Men are not Human Beings

“Men are not human beings, they are human doings.” – Warren Farrell, Ph.D.

Society judges a man based upon what he “does”. His profession and his ability to provide for others defines his worth.

If he has a high-paying job, society considers him a valuable man – so long as he is willing to give his resources to others. Don’t you dare be a successful bachelor that wishes to remain a bachelor.

Society socializes men from birth to internalize this thought process about themselves. This is why men so often identify as their profession. And, if a man is unable to attain a high-status job, he’s taught to risk his personal safety in order to secure resources for others. This latter type of man works a dangerous (or otherwise undesirable) job to make enough money to provide for his family. This is his other option to feel like a “good man” according to society’s standards.

So, what’s the problem with this paradigm?

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There are two very important and negative implications. First, this view of men turns a human into nothing more than a resource. Society only values him if he’s “doing” something for others. This leads to a widespread belief in the disposability of men – they are a resource that can be used up.

And, what do you do with a tool that no longer works and doesn’t provide you value? You throw it away. It’s now worthless. 

This brings us to the second implication: men lose their identity when they lose their job. Similarly, they lose their identity when their status as protector/provider is taken from them.

Let’s explore these two implications a little further, starting with the problem of turning men into a disposable resource.


Men as a disposable resource


Dr. Warren Farrell, quoted above, writes about three male-only drafts.

First, is the responsibility to register for the Selective Service. This is the system used to draft men into serving in times of war, which is conscription.

The second is the draft of being an unpaid bodyguard. Society socializes men from a young age to risk their lives to assist others, especially women and children. And, it’s not just that man’s wife or his children that he is expected to protect. The expectation is that he will come to the aid of any woman or child in need and give his life if so required.

The final male-only draft is the draft of men to all the hazardous jobs. Men do the vast majority of all hazardous jobs. For example, 99% of firefighters, 98% of construction workers, and 97% of coal miners are men.

Failure of a man to submit to any of these drafts will result in serious consequences. In a best-case scenario, he will be shamed and ostracized. In a worst-case scenario, he will face legal consequences; that would be the result of failing to register for the Selective Service.

These three male-only drafts serve as a clear message to men: you’re disposable. Your life is less valuable than a woman’s and you need to be ready to give your life in order to protect her and provide for her. This, we’re told, is an honorable way to live. This, we’re told, is our duty to society.

And this, I posit, is a load of crap.

Men are not simply a resource to be used up by an ungrateful society. Throughout most of history, men were at least given honor and respect for the incredible and unilateral sacrifices they made for society.

Nowadays, male sacrifice is just expected – there is no honor or respect given to men for their sacrifice. This is part of the reason many men are refusing to go along with the old paradigm of man as disposable resource.

And, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not advocating for a continuation of male disposability in exchange for honor and respect – that was never a fair deal for men. I advocate for a society that no longer teaches male disposability.

Men lose their identity when they lose their job or status as protector/provider

We socialize men to make their job and their protector/provider status their identity. Men can’t simply exist for themselves. They must be serving some function for someone else.

He’s not John, an honest man that enjoys reading; he’s John, the doctor, and husband to Jane.

He’s not Bill, the guy that loves photography and working out; he’s Bill, the oil field worker that risks death and serious injury to make enough money to provide a good life for his girlfriend and her child.

As stated before, this socialization leads men to believe they’re only valuable as a resource to others. But, what happens when Jane divorces John and takes his three children and his home away from him? What happens when Bill hurts his back at work and can no longer work in the oil field, or at any other job?

These men will face an existential crisis. Their status and value to society has plummeted. They may not see themselves as inherently valuable any more.

John lost his wife and kids to divorce, and with that, he lost an important part of his identity. He will now have to give up at least half of his assets to his ex. He will also have to provide child support and alimony to a woman that most likely broke her vows (the vast majority of divorces are filed by women).

The state has officially taken his role since the state will enforce his servitude to his wife and put him in jail if he doesn’t live up to whatever the judge decides to “award” his ex. This scenario oftentimes destroys a man’s sense of self.

He feels totally trapped. He is now beholden to a woman that holds all the cards but has absolutely no responsibility to him. This also means he has no official status (husband, provider, or protector), but he’s still responsible to provide for this woman as he did while he was married.

Bill is in no better shape.

He was only valuable to his girlfriend (common law wife) because of what he provided for her and her illegitimate son. But, he can’t work that high-paying and dangerous oil field job anymore.

His identity as protector and provider is gone in the blink of an eye.

In a best-case scenario, his girlfriend just leaves him. In a worst-case scenario, she uses the legal system to steal half his assets and extort child support and alimony from him.

He didn’t realize the state would treat him as a married man even though he never actually married that woman or adopted her child.

In both of these scenarios, these men lose that thing that they believe is their primary function in life.

It’s devastating!

This is a big part of the reason that men are so much more likely to commit suicide than women. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) says that American men are almost 4 times more likely to commit suicide than their female counterparts.

Tell this fact to a woman and observe her reaction. She will most likely not even feign concern.

For a man, losing his job or losing his status as a provider/protector, is a major factor associated with suicide. A 2015 study on suicide revealed several important risk factors associated with suicide: 1) a period of depressed mood, 2) unhelpful stoic beliefs, 3) social isolation, and 4) a personal stressor, such as unemployment or a relationship breakdown. 

John and Bill will deal with all four of these risk factors. Very likely, both will have suicidal thoughts at some point. One of them will possibly act on those thoughts.

Conclusion

Changing this view of men will start with, you guessed it, men.

How do we fix this issue?

First, we need to reject the idea that we’re a disposable resource. Second, we need to teach other men this same message.

For too long, we’ve been complicit in spreading this belief system to new generations of men. Third, we must reject the idea that we are our job title. We are men first. We’re not simply someone else’s protector, and personal bank account.

Its time men live for themselves and for their own benefit. The old way of living to serve everyone else is over.

Take back your life and take back your identity.


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  • Juan Z says:

    A good friend of mine retired from the military last year after serving for twenty two years. His identity centered around being a soldier and being a husband and father. His wife divorced him after he retired and took his home and teenage kids. He also lost half of pension to her as well.

    His loss of identity crushed him and started a downward spiral. He ended up taking his own life.

    Guys, realize you can be fired at any time and that most of your “romantic” relationships are only temporary. Don’t dedicate your entire life to either.

  • Dave S says:

    Very good points!

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