Am I just victimizing myself?

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FestiveFestoon
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Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by FestiveFestoon »

I don't know how this works but, here we go

last year I used to be on tiktok and instagram all the time. and, feminism something important to me, I used to follow many feminism pages and stuff.

anyways, after a while, some of these feminist pages would always say something about men being evil, or inferior, gross. and that attraction to men is disgusting and that men should die off already and I just.

I cant take it, ive been told that if I find those things offensive, I'm just downplaying women's struggles and that I'm stupid for feeling like that or something, and that it's inherently something wrong with me.

anyways, these sorts of things have been really affecting me lately, ever since last year to now, I've recently started self harming, I just hate myself so much for being a man, and I feel like I'm disgusting for 1) being man 2) being mostly attracted to men 3) and feeling like I'm hated by everyone. 4) I feel like I'm just a pure asshole, the worst person ever, because I'm invalidating the very valid and very real struggles that women face because of the patriarchy.

some of my friends have also been saying similar things, "men are vile" "men are disgusting". apparently it's meant to be a form of venting, but I just get so sensitive about how others view me. What's really going on?

this also ties in with the fact that I don't really fit the definition of a man that the patriarchy imposes on to me. this has been on my mind for so long l, am I just trying to guilt trip people, or get people to feel sorry for me???

just to be clear, I am in now way saying feminism is bad, but I've been radfem ideology popping up more and more and I just feel like I'm inherently evil and deserve to die?

am I in the wrong for feeling like this?

how do I deal with these emotions healthily?

and

how can I confront my friend without invalidating their very real experiences??

can I still be a feminist if I am a cis man? or am I just whining about something that isn't real?
FestiveFestoon
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by FestiveFestoon »

FestiveFestoon wrote:I don't know how this works but, here we go

last year I used to be on tiktok and instagram all the time. and, feminism something important to me, I used to follow many feminism pages and stuff.

anyways, after a while, some of these feminist pages would always say something about men being evil, or inferior, gross. and that attraction to men is disgusting and that men should die off already and I just.

I cant take it, ive been told that if I find those things offensive, I'm just downplaying women's struggles and that I'm stupid for feeling like that or something, and that it's inherently something wrong with me.

anyways, these sorts of things have been really affecting me lately, ever since last year to now. I've recently started self harming, I just hate myself so much for being a man, and I feel like I'm disgusting for 1) being a man 2) being mostly attracted to men 3) and feeling like I'm hated by everyone. 4) I feel like I'm just a pure asshole, the worst person ever, because I'm invalidating the very valid and very real struggles that women face because of the patriarchy.

some of my friends have also been saying similar things, "men are vile" "men are disgusting". apparently it's meant to be a form of venting, but I just get so sensitive about how others view me. What's really going on?

this also ties in with the fact that I don't understand how I should view my gender. this has been on my mind for so long l, am I just trying to guilt trip people, or get people to feel sorry for me???

just to be clear, I am in no way saying feminism is bad, but I've seen radfem ideology popping up more and more and I just feel like I'm inherently evil and deserve to die?

am I in the wrong for feeling like this?

how do I deal with these emotions healthily?

and

how can I confront my friend without invalidating their very real experiences??

can I still be a feminist if I am a masculine-leaning? or am I just whining about something that shouldn't be affecting me real?


sorry, lots of grammar mistake, I fixed a few
Sam W
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi FestiveFestoon,

I wouldn't say you're victimizing yourself; it sounds like you're having an understandable reaction to some super-generalized and ultra-unhelpful messages about gender.

Before I dive into the rest of your question, since you mention you've been self-harming lately, do you have mental health resources you can utilize to help you in those moments? If not, that's something we can refer you to.

