It would seem as though living in a patriarchy would only cause women to suffer, however, patriarchal culture knows no limits of oppression. Societal expectations of the outdated gender binary also places immense stress on men.
While women and non-binary individuals constantly fall prey to the injustice of the patriarchy, the social system has claimed two male victims: Kid Cudi and Drake.
In October, Cudi checked himself into rehab for anxiety, depression and “suicidal urges.” As a performer and a member of the public eye, Cudi decided to be honest about his decision on social media.
For a rapper with Cudi’s popularity to acknowledge mental illness and start a conversation surrounding mental health was powerful. The stigma behind mental health has always existed, but the negative connotation society holds regarding mental illness plagues masculine circles to an even greater extent.
This was not the first time Cudi opened up about his ongoing struggle. In April, he candidly spoke about his mental health to Billboard magazine. His statements were followed by a dis to Drake, suggesting the artist’s music was only mediocre. Cudi then took to Twitter to insult Drake and Kanye West.
“Everyone thinks they’re soooo great. Talkin’ top 5 and be having 30 people write songs for them,” Cudi tweeted.
Drake shot back at him in a song titled “Two Birds, One Stone.”
“You were the man on the moon, now you just go through your phases, life of the angry and famous… You stay Xanned and Perc’d up, so when reality set in, you don’t gotta face it,” Drake rapped.
Twitter beef and dis tracks are nothing new in the pop-culture realm, but the public was not amused. Fans of both musicians were quick to point out how wrong it is to attack someone on the basis of mental health.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. They affect 40 million adults, 18 percent of the population. While women are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders, men’s struggles with anxiety and depression often go unreported.
When a major artist like Drake chooses to attack someone for seeking help for their mental illnesses, it is disappointing to say the least. Drake’s behavior exasperates the patriarchal expectations of men, which tells them seeking help is weak. Men are less likely to have positive conversations about mental health because it is seen as a sign of sensitivity—something regarded as exclusively feminine.
Perhaps the most annoying part of this spat is Drake has largely capitalized on the image of the “sensitive rapper.” If his sensitivity does not extend to depression and how men treat other men then he should probably renounce his image.
All men need to understand: the dismantlement of the patriarchy is not exclusively beneficial to women. The demise of this prejudiced societal system would be a mutually beneficial endeavor for everyone.
Candid conversations and collective emotional vulnerability go a long way in extinguishing toxic masculinity, and it is time we all work to put an end to this divide.
– May Olvera is a journalism junior