What Men Think are the 25 Top Issues of Men Today
by Martin Brossman
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I recently mentioned the Triangle Men's Inquiry Group to a woman and she honestly spoke up, “What issues could men possibly have, don't they have all the power?". “My husband seems to need no one; he just works all the time, that's one of our biggest problems.” This question got me to re-ask myself, what are the issues of men today? So I started making a personal list of what I feel are the most prevalent issues gleaned from my leading the on-line and in-person men's discussion group since 1996. Then I decided to send the list out to about 55 of the top men's issues web sites and get their input to see if I covered the main areas or need to change anything. I also created a poll of 6 men's on-line discussion groups and sent it out to the Men's Inquiry mailing list for feedback. This is not any type of formal or statistical study, but interesting just the same. Below is a list of what the men said that I did my best to accumulate in as unbiased a way as possible. My final review feedback from most men was that it was a good, comprehensive list. Out of my commitment to have the highest integrity with this, I must say that a small number of men found my list too “liberal.” Every attempt was made to keep the exact wording of the men. My intention is for this to be a tool to encourage open discussion and enhance our lives.

1) Building Fellowship; reconnecting to meaningful & supportive fellowship with each other.

2) Fatherhood Support - Father's rights, the problem of fathers being asked to “pay and stay away,” Greater fairness towards men in child custody.

3) Mentoring (having a mentor, allowing men to contribute to us or being a mentor. Establishing apprenticeship and mentor programs for young men.

4) Constructive Rites of Passage for men; effective rituals that honor and bless young men into manhood.

5) Male Depression – Identification and offering compassionate non-drug and complementary treatment alternatives and education. Another related issue is suicide prevention.

6) Male sexuality, e.g. dealing with our shame around sexuality, psychological & emotional components. Dealing with our sex drive vs. being driven by it. Homophobia or Heterophobia (a gay man's fear of groups of Heterosexual men). Concern about the practice of routine circumcision as cruel to male children. Reproductive rights - e.g. men's birth control or women lying that they have used birth control to have a child. Men's input on abortions.

7) Having well-defined terms in your life & relationship. Connecting to and living from our mission in life. Clarifying our core values. Knowing & living from the guiding principles of your life.

7) Transition into Eldership – Honoring our elders, aging with honor and grace. Dealing with the issues of becoming an “Elder.”

9) Men's Health Issues - e.g., Prostate cancer, self-care.

10) Making intimate relationships work / successful, e.g., How to not treat your wife as if she's your mother; knowing the difference between the two. How to honor our partners without compromising ourselves.

11) Embracing & Dealing with Anger, having our killer instinct energy as a tool that serves us instead of losing it or having it drive us.

12) Distinguishing, & constructive access to all our feelings; deepening & enhancing our Emotional Intelligence. Finding our tears, learning the value and access to tears. Recognizing and dealing with shame in our lives. The power of grieving with other men, e.g., death; men's ways of dealing with and sharing about grief. Allowing anger to take us to grief.

13) The objectifying of men as “just a wallet” or success objects. Getting stuck in the trap of doing and spending to get "love"

14) The Disposable Gender - men have the most dangerous jobs and were drafted. Roles being assumed, without appreciation, of men as protector or physical laborer.

15) Dealing with “the Lace Curtain,” the influence of the militant feminist (this can be women or men), holding men as the source of all problems and taking no personal responsibility.

16) Militant anti-feminist males or militant masculinists. Men blaming militant feminists for all the problems men have, and taking no personal responsibility for their part in the matter.

17) Poor image of men in the media. Men only represented on talk shows in patronizing and shaming ways. Allowance of male bashing as just being a good sport (as subtle as how in the press, men are referred to as ‘males’ and women as ‘women,’ not ‘females’).

18) Having a “best” male friend or "best bud"; a true best friend that we could trust our life with.

19) Supporting each other in spiritual growth.

20) The importance of play and creating joy in our lives. Learning to move with commitment but not taking ourselves to serious. The ability to laugh at ourselves and our issues.

21) Owning to our shadow side, dark side, or shadow mission; that which influences us just outside our conscious awareness.

22) Resolving issues with our fathers; healing the father wounds; forgiveness to regain the “father energy” in our lives.

23) The devaluing of males in college: The fact that there are less young men in college than ever before & the dying off of male lower profile sports (many of which were training grounds for the Olympics).

24) Domestic violence toward men, how to prevent it, laws that address it, and how to get support when it happens. Often not reported for fear of public shame or not being recorded as “domestic violence” because it is a man reporting it. This may include physical abuse to boys by single mothers.

25) Addictions to: Drugs, sex, TV, etc.

The divisions were based on the feedback received and the priority was not clear enough to state one is of greater importance that another. I want to deeply thank all the men that contributed to this list and assisted me in compiling it. I do not personally agree with all the issues but do see the value in having the courage to look at and openly discuss all issues. For often that which is suppressed and not spoken of grows in the shadows. I want to share that when men saw I was willing to personally share my self and even my own struggles, they responded in a very positive way in giving of themselves. On man once asked at the end of the Men's Inquiry Meeting, how do you get men to so courageously open up in these meetings? I looked inside and said that at the beginning of each meeting I ask," What can I share about myself that makes me feel exposed to these men in front of me?" My intention is this list creates more open and courageous sharing among men AND women.

Martin Brossman is a personal coach and founder of The Triangle Men’s Inquiry Meeting. For more information, visit www.ToInquire.com, e-mail  men@toinquire.com, or call Martin at 919-847-4757.

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