Beverly Hills 90210 and Glee. An exceedingly talented and more-than-qualified writer/producer for a show of Doctor Who’s calibre.

13. Dawn French
Before you furrow your eyebrows and proclaim you can’t imagine Dawn French writing for a science-fiction show, may I ask if you ever expected Richard Curtis (writer of comedic fare Love Actually, Notting Hill, The Vicar of Dibley and Four Weddings and a Funeral) to write one of the best Doctor Who episodes since its return in 2005? If a writer can write multi-layered characters, engaging dialogue and interesting stories – as Dawn French can definitely do – they are more than capable of writing for Doctor Who, regardless of what ‘genre’ they are most known for.

What do you think? Should the producers of Doctor Who employ more female writers?
If so, who would you like to see write for the show?


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Movie Monday: Where are all the female superheroes?

superheromontage

Captain America…Thor…The Incredible Hulk…Batman…Green Arrow…Iron Man…Spider-Man…Green Lantern…Ghost Rider…Green Hornet…Superman…so many superheros, so many testicles…yet so very few women!

Regardless of how much I enjoy superhero movies, the number of men with bulging biceps and throaty voices rushing around to save the world is seriously starting to annoy me. It seems that every month we have yet another superhero willing to put their penis on the line to prove, once and for all, that only men are capable of being the ‘hero’. That women, with the occasional bit-playing exception (Black Widow, Catwoman) are merely objects to be saved (and ultimately bedded) by the superior male gender.

What utter insulting, annoying, sexist crap!

With the influx of superhero movies over the last several years, I think it’s about time female superheroes started to get a better piece of the action. So for today’s Movie Monday, I present six female superheroes I’d like to see headline their own movie (and prove once and for all that women can – and do – save the world!)

Hawkgirl She-Ra Spider-Girl Squirrel Girl SupergirlTank Girl

Are you sick of the invasion of male superheroes and think it’s about time we had some kick-ass women saving the world?
If so, who would you like to see on-screen. If not, what exactly do you have against female superheroes?


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Day 05: Five things that irritate me about (some) men and women

~ This is a ‘leaving the toilet seat up’ free zone. Seriously, it takes like two seconds! ~

Yeah, I know, I’m a few days late. What with counselling sessions discussing my cacophony of voices, actual conversastions with my cacophony of voice, a rather anxiety infused Munch (I’ll get to that in another post) and three dream laden nights leading to a lack of sleep, I’ve been somewhat busy! :p

But here, better late than never, is day five in the 30 Day Blog Challenge…

Five things that irritate me about (some) women

Audrey Hepburn

(in no particular order)

1. Selective hypocrisy

A quote from The Punch:

“Imagine this new TV advertisement: A gorgeous, shapely young woman is mowing the lawn in the golden summer sunshine. She’s admired by some eager young men who roll a can of Diet Coke down the hill towards her. She stops mowing, and starts drinking the fizzy soft drink.

She gets some of it on her t-shirt so she removes it, revealing a toned midrift and huge rack enclosed in a sexy red bra. She keeps mowing with her top off in soft-focus slow-motion, closely watched by the guys. The soundtrack, of course, is Etta James’ “I just want to make love to you”.

I’ll bet there would be a huge outcry if any soft drink maker dared to make an ad like that these days.

So why does no one care when this exact ad is made starring a muscle-clad man and his tanned, six-pack torso being admired by a gaggle of perving women?”

Couldn’t agree more.

If this advert had been made as hypothesized above it would have been headline news. Dozens of articles would have been published attacking the blatant sexism and misogyny within the advertising sector, calls would be made to have the advert banned for all eternity and women would be (rightly) up in arms over the continual objectification and sexualisation in society.

But hey, it’s a group of women perving on a naked man, so that’s perfectly acceptable.

Nothing hypocritical about this in any way, shape or form.

2. Women who don’t listen to what the men in their lives are saying

Quite often you hear complaints concerning how men don’t listen to what the women in their lives are saying – but you do realize that it happens the other way around as well, don’t you?

