The depressing future of men?

Science Daily for March 1, 2011 reports that researchers at Emory University have predicted that as this century progresses more and more men will be afflicted with psychological depression (this on top of the economic depression and woes with which the capitalist system will be afflicting all humans in the coming years).

Why are men about to fall victim to this affliction? Dr. Boadie Dunlop is quoted from the March issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry: "Compared to women," he writes, "many men attach a great importance to their roles as providers and protectors of their families. Failure to fulfill the role of breadwinner is associated with greater depression and marital conflict" (my emphasis -tr).

But surely we are beyond teaching boys and young men that their futures in this new century involve their being protectors and breadwinners? Women too play these roles and if men, "compared to women" think these roles are of "great importance" that is due to a rotten educational system as well as retrograde religious attitudes that downgrade the importance and person hood of women as compared to men.

According to Science Daily, since 2007 about 75 percent of the U.S. jobs lost have been those of men. Women have to become the "breadwinners" and, up from 4 percent in 1970, 22 percent of working women make more than their husbands. "Unfortunately," the magazine writes, "there is little reason for anyone to believe that traditional male jobs will return in significant numbers with economic recovery." The whole concept of  "traditionally male jobs" is wrong headed. It stems from a time when women were not allowed full participation in civil society.

The article continues, "Additionally, biological and sociological differences in men and women may make it harder for men to fit into the role of primary care provider to young children than most women."

Outside of nursing infants there are no biological differences in men that should make it difficult for them to act as primary care providers. As for "sociological differences"- these are the results of educational and economic conditions imposed upon us by society.

Dr. Dunlop seems to be aware of this as he says, "Men in the changing economy will face the same risks for depression that women faced in older economies: trapped in a family role from which they cannot escape because of an inability to find employment." He means inability to find employment in "traditionally male jobs."

The magazine also points out that depression regarding one's life circumstances is traditionally twice as great among women as among men, but that this may be about to change due to the new economic realities.

According to Dr. Dunlop, "The changing socioeconomic positions of the West could lead to prevalence in the rates of depression in men increasing, while rates in women decrease. Practitioners need to be aware of these forces of life, and be prepared to explore with their patients the meaning of these changes and interventions that might be helpful."

But as long as we have a capitalist economic system and an educational system based on patriarchal values, practitioners will have to gear themselves up to force human beings to  accept and fit into the world that the capitalists create.

But both men and women have another model of society for which they could strive. The socialist model is not only possible but is necessary in order for males and females to live a fulfilling and normal life without "depression" due to not living up to defunct role models.

Let me end with a quote from Simone De Beauvoir's great classic The Second Sex:

A world where men and women would be equal is easy to imagine because it is exactly the one the Soviet revolution promised: women raised and educated exactly like men would work under the same conditions and for the same salaries ... marriage would be based on a free engagement that the spouses could break when they wanted to ... birth control and abortion would be allowed ... maternity leave would be paid for by the society that would have responsibility for the children, which does not mean that they would be taken from their parents but that they would not be abandoned to them.

That the Soviet Union failed to completely create and sustain this world does that mean that other men and women in our time should not struggle to bring it about.

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  • I would be wary of articles that claim general increases or changes in the epidemiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). First, as an illness, MDD is diagnosed purely phenomenologically without any consideration for underlying causes, whether neurobiological, psychological, socioeconomic, or a mix of any of the above. Is it surprising to anyone that in an economic climate of diminished opportunities and dashed hopes, more people are experiencing core MDD symptoms of decreased motivation and/or depressed mood. Is it surprising that folks are feeling more generalized anxiety? Not that surprising. I am not sure if this means that there is an increase in the rates of depression. I am open to the possibility, but this issue has to be extensively examined. Second, one excellent reason for an increase in the incidence of MDD is clinician's improved skills and attention to diagnose it and treat it. The more depression is discussed in general society, the more it will be diagnosed, whether correctly or incorrectly.

    Posted by Flávio Casoy, MD, 04/04/2011 12:37am (4 years ago)

  • I was
    raised by women, a mother and grandmother, and
    I have no problem taking directions from women.Without
    a job cooking and doing dishes makes me feel better.
    I'm hurting for real factory job I've done other jobs or
    tried but I'm no salesmen. I used to feel wanted I'd apply
    and get a call the next day. Now as you know there are
    several workers per job and being 50 doesn't help. Plus
    now I have bad credit, no home, and 5 years at temp jobs
    which I'm told doesn't look good. I was asked at one
    interview "whats wrong with you, why are you not
    employed you have a great background". Good question,
    but it sounded like it went against me and I got no call
    back. I'll take anything now and that's the way capitalist
    like it. but working is the only cure for my pain American communist
    Dave
    New Haven, Ct.

    Posted by david w p roy, 04/03/2011 9:21pm (4 years ago)

  • I can't imagine why we should put a negative on the Soviet Union regarding a depression created by U.S.capitalists of Wall Street.Further more,there are millions that have been disenfranchised for life that will never recover from this economy.I can't imagine anyone ever finding work that's over 50 either.I really don't think people including communists realize how much distruction has really been caused to the psyche
    of workers men and women that are also facing a huge decline in our standard of living as well.

    Posted by Kelly McConnell, 04/02/2011 10:59am (4 years ago)

  • ""A world where men and women would be equal is easy to imagine because it is exactly the one the Soviet revolution promised: women raised and educated exactly like men would work under the same conditions and for the same salaries ... marriage would be based on a free engagement that the spouses could break when they wanted to ... birth control and abortion would be allowed ... maternity leave would be paid for by the society that would have responsibility for the children, which does not mean that they would be taken from their parents but that they would not be abandoned to them""

    Why bother with the family and being parents. Why not just shuffle all the children off to orphanages so paid proffessionals can raise them?

    Posted by Mr Conservative, 04/01/2011 8:56pm (4 years ago)

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