So, while you're right that, especially in cases like your friend's, "men suck" is more venting than anything else, you're not selfish or invalidating women's experiences if a deluge of those messages from multiple sources is making you feel like crud. We're not fans of the "men suck" messaging here at Scarleteen, and Heather outlines why in this piece: https://www.scarleteen.com/blog/heather ... erybody_up. And there's a big difference between venting now and then and making a big part of your feminist messaging "men are gross and attraction to them is disgusting or something to resent." One is an understandable reaction to a patriarchal society; the other is a great way to chase lots of people (including, in my experience, butch women) out of feminist spaces.

When it comes to dealing with this situation, if you haven't already done so, I'd go through your social media and remove the pages that are sharing those messages. With you friends, do you feel like you could ask them to not make those comments around you right now?
FestiveFestoon
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by FestiveFestoon »

about the self harm, I just don't think I'm ready to talk about with anyone non-anonymously. I feel really embarrassed about it. I don't know if I'm ready to put myself out there like that. it isn't life-threatening self harm or anything.

I forgot to mention this but, I had already deleted almost all of my social media at the end of last year, but I still feel so horrible about it and think about too much. Is there any way I can sort this self-hatred out?? ( to be clear, social media as a whole was too toxic for me, but this stuff still hurts me today) because I understand it's not really a good message in feminism, but how can I help myself with these feelings?

as with my friends, I don't know if I want to hang around them anymore, we weren't really close friends anyway, and everytime I'm around her friend group I end up feeling worthless ( even putting the comments aside, or maybe I'm just jaded ). is that unfair to her? everytime she talks about something feminism-related she always says something about how men are trash, realized I'm there and just says that "sorrys guys that's you too". I'll try telling her if it comes up, but more generally, how can I recognize this as a form a venting and then just peacefully move on from it?

I know it's kind of stupid/ unfair, but anytime I hear those comments I just feel like I was born wrong and that everyone is secretly judging me. and I guess, my own personal experience with not being a "real man" or "perverted f----t" (I think that's why it really hurts when she says men are disgusting), that experience feels invalidated? but I can't just tell her that, how can I convey this to her without seeming attacking or invalidating?
Elise
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by Elise »

Hi there FestiveFestoon, a therapist would be a great person to speak with regarding your self harm, and also to assist you with handling these really hard feelings to deal with and not something you should need to deal with alone.

I understand that it can feel really intimidating and a like it would be "embarrassing'' to talk to someone about these things, as it is a vulnerable situation to put yourself in to admit everything isn't okay for you right now, however therapists are people who are trained to help you with these kind of things, not judge you for them, and will have helped other people with these issues before, too.

That said, if you'd prefer to speak with someone anonymously about this first, helplines can assist with this. I can see your profile says you're in WA, so here are some suggestions local to you:
  • Kids Helpline (has chat and phone support for young people under 25)
  • Headspace (has chat and phone support for young people under 25)

Also, if you'd like to try working with a therapist, QLife can provide referrals to LGBTIQA+ inclusive counseling services on their phone line or web chat.

With regards to discussing this with your friend, this article could be a good start for thinking about ways of framing the discussion: Be Your Own Superhero: Learning How and When to Stand Up for Ourselves does it give you any ideas of how you might want to structure the conversation? We'd be happy to chat through this with you here.
FestiveFestoon
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by FestiveFestoon »

thank you so so much for the resources, I read the article and there's definitely a lot of stuff that's really helpful, it may seem kind of silly, but this whole situation seems like one of the more big things that I'll need to work up to, but there are so many other small things that I can work on first, like it says in the article! :)

I would like to talk to a lgbtqia+ therapist, both about my self harm and my negative feelings towards my own gender or even what my gender is. but, doesn't therapy usually cost money? my family and I aren't really financially stable enough to be affording regular therapy sessions. I don't want to seem stingy or annoying, but I just don't think I can afford therapy right now. idrk know how it works.

I've always been a bit nervous about calling helplines but I'll try to give it a go soon.