And it’s really bloody irritating!

3. The 21st century fad for grown women to make themselves look like pre-pubescent school girls

Why are so many women buying into the ‘no pubic hair=beautiful’ bollocks? For the love of everything and anything you believe in, let the garden’s grow. Pubic hair is awesome. It’s gorgeous. It’s beautiful. Even those little rogue hairs that have decided to venture out to your naval are spectacular :p

I know a woman’s body is her own and she can do with it whatever she pleases, it just irritates me that so much beauty is being tossed into the garbage affixed to sticky wax strips.

4. Women who list ‘has a mental health problem’ as a dealbreaker.

Would you turn down Kurt Cobain? Stephen Fry? Russell Brand? Johnny Depp?

Thought not.

So find a way to move past your prejudices and stop being such a discriminatory ass!

5. There’s nothing less sexy/attractive/beautiful than a man who cries.

Okay, you do realize the blatantly obvious, don’t you? Or do you think you’re sexy/attractive/beautiful when you’re bawling your eyes out? Because let me break it to you gently…you’re not!

Crying is an emotional response, quite often one you can’t control. And there is nothing wrong with a man showing his emotions – in fact it should be encouraged, not discouraged.

Unless he’s crying over the end of Monsters Inc., because that’s just a bit weird ;)

Five things that irritate me about (some) men

johnny-depp

(in no particular order)

1. Manscaping

You’re a man. You’re supposed to have body hair. Stop eliminating it and start embracing it!

2. Being in possession of a vagina does not make someone incapable of stringing sentences together.

There is nothing more irritating than a man who refuses to read books written by female authors.

If you think these men don’t exist, you’re wrong. Back in the mid-2000s I recommended a book by author A.L Kennedy to a male friend. By the time he was mid-way through the book his comments were “loving it” and “what a brilliant writer this guy is”. When I corrected his use of gender he immediately stopped reading the book and was annoyed I’d ‘entrapped’ him into reading such ‘female-centric’ garbage.

Seriously.

Get over your pathetic misogyny and start realizing how magnificent the work of female writers can be.

Why not start with: Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Isobelle Carmody, Helen Garner, A.L Kennedy, Nicola Barker, Ali Smith, Toni Morrison, Ursula K. Le Guin, Susan Cooper, Margaret Atwood, Mary Shelley, Zadie Smith, Leigh Redhead, Robin Bowles, Diana Wynne Jones, Arundhati Roy, Maya Angelou, Angela Carter, Jeanette Winterson or Marisha Pessl – to name but twenty-three off the top of my head!

3. Admitting your mistakes doesn’t make you less of a man – it makes you more of a man.

You’re not a God who has decided to take a vacation on this most random of planets. You’re a human being. And as a human being you make mistakes. You do things wrong. You fuck up. Frequently!

So be a goddamn man and admit to them – apologise for them – and learn from them.

It’s not that difficult.

4. Men who list ‘has a mental health problem’ as a dealbreaker.

Would you say no to Audrey Hepburn? Sarah McLachlan? Catherine Zeta Jones? Angelina Jolie?

Thought not.

So find a way to move past your prejudices and stop being such a discriminatory ass!

5. Misogyny

Seriously, invent a time machine and travel back to the dark ages where you belong. Oh, I forgot, you’re too busy blaming women for all the problems in your life to do anything that even remotely resembles hard work!

So I guess we’re stuck with you until someone (most likely a woman) invents such a machine.

Is there anything about either gender that really gets on your goat?
Feel free to vent/moan/whinge in the comments field below :)

Next: The person I like and why I like them


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Day 03: What kind of person are you attracted to?

celebrity crushes_1-tileIn all honesty, I’ve always disliked questions like this; purely because there is no one type of person that I’m attracted to.

Casting a cursory glance over some of the celebrities I crush on (Karen Gillan, Vanessa Hudgens, Helen Mirren, Anjli Mohindra, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Lenora Crichlow) reveals a range of ages, colours and nationalities. Even comparing the women I’ve been in relationships with – and those whom I could have been in relationships with – reveal very few physical similarities.

