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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DCU chapter.

With the month of November comes ‘Movember’, a yearly event where men grow a moustache throughout the month to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate and testicular cancer as well as men’s suicide. 

An important issue that is crucial to raise awareness for, is men’s mental health, considering the stigma surrounding the topic due to societal expectations and traditional gender roles. Men are taught from a young age and reminded that they must be ‘strong’ and suppress their emotions.  Throughout a man’s life they are told, when showing their emotions, that ‘boys don’t cry’ and to ‘man up’ and ‘grow a pair of balls’. 

The compressing of these natural emotions birth toxic masculinity in some. Here, men become aggressive and punish those who do not conform to what it means to be a ‘man ‘in their eyes. This might be through physical or emotional abuse. 

Certain males are marked as easy targets, whether that is because of their weight, sexuality, religion, or race. Those who are bullied often stay silent and struggle alone. As we all know bullying and suicide, unfortunately, have a direct and strong link. One man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 75% of all suicides.

At the start of November, an Instagram page called ‘Love Ireland’ was made. It is an online, virtual spin-off of the ‘Love Island’ TV series. The page was made for fun by Ross Hogan, who did not expect for it to get as much attention as it has.

Since the show started, it immediately attracted hate. The derogatory comments left on the page’s livestreams became homophobic, racist, and certain contestants were personally attacked. The live streams were flooded with hate. 

Ross who is only 15, has since received death threats, has been told to kill himself and has gotten countless hate comments and direct messages. While Ross explained that hate directed toward him comes from both males and females, it is predominantly from older males.

Conveniently, several of the profiles commenting such horrible things were growing a moustache or running 100km to raise awareness for men’s mental health. 

Irish people tend to be quick to categorize and label each other. If you are wearing a full grey tracksuit, you’re called a knacker. If a man dresses in a feminine way he’s called gay. If a girl is wearing too much makeup, she is called a traveller. These labels are unjust and offensive. 

As a traditional and conservative country, those who are different and do things that are not considered mainstream are singled out and given a label. We should work towards accepting each other and the different branches people venture into.

There are so many men who carry this toxic masculinity, who preach men’s mental health throughout Movember yet leave hateful remarks on social media towards men (and women). Why? Just as mentioned earlier, they punish those who do not conform to the standards of being a ‘man’. They only preach mental health awareness for the men they consider worthy. 

That is not what Movember is about. You are raising awareness for ALL men. Whether you disagree with their choices, dislike the content they produce or the person they are. 

Consider why you preach mental health awareness for some and not others, and work on fixing that. Look out for each and every person’s mental health, regardless of who they are. Stand up for people when you see bullying or hateful comments directed towards them. They are somebody’s child, parent or loved one.

-Communication studies student
BA in Economics, Politics and Law DCU. Currently studying European Union Law in The University of Amsterdam. Campus Correspondent for Her Campus DCU 2020/2021!