Let’s see, this is a huge question, so I propose a modest starting point, which I hope we can all agree on: Birth! When you are born, you are naked, you get your first look at the world, and whoever is watching you be born is getting their first look at you. What is immediately noticeable, assuming they know nothing of your background? You have a certain skin and eye color, and you are visibly male or female. That’s pretty much it. Social pressure and constructs have not begun to mold you, you have no opinions, at least none that can be expressed. Depending on the culture into which you have been born, others will begin treating you in certain ways, and that treatment will relate to your visible characteristics, especially sex. Your parents, or your mother, if father has already disappeared, will name you based on cultural considerations, and the given name is almost always based on your visible sex. While many names in our country are used for both boys and girls–Kelly, Leslie, Taylor, Jordan as examples–many are not. If your given name is not culturally appropriate for your sex, you may have many embarrassing moments to look forward to.
In fact, all of us will, no matter what our name, skin or eye color or anything else. I can pretty much guarantee that no one will avoid embarrassing, painful, potentially traumatic experiences in their life. Those adjectives all describe emotional reactions. Now, we have to understand that emotional reactions are a combination of two elements: physical sensations, which we call feelings, and our interpretation of those sensations. Physical sensations that are unpleasant in one context might be part of pleasure in another. Sexual arousal can raise the heart rate, body temperature, sweat gland activity and induce a kind of dizziness, but so can a threat, and fear. Context determines interpretation of feelings. When someone says, “I feel __________”, they are really saying “my interpretation of these unpleasant sensations is _________.”How does this apply to “mental health”? I would be inclined to define mental health as, first of all, acceptance of your most basic, visible and biological physical characteristics. If you were born, like me, in 1946, with blue eyes, brown hair, male sex, Caucasian skin tone, then we can say we are 72 years old, a white, blue-eyed male, whose formerly brown hair has mostly fallen out, and the remainder is silver. That’s the basic mental health example. If you say, “according to my feelings, I am female, or my eyes are brown, or I am 27 years old, and I have thick luxurious hair”, and that’s your story and you’re sticking to it, I would say you are not mentally healthy, therefore mentally ill. These days, there’s another name for basing your sex on your interpretation of your feelings–gender dysphoria.
Before I retired to my blog, I spent many years as a therapist seeing patients with dubious mental health. I dealt with lots of different issues, but never saw or heard about anyone who didn’t accept that they were one sex or the other. The official manual of mental disorder is called the DSM, now in its fifth edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association. The diagnostic label gender identity disorder (GID) was used by the DSM until its reclassification as gender dysphoria in 2013, with the release of the DSM-5. The diagnosis was reclassified to better align it with medical understanding of the condition and to remove the stigma associated with the term disorder.” There it is folks, the crucial word, stigma. Can’t have that! I certainly don’t believe that people suffering delusions or other departures from mental health should be stigmatized, but if something is a disorder and it’s reclassified as merely another viewpoint, they cannot be helped either.
The DSM-5 stated that gender nonconformity is not the same thing as gender dysphoria, and that “gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.” Some transgender people and researchers support declassification of the condition because they say the diagnosis pathologizes gender variance and reinforces the binary model of gender. Well, as Steve Martin used to say, “excuuuse mee”, binary genders aren’t a “model”, unless there’s no standard at all for reality vs. fantasy.
Yet this same old DSM-5 says “The main psychiatric approaches to treatment for persons diagnosed with gender dysphoria are psychotherapy or supporting the individual’s preferred gender through hormone therapy, gender expression and role, or surgery.” So let me get this straight, gender nonconformity is not a mental illness unless it’s accompanied by clinically significant distress. But the distress itself is caused by the person’s interpretation of their symptoms. What symptoms? DSM-5: Symptoms of GD in children may include any of the following: disgust at their own genitalia, social isolation from their peers, anxiety, loneliness and depression.