In fact, the only thing they all have in common, is the only thing that attracts me to someone; their ‘energy’.

So however ‘new age’ that answer may sound, and however much it may make everyone groan, it’s really the only one I have.

When I first met Louise on that windswept Hebridean Island, I loved that she was shamelessly wearing every item of clothing she possessed to combat a cold she wasn’t used to. Many would have been too embarrassed or insecure to do such a thing, but not her. I loved that, hours after having met, upon hearing me sigh ‘fuck me’ under my breath (as an expression of exhaustion and my desire to retire to bed) she responded with a whispered ‘yes, please’; completely (and naughtily) aware I would hear her.

It was a similar confident, self-assured intelligence that drew me toward Kathy, Diane, Annie and Rachel. All are/were woman who knew exactly who they were and steadfastly defended their opinions and beliefs.

For example, Samantha, unlike me, had pushed past the insecurities of her sexual proclivity and embraced it. She didn’t care about what other people thought, whether they considered her ‘evil’, ‘repulsive’ or ‘an enemy to feminists’. She cared only about being true to herself and the desires that burned within her.

So if you came here hoping I would be waxing lyrical over my love of a woman’s eyes, writing reams of text describing my passion for the female posterior or concocting some fantasized wish list for my ‘perfect’ (i.e. doesn’t exist) woman, I’m sorry to disappoint you.

The simple truth is, all the women I’ve been attracted to – be it on a platonic or sexual level – have all been strong, intelligent, driven human beings. Women who refuse to be bound by the sexist demands of society and are not afraid to fight for all they believe in. The sort of women that men’s rights extremists (MREs) seem to be so afraid of.

 

Tomorrow: What I wear to bed?
(where we’ll find out if I can turn such a simple question into an interesting and insightful post!)


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We need to work together to end violence against women

There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

My thoughts today are not only with Jill Meagher and her family, but with the poor, homeless and Indigenous Australian women who have experienced violence and abuse that went un-noticed and un-reported, to the shame of us all.

There is much I could write about the tragic events that unfolded in Melbourne this week, but I will leave it to the professionals who voice my opinions far better than I am able.

Can we please stop blaming the victim?
The only thing we have to fear is being female
Women have the right to feel safe
Reclaiming the night

Resources

UNiTE
Unite to end violence against women

V-Day
A global movement to end violence against women and girls

White Ribbon
Working to prevent violence towards women. Take the white ribbon pledge today.
Australia
Canada
United Kingdom
New Zealand

 


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On Being Male: Men and Mental Health

There are many things in life that annoy me; society’s inherent desire to label someone based on one aspect of their personality, chocolate bars gradually shrinking in size whilst increasing in price, badly written novels that become worldwide sensations, the Australian media, the continual discrimination of the mentally ill, scratched library DVDs and Alan Jones.

But the biggest annoyance in my life is the continual repetition of the ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ trope.

Personally, and until someone proves otherwise, men are from Earth, Women are from Earth and instead of endlessly stereotyping perhaps we should just accept people for who they are, what they think and just be done with it.

As the Australian media continues its fetishistic obsession with these contradictory stereotypes I’m reminded of a post I wrote in November 2007. Although I was not at my coherent best at the time – curse you mood swings – this post has always been a particular favourite of mine. If only for the first italicised paragraph.

Thus, beginning my quest to clean up and repost a selection of my original posts, I present On Being Male: Men and Mental Health.

On Being Male: Men and Mental Health

I have a confession to make.

I do.

I’ve been lying to you all.

I’ve been lying to everyone for the last 28 years, 11 months, 3 weeks and lord knows how many seconds! Now, a week or so before my 29th birthday I have decided to come clean, stand up and confess. If it leads to a spanking for flagrant fibbing then so be it! It has to be done, no question about it, can’t keep up these lies any more.

OK.

Here goes…

[deep breath]

I
am
NOT
a
MAN!

[blimey that feels good!]