I guess in structuring the conversation, I'll try to just get us talking one-to-one if it happens again and I think I'll tell her that I don't want to hear stuff like that around me (not in a rude way of course). do you think I should try to tackle this problem first actually? and what should I do if she reacts badly (we're not really close friends so I feel like this might happen), because I feel like if I tell her why, she will make fun of me or spread rumours and ruin my relationships, maybe even to my close friend, or that walking out of the conversation simply won't be an option (for context, she is a friend of my close friend, so she and I sometimes interact when we are with the close friend) .
Sam W
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi FestiveFestoon,

I'm glad the article was helpful! I think practicing setting smaller boundaries as you work up to tackling this is a great plan.

Given how you've described her, is this friend someone you want to stay friends with at all? In other words, are there things about the friendship that are really important or make you really happy? Or is it mainly a source of stress? You mention this group of friends may not be people you want to keep hanging out with, and honestly that's okay! You're allowed to end those connections, especially if they're contributing to you feeling like crud.

Since you mentioned it in a previous response, I also want to check in about how you feel generally about your experiences as a queer man. It sounds like you've run across some nasty messages about not being a real man or being "perverted;" have you also been able to find spaces where your sexual orientation is supported (or even celebrated)?

With therapy, the cost depends on things like the resource you choose to use (for instance, a monthly visit with a counselor may cost less overall than using a one of the remote services where they're available to you daily), whether you/your family has health insurance and what kind (Elise suggested looking into the bulk billing option available through Medicare), and what ability the therapist has to offer their resources on a sliding scale of fees. If you want to talk more about how to navigate that process and some things to try to find affordable resources, that's something we can help you get started on.
FestiveFestoon
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by FestiveFestoon »

I don't think I want to keep hanging out with this friend, we don't really interact much and that friend group seems kind of toxic, we only know each other through one other friend.

as with being a queer man, it's not as bad as what other people have to face. I guess in primary school, everyone would call eachother gay as an insult, and right now in highschool people would use the f-slur as an insult regularly. I've also heard some people taking about how it's disgusting. and it doesn't help that I go to a catholic school.
I think I just feel really bad about being queer just because it's something that's considered weird in general, and with the whole "men suck" comments, I feel even worse about being a queer man (I don't know if I want to identify as a man anymore honestly, but nothing else fits as well). I feel like if I were to have a partner, that kissing or holding hands or anything romantic in public would disgust people, and that I shouldn't ever have sex with a man, ever. or that I don't deserve to have those kinds of relationship. I don't know, it's strange, the more I think about, the more I wish I just didn't have to deal with this and just wish I could just like girls and be a cis boy and not worry about it anymore. but sometimes I'm so proud to be part of the queer community, I don't know. I feel silly.

there are some organisations around my town that are lgbtq+ friendly, and we have a headspace center. and my family is supportive of me too. Its actually silly, but I just feel like I shouldn't feel so disgusted about my identity because I have so much support or because I don't have it as bad as others.
to be honest, I haven't involved myself much in the places I mentioned, except like, once.

my mum doesn't have medicare for me yet, only my dad, but I'm not living with him anymore. we have a photo of the card, I don't really know how medicare works though. we have a school counselor but lots of people have said they didn't like it, and I don't really feel comfortable around her? also when you have session almost everyone find out because they come in your class saying if they can speak to you.


I'll look through Qlife after school (it's the morning right now) and see what options there are that I am ok with. or actually, do you think I should just give the school counselor a shot?
Mo
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by Mo »

I think it might be worth it to see the school counselor once, just to see if you wind up feeling more comfortable one on one. If you don't feel comfortable, you don't have to open up a whole bunch and don't have to keep seeing her, but if it does feel nice to talk to her, she might be a good resource for now.

Even when you have supportive people in your life (and I'm glad to hear that your family is supportive!), it can be hard to dig out from under negative messages we might hear about gender and sexuality. It sounds like the things you've heard about men or attraction to men being disgusting or terrible has stuck with you and been hurtful, which is so understandable. I do hope that you can find ways to connect with other queer youth in your area; I suspect that knowing other people in a similar situation, who are able to give you some support from a place of experience and who you can talk to about some of these feelings you're having, will be helpful.