Wait a second, other than the first one, which could be considered pretty rational because genitalia are not very attractive body parts, these symptoms are garden-variety neuroses, all of which anybody in school is likely to experience. If you’re a nerd, like I was, you will probably wallow in them. Yet, they somehow become evidence of gender dysphoria when you don’t like your genitals. To make matters worse, if such feelings are confessed, and your parents seek treatment for you, you might get anything from “psychotherapy to supporting the individual’s preferred gender through hormone therapy, gender expression and role, or surgery.”
My blog title is “what is mental health?” If I had asked “what is mental illness?”, the last two paragraphs would answer “It’s the DSM-5 and the psychiatric establishment!”
As if further evidence for my contention is necessary, the American Psychology association–the big difference between psychological and psychiatric is the latter can prescribe drugs–now features guidelines for acceptable masculinity. “Traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful.” Harmful to whom? Harmful how? Those questions alone are worth their own blog post, or two or three. Even as cynical as I am, I would not have expected commercial exploitation of this arbitrary redefinition of “acceptable masculinity,” but within weeks of this definition being published, the most male-oriented large company in the United States, Gillette, put out a new commercial exploiting it. The company slogan has been, The Best A Man Can Get, referring to good grooming, and the new commercial changes “get” to “be”, and adapts that slogan to lecture men on restraining their aggression, as if getting into fights and forcing themselves on unwilling women are simply typical male behaviors. The commercialization of morality and its use to make money is pretty cynical. Are we really now taking our morality from the multi-nationals? Gillette are not being brave by their woke virtue signalling – they have been granted millions of dollars worth of free advertising because the name Gillette was on every news presenters lips. Controversy sells. So does virtue signalling.
Gillette is owned by Proctor and Gamble, famous for their animal testing and their use of child labor. They exploit people and then exploit our emotions in order to make money. The fact that they are now exploiting the #MeToo movement should not be a cause of celebration. Greed is more of a problem in society than ‘toxic masculinity’. I note that of the 43 bad examples of male behaviour, 42 are by white men and one black (where are the Asians and Arabs?) . There are seven examples of good behaviour, five of whom are black and two are white. Imagine if it was the other way round! The ad would be banned for racist stereotyping. The unholy trinity of modern Western society is white, working class and male. Not only that, but the bad behavior examples go by so fast, you can’t view it and count how many instances of bad behavior there are, nor count which race is committing them. I had to rely on an independent website to do the counting. This is called subliminal perception, and a long time ago it was all the rage (no, not outrage, but a fad) in advertising, then all but banned due to the manipulation of the subconscious. It’s baaack! I guess this message is acceptable for subliminal manipulation.
I would certainly be considered a “traditional male”, by the APA definition. But after 72 years on this earth, I have been in one fight, at age 14, have never hit, pushed, yelled at, or cursed a woman or child in my life, and never forced my sexual attentions on any woman. Most of the men I have been friends with could probably say the same. If “toxic masculinity” is the cause of most violent crime and rape, where does “servant masculinity” fit? That’s invisible to the counterculture elites’ in their hostility towards the traditional values I grew up with: putting duty before pleasure, protecting the weaker, men leading by self sacrifice, personal responsibility, standing up for principles? Those are masculine traits, which the APA chooses to label as harmful–stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression–reframed as positive applications.
I started this post by asking “what is mental health?” I could have asked “what is mental illness”, but the reality of this world is you get more of what you focus on. Therefore, why not focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want? Regarding mental health, the largest part of that desirable state is YOU accepting who you really are, and what drives you, NOT trying to force others to embrace your behaviors and conform society to your preferences.
Consistent with that subject, let’s consider LGBT dogma. The T is for transsexual, whose dogma is that there are more than two sexes (non binary), and sex itself is malleable. The B is for bi-sexual, which by inference, is accepting the idea of binary, i.e. two sexes. Otherwise, it would be M, for multisexual. The L and G, lesbian and gay (
homosexual), dogma is that you are born a certain sex, with a certain sexual preference, and you can’t change it! Isn’t it time to ask, “what doesn’t belong in LGBT, or is all of their dogma just so much bullshit?” A post is soon coming to address what lies beneath the push to normalize transsexual/transgender ideology.