It’s like this fifty-eight thousand tonne weight has been lifted off my somewhat hairy back. It’s true though – I’m not a man. It’s perfectly understandable why you’d all think so, what with the presence of a beard, chest hair, rippling muscles, an Adam’s apple, a penchant to get a hard-on at the mere passing thought of a naked woman, and the ability to turn into a raving ape at the actual sight of a naked woman…and oh yeah, I’ve got a penis.

But alas, I am not a man.

Why?

Well…

I don’t feel the desire to – when ratarsed – piss in shop doorways; I don’t wolf whistle at woman as they walk down the street; I don’t chug pints of beer as a hobby; nor do I watch sports [breath] I don’t shag other women when I’m in a relationship; I remember birthdays and anniversaries and all sorts of grossly inappropriate important events; I never leave the toilet seat up nor do I feel the need to play the “I can get less urine in the bowl than you” game [breath] I think beer tastes like luke-warm yak’s vomit; I don’t feel the need to lie to a woman constantly in order to (a) impress her (b) cheat on her or (c) bang her; I don’t play football nor receive ridiculously pseudo-erotic pleasure from watching guys running around a field in tight shorts but I do however receive ridiculously pseudo-erotic pleasure from watching a man in a waistcoat screw a ball the length of the table [breathe] I see woman as more than just t-a-c; don’t keep a tally of how many lays I’ve had; I drink alcopops…in public…have never vomited into a pint glass; stolen a witch’s hat; got into a fight; screwed my girlfriend’s best friend nor would I no matter how tempted I may be [breathe] I’d never slap a woman in the face; nor on the ass as a means of coming on to her [smaller breath] I would never give a woman a job based solely on the quality of her posterior; nor get into a discussion about rating my friends’ tits on a 1-10 scale; I wouldn’t scribble 100 words for a woman’s sacred garden above the urinals in the pub…sacred garden? You need more proof? Fine…my mood changes frequently; I talk about my emotions; am not afraid to cry if I want to; nor even when I don’t [breath] I want babies; I want commitment; I like living somewhere where I can see the carpet; I’ve never measured my cock when I’m alone; when I’m talking to a woman I look at her eyes; I really don’t see the appeal of a g-string; think cricket is bloody stupid; and would much rather be sitting on a beach talking to a woman about the pros and cons of John Howard than sitting on a beach staring at her arse [breath] I really don’t see why women need to shave their legs; or their armpits; or their moustache and to be blunt would much rather sleep with someone with a bush hairier than a badger’s back than a bald bush smoother than that of a prepubescent schoolgirl; oh, and I care more about women’s orgasms than I do my own, colour me selfish that way [breath] I have no problem ballroom dancing with another man; I have no problem hugging another man; I have no problem talking emotionally with another man; I have no problem crying in front of another man; I have no problem going to see a Doctor if I’m sick; nor do I have a problem with eating an egg and broccoli quiche whilst asking for directions from a man chowing down on a steak sandwich; and oh yes, I admit to making mistakes.

[breathe]

[before I pass out]

Bloody hell I could go on all day, but hey, the easiest way to prove my twenty-nine year-long deception – I have no problem with standing up before the whole world and announcing: I suffer from mental illness!

[oh]

[hang on]

Little embarrassing, I seem to have made a mistake.

Sorry.

I am a man.

A hell of a man!

Because to be a man is to be one thing: courageous.

To have the courage to…

cry whilst watching Bambi; actually ask for help from the female shop assistant when buying lingerie for your girlfriend; talk about vaginas, tampons and hormones with your girlfriend without passing out; order quiche in the restaurant; actually buy lingerie your girlfriend would like and feel sexy in rather than something you want to see the female shop assistant wear for you; tell your girlfriend if you’ve had a fight with your best mate; cry whilst eating the best piece of tofu you’ve ever tasted; nervously shake when you kiss a woman for the first time; say no to your girlfriend’s best friend when she’s seducing you in the nuddy; realize sport is a complete waste of your life; that pissing in doorways just makes you look like a twat; take your girlfriend’s tampon out of her bag and give it to her without treating it like a live hand grenade; nervously shake when you kiss a woman for the first time badly; ask where her clit is & if there’s anything you’re doing wrong; cry if you’re feeling upset; not hit the first thing you see if you’re drunk, angry or stupid; say ‘I love you’ in circumstances that don’t involve blow jobs; nervously shake when you kiss a woman for the first time badly and then joke about it afterwards; not always follow your penis’ every request; admitting to how you’re feeling; follow your beliefs no matter what they may be or how derisive your friends are being; not always cum first and then fall asleep; put the toilet seat down; go to the Doctor; tell your girlfriend you have a problem; hell, tell any of your friends that you have a problem.