If it helps to hear from us, though, I want to be another voice saying that being a man, or being attracted to other men, doesn't mean there's something weird about you or something wrong with you. You deserve a happy and loving relationship as much as anyone else does, and I'm sorry that it seems so out of reach right now.
FestiveFestoon
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by FestiveFestoon »

thank you all so so so much for replying to me and helping me with this ❤️.

ok! I will ask to arrange something with the school counselor to see how it goes.

I would talk to my closest friend about my experience (she's queer too), but I don't think she would fully understand how I'm feeling, and we don't really talk about our queer experiences much, I'll give it a go though.

I have made a few queer friends recently at a headspace camp. but im gonna try to be more engaged in the community.

thank you so much for the reassurance that I'm not disgusting or evil. obviously my problems won't be fixed instantly, but idk, I think I can start to envision some sort of future where I'm ok with myself, even just momentarily. (it does feel impossible at times tho).

I'll take your guys' advice, about stating my boundaries, and seeing a therapist.
Elise
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by Elise »

Hi FestiveFestoon, I'm really glad we were able to provide some support and reassurance and you are taking these next steps!

I saw in your reply to Mo that you weren't sure about accessing Medicare. Having it sorted will help you access free healthcare, so here is some info on that, and how the mental health care plan works for you :)

  • Since you're 15, you're allowed to get your own Medicare card, rather than be on your parents one. Headspace has a good explainer on what to do, here: How to get a medicare card. It also explains what bulk billing is (essentially, if a dr bulk bills to medicare you don't have to pay anything on the day or ever for an appt with them)
  • This headspace article explains how the mental health care plan works, you go to your GP first to get one: How to get a mental health care plan
  • One thing the article doesn't mention, is that sometimes a doctor will ask you to search for a therapist and they'll write a referral to your preference, or they might recommend one. Either way, you can say that you have a recommendation from QLife/Headspace that you'd like to go to if you do get a recommendation from them.
  • As you're in regional WA, the Headspace will be a great resource, I checked with QLife and they have your local Headspace as your main local resource, or can provide lists of therapists in WA, as some may offer online telehealth appointments. They also have notes on some that confirm they bulk bill and are low cost so mention you're after that.
  • Also, if you don't mesh with your first therapist/counselor, that's okay! People have different approaches and it can take a few tries to find someone who works for you. This article of might help once you've got an appointment booked: Process This: Getting the Most Out of Therapy

When it comes to meeting more queer community, follow up on with your local Headspace is great, and Freedom Centre in Perth has some online groups that you might like.

I hope this all helps, and feel free to add any questions here on this thread and on the boards more generally!
FestiveFestoon
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by FestiveFestoon »

Hello again,
I have been feeling really bad about my gender identity, masculinity and sexuality again recently. I read this article https://www.scarleteen.com/article/abus ... se_someone
and it really struck a chord with me, I don't think I have made much progress with my negative view on my gender identity since I first posted.
the article says that there are some books for healing, healthy masculinity, and sexuality. I was wondering if it's possible to get recommended some resources like that from you guys?

I really want to feel comfortable with myself but I'm also scared to read those resources aswell, I feel like It willl be impossible for me to make change. Is there anyway I can deal with this? I'm seeing the school counselor, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to talk about the stuff mentioned in the previous posts, especially sexual health.

Also do you have any tips for managing my feelings while I wait for session?, my next appointment with the school counsellor is in one and a half weeks, and I had one around a week ago. I don't know how to cope while I wait for the next session.
valerie4
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by valerie4 »

Hi FestiveFestoon,

I'm so sorry to hear you're still struggling. I'm glad you're meeting with the school counselor because these are heavy emotions to process on your own. You mentioned you feel scared to even try reading resources on the topic, can you tell me more about that? What are you fearing you might read or confront?

