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Man Up

Man Up

Over the past few months we've written posts about how "real men" suffer from depression, post-partum depression, and breast cancer. Now that the New York Times has published an op-ed piece about how "real men" suffer from the side effects of prostate cancer treatment, we're beginning to detect a pattern.

Apparently being ill in any form is just not macho in our culture, and seeking treatment is for sissies. A football player who tackled depression said he was embarrassed to admit he was sad to his locker room buddies. Doctors perform "pec checks" to lessen the awkwardness for men looking to get a breast exam.

This might explain why, according to WebMD and various other sources, men tend to only go to the doctor when they get to the point of being extremely ill.

What can or should we do as a culture to change this image in our society? Should we start by hiring the editors of Esquire or GQ to make over our nation's medical centers? Add Wii and Wi-Fi? What does it take to get you, or the man you love, to the doctor?

Posted: 11/21/08


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Alicia hit on a huge “hot button” for me. It makes my blood boil the way mental health issues are regarded in our society (and actually, we’re pretty good compared to other countries, so at least I’m thankful for that). I have a family health history of mental health illnesses. I regard it in the same way that I come from a family prone to heart disease. Does it mean I will end up with bipolar disorder or heart disease? No, but I know what risk factors to avoid. Mental illnesses are every bit as real and manageable as real illnesses, and it frustrates me to no end that people are 10 times more embarrassed to admit they have an anxiety disorder (men or women) than they are to admit they are diabetic. From my experience, it really does seem as if people think those who have a mental illness must have done something wrong to incur their condition. Just to give a concrete example of the discrimination mental health issues have seen: It has taken until this year for mental health coverage to be comparable to general health coverage in the eyes of the insurance companies. Better late than never though.


And then you have people like Tony Romo who don't go to work (play football) because of a broken pinkie finger.


I know it's amplified for men, but I feel like it's looked down upon to be sick for both sexes. It's like you did something wrong! And that's especially true for issues of the psyche. I wish this would change!

  • By aliciak
  • on 11/21/08 10:04 AM EST