There are two aspects of American culture which strongly affect the population in a negative fashion leading to an increasing incidence of suicide. Often, suicide is regarded as a personal problem when, in fact, it is a social problem and should be addressed as such. American culture fosters and supports independence and selfishness over regard for the good of others.
American culture also supports the stereotypes of masculine and feminine to the extreme, rejecting the reality of variables. There are painful and afflicted stereotypes placed on those who do not meet up to the stereotypical masculine or feminine.
The Me Society
The general idea of raising children to value academic achievement over empathy and being kind to others has caused a miasma of problems in society. It has resulted in a level of selfishness which surpasses any in history. Children are growing up today with an attitude of indifference and ignorance toward the needs and well-being of others. This has bled over into businesses and is bleeding into politics.
The youth of today recognize this and many boys and girls as well as young adults report that this is a major cause for suicide increasing today. It is actually proven that people with more social connections live longer and healthier lives with a lower incidence of illness and suicide than those who are lonely. In a society of selfishness and self-importance, should anything less be expected?
The stereotypical masculine is the stoic, straight-acting, emotionless provider who is a thinker and not a feeler. You see, women are supposed to have the emotions, or so it goes. You can easily see what American culture values as the ideal masculine. Look around you and it is even more apparent.
This idea of what a man should be has a bad effect on the younger people coming into adult society now and previously. Men who act with more feminine attributes such as sensitivity, caring, emotion, and empathy, are pushed away and treated unfairly. They are classified as something they are not most of the time and this notion spreads across the people quickly. It makes young men feel “less than.”
The stereotypical feminine is the sensitive, caring, open, loving, motherly, emotional, thoughtless nurturer who blindly accepts all the man offers and remains at home with the kids. Young women wedged into this category often feel imprisoned, scorned, and ridiculed by peers in general. It contributes to high suicide rates.
Contrary to popular belief, young women deal with bullying as much as or more than men do. When they are this way to each other, it breaks down the sense of gender connection, further distancing the girl who wants to be different.
What do the youth of today say we need to do about this? We need to change and support the concepts of empathy and kindness, promote social awareness, and create social healing. Perhaps “social studies” should go deeper into the interpersonal. One way or the other, this culture needs to turn its attitude to reduce the suicide rates.