You also used the phrase "impossible for [you] to make change." I want to talk about that language for a quick second. With any sort of personal change we are trying to make in life, from small issues to big ones like this, if we use catastrophizing language that says we will NEVER achieve the goal we want to reach, it often acts a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe you can't change it will hinder you ability to try. So I want to be intentional with the words you use. Change might be hard, but its not impossible. What you're dealing with is a complicated issue that is the result of multiple systems of oppression coming together to influence our sense of self. It's not easy. But if you truly want to make a change, allowing the possibility that it could happen is going to help you.

I think its important to remember that who we are is a conglomeration of the choices we make, our goals and joys, our hardships and sadness, and our self-expression (there's a lot more to who a person is but these are important ones!). How you identify and feel does not always match up with how society perceives you. You've been taking in a lot of messages about how "men are bad' and "masculinity is bad" but that is a perception. Ultimately, YOU get to choose how you engage with that identity, deal with the struggles of it as a privileged identity as well as a complicated one, and the choices you make a result. It sounds like you are feeling like you've had your agency around your identity stripped away from you. That's scary! I get it. AND you do have some power to take it back and redefine masculinity in a way that isn't harmful or toxic. There are so many embodiments of masculinity from cis men, to trans men, to butch women, and more, that are not necessarily based in patriarchal violence but finding new ways to express masculinity in a beautiful way. I know you have concerns about your status as a feminist and I want to say taking masculinity and redefining it in a way that moves away from misogynistic violence is EXTREMELY feminist. At the end of the day, gender is a construct of society's ideals but that means its very changeable and can be extremely beautiful. Gender can be and is used as a tool of oppression but that's not all that it is. In fact its just a small microcosm of what gender can be. This is a diffucult process and I hope you can find a way to be kind and patient with yourself. Change doesn't happen over night and progress may be hard to see when its small but its still happening.


In terms of recommendations, here are some books that I'd recommend checking out:
- For The Love of Men by Liz Plank
- Men Masculinity and Love by bell hooks
(these next two are a little dated in their language but still good)
- Iron John by Robert Bly
- King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette

I'd also recommend checking out this piece
Man to Man: On Sex, Masculinity, and Being Yourself

Hope to hear back from you and I hope this helps.
Best,
Val
FestiveFestoon
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by FestiveFestoon »

hi Val,
I think I'm scared that the resources will just tell me something like "you're privileged, stop diminishing others experiences, you shouldn't feel like this because you are a man", or that the resources won't help, or that they don't apply to me. I'm terrified of my own masculinity that it makes me feel scared to feel good about it, like I might become a horrible person if I did. I don't know, I think I'm just scared to start feeling good about myself, I feel like I deserve to keep feeling bad so I won't want to hurt others because I'm a man? (I know it's silly but I still continue to think like that). I also feel like I shouldn't need it. I'm also scared that it's gonna be really aggressive in it's messaging and tone. I feel like I should know how to feel good about my masculinity already if I was a good man to begin with.


I don't mean to be a bummer but
Like you said, it can be hard to see the small progress, but I think I'm just afraid that I'm not gonna make any progress at all (I think that may have been why I used such a extreme word 'impossible').

I think those are the main things that I fear Is gonna happen if I use the resources.


I'm gonna make (and keep)some promises to myself
Im going to make sure I get a hold of those books, whether Im scared or not. and I am going to read them. I'm going to try to bring my issues with the counsellors to see if that helps (I might chicken out but it's worth a try anyways :) )

thank you for helping me,
Sam W
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Re: Am I just victimizing myself?

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi FestiveFestoon,

I just want to chime in that it might help, either alone or with your counselor, to set micro-goals around reading those books; think in terms of reading one or two pages to start. Too, while you're right that your anxiety is very much latching on to this topic, I think it's actually helpful to know what kind of writing about masculinity you need or want to avoid right now; like a lot of topics having to do with gender, it can be very fraught (and get very black and white very quickly), so knowing that any book that comes at it from a frame of "men are privileged therefore should just shush" or "men are great and we don't need to change or think about our privilege) is not for you is a helpful piece of information to have (the books Val listed are far more nuanced than that, by the way).
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