Being a man is having the courage to stand up and admit that you have a mental illness and not care what anyone thinks.

[And I’m not just saying that because I’m a man who is doing this same exact thing]

That one simple word is what being a man is. It’s what being a woman is. Because ultimately, when stripped down, genitals aside, we’re all equal. Believing in yourself so much that you don’t care what other men or women think of you. If other men can’t handle it, then, they don’t deserve that beer they pretend to like so much. If women can’t handle it, then, remember that the most important thing is the emotional connection you have, not how many or how often you’ve shagged.

Quality, not quantity.

This insipid culture we now live in where a man is considered to be weak, worthless and spineless because he admits to having a mental illness is what is costing lives. More men die from suicide every year than women. More men go through life in mental pain than women. Why? Because they’re too afraid to admit they have a problem. Why? Because they don’t have the courage to stand up to the fear, derision and masculine stripping vilification they will receive from all corners if they do. Why? Well, that’s just because everyone’s decided what a man should be instead of realizing they are – like women – human. Men don’t come from Mars any more than women don’t come from Venus (and just for the record, you don’t have to like visiting Uranus to be man).

One of the purest forms of the stigma against mental health is also one of the vilest forms of stigma out there; sexism. And however controversial this may sound, it’s being propagated by women just as much, if not more so, than by men.

Women desire men to be men and this means not having flaws or problems or weaknesses.

In order for a man to be accepted they must act in this way regardless of how they’re feeling.

For we wouldn’t want to be weak now would we!

In a discussion on mental illness I was once told by someone that they could believe and accept in the existence of a woman suffering from depression, but could not believe that a man would have “any reason to be unhappy”. In other words, women are allowed to suffer from a mental health problem, but in men it’s seen as a weakness, a trait to be avoided, ignored, derided and laughed at.

Is it any wonder why so many men are blowing their heads off or chucking themselves off bridges?

Tell me, what’s more courageous?

1. Bottling up all of your emotions so that a woman can respect you – only to have your brains redecorate your office courtesy of the gun in your mouth?

or
2. Admitting to a woman that you have a problem, and talking about it. Even if it means there’s a chance you’ll never visit her sacred garden again?

Yep, you’re right.

If it’s true that a woman can’t be attracted to a man who cries, then there is something seriously wrong with the world we live in. Men have feelings, men feel pain, men hurt – and they should be allowed to show all this without recrimination.

Women need to realize this.

Men need to realize this.

We all need to realize this.

— — —

This post was originally written in November 2007. Even though it’s been five years and I was somewhat unstable at the time I’ve always enjoyed this post tremendously and still believe it’s relevant today.

However, I’m happy to point out that in the last five years progress has been made in the area of men and mental health.

First and foremost is a fantastic website call Soften the Fck Up (a play on the old stereotype that men should just harden the f**k up) which is chock full of articles, personal stories and information regarding help and assistance.

Secondly, there has been an increase in awareness of the Mensline help line. Although not specifically aimed at mental health, it’s one of the only help lines that specifically targets men and encourages them to seek help instead of bottling up their problems.

Thirdly, the Movember movement has steadily grown over the last few years to become more known and widespread.

Each of these – as well as other initiatives that encourage men to speak out – are all welcome and needed. Sooner or later it will finally be accepted that men have just as much right to feel emotions as a woman does, and rather than punishing men who do, it should be encouraged.