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[Shining the light on Men’s Health & Well-being in Australia]

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Men’s Elective Network

Personal Quote:
[ Quote – “Any Bloke can Father a child, but it takes a special man to be Dad”! – B Bennett ]
[ Quote – “Whatever is True, Whatever is Noble, Whatever is Right, Whatever is Pure, Whatever is Lovely, Whatever is Admirable – if anything is excellent… think about such things”. ]
[ ANGER: (pocket oxford Dictionary) extreme or passionate displeasure, old Norse (Scandinavian meaning) angr  – Grief  ]

REVIEWS PAGE

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Comment – You are not your thoughts:

You are not your pain. You are not your depression or anxiety. You are not your sadness. We all have negative thoughts. We all have sadness and pain, that at times, totally takes over both our minds and our body’s.
Don’t try to push the pain or thoughts away. Sit with the pain and be kind to yourself. Tell your inner self that it’s okay to feel these things. Only then will the pain and feelings leave.
Don’t try to push the pain away with unhealthy things like drugs, alcohol, eating, being busy or excessive exercise. The pain will only get worse if you do this.
Have faith that if you allow yourself to feel the pain and the bad feelings, only then will they leave.
Pain comes in waves. Sometimes these waves can be unexpected and you can be confused and you don’t understand why the pain and bad feelings have come up. Don’t judge them, just allow yourself to feel them.
The quicker you allow yourself the time to process the feelings, the quicker they will leave. Ride the waves. As you get used to doing it, you will realise that the waves of pain/sadness become less frequent and not as strong.
Don’t be afraid.
When they come and you can’t seem to shake them, try to visualise your thoughts washing away and leaving your body.
Stop what you are doing, close your eyes and breathe.
Breathe all the way in and breathe all the way out imagining the thoughts leaving your body.
Remember this will pass. The bad feelings don’t last forever.
Be gentle with yourself and remind yourself of how far you’ve come.
Remind yourself that it’s normal to have negative thoughts and that we are all our own worst critic.
Try to do something small to get out of your own head.
Take a warm shower, make a warm drink, go to gym, call someone to talk. Anything that will ease the noise of your own mind.
Talk to someone or write down your thoughts and feelings. Get them out. Leaving them in, will only make them fester and get worse.
Remember you are not your thoughts. You are loved more than you will ever know and you are not a burden.
People love you and people want you here, no matter what your mind tells you. Sometimes we need to just forget about today and try again tomorrow.


A Darwin barber had an anti discrimination complaint lodged against her for refusing to cut a woman’s hair..

A Barbershop owner who has had an anti-discrimination complaint lodged against her for refusing service to women says she is “pro-men, not anti-women”. Darwin Star Barber owner Joy Arnott said the dispute had been raised after she told the customer that she only cut men’s hair. It was unclear what sort of haircut the woman had requested.

In Facebook posts Ms Arnott argued she offered “specialist services” and joked that she would provide “special ladies haircuts (for) only $1000”. “Women do not have the right to take up space everywhere, just because they are women,” Ms Arnott told The NT News.

“This is an outrageous sense of entitlement and it does not reflect what I understand the anti-discrimination act is all about or should be used for.”

The complaint is under investigation by the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission. The Commissioner was unable to comment on the matter. The barbershop’s website described the business as: “Darwin’s premier Barbershop for men”.

“A place where men can get a great cut and shave, enjoy the conversation, the music and a beverage,” the site reads. “Inspired by old-school barbering techniques and fashion, and the nostalgia for a place when men could be men, Ms Arnott said her business was “pro men not anti-women” but couldn’t provide further details of the complaint because of privacy reasons. She told ABC Darwin she had found success in providing a “safe and nurturing environment for men” and that protections for gender-discriminating businesses should be enshrined in law.

“I think [men are] entitled to have a space that’s designed for them, and that women don’t have the right to just come in and take up space everywhere because they’re women,” she told the public broadcaster.

The entrepreneur said she felt personally attacked by the complainant.

Ms Arnott later posted on Facebook that she planned to apply for “a legal exemption from the anti discrimination legislation” like women’s-only gym, Fernwood.

[ Source – News.com.auSee here. ]

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March for Men event… held in Melbourne (Aug 25th 2018)

[ SYDNEY Watson claims Australia’s men are being “demonised” — news.com.au July 31, 2018 ]

[ Picture: FacebookSource: Facebook ]

A PRO-GUN, anti-feminist, half-American Donald Trump supporter arranged a funded “March for Men” in Melbourne last August.

Sydney Watson, who describes herself as a “conservative political commentator”, brought men and women together at Melbourne’s Federation Square on August 25 to march against what she sees as “an assault on men collectively”.

The former University of Melbourne student is critical of the response from politicians and the media after the death of Eurydice Dixon, who was killed while walking home from a night out. In particular, she takes issue with the narrative that has emerged declaring men need to change their behaviour, not women.

“As many of you know, it has felt like there has been an assault on men collectively,” she said in a video promoting the event. “I know that this has upset a lot of men and women alike and a lot of people are very distressed that they don’t feel as though they can support men’s rights, masculinity and men in general without being judged.

“I want Australians to rally together for masculinity, for men’s rights and just to demonstrate that we know that men matter too. “I want to make it abundantly clear that the purpose of this rally is not to hate on women, diminish women’s rights or to make any negative statements about women.” She said the fight for women’s rights is harming the fight for men’s rights. “Society is unlikely to be functional if we continue to put down one entire gender in order to prop up another.”

Ms Watson has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the event. On Monday, more than $800 had been raised towards a goal of $5000. The event page states: “From the schoolyard to the office, Australians have been repeatedly reminded how undesirable it is to be a man. After weeks of attacks from the media, from politicians and from interest groups — enough is definitely enough!”

Ms Watson’s brand of politics is divisive. She has previously published videos about gun control, feminism and white privilege. A recent video was titled: “Hey women, men are not responsible for your safety.” She talked about Ms Dixon’s death and why she felt it was wrong to lump collective blame on men. “It’s stupid,” she said. “This whole argument (that men need to change their behaviour, not women) is stupid. My safety is my responsibility. I don’t want to put any accountability on anyone else. Sure, we can teach men not to rape or, alternatively, maybe we can give women the right to self-defence.”

Ms Watson shared a Facebook post by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in June in which he made a point of singling out men.Women don’t need to change their behaviour. Men do,” the Premier wrote. Ms Watson said she was “absolutely seething”. “This post is sanctimonious and patronising. I, for one, am absolutely sick and tired of men collectively being demonised at every turn and at every opportunity. “I’m getting so sick to death of this narrative that all men are violent. Because it is a horrific and unjust lie.”

Her comments were met with stinging criticism from many on her own channels. “Why is it bad that I tell my son not to brutalise and violate another person,” one woman wrote. “I don’t hate men but I still want them held accountable for their actions.” Another wrote that Ms Watson had “missed the point”. Sydney Watson is behind the March for Men in Melbourne in August.

“Babe. Wow, where do I start? I’m not a feminazi but I am a feminist and believe in equality for all human beings. I think your (sic) missing the point of ‘teach men not to rape’. “For thousands of years to date, gender roles and responsibilities have been placed upon us from a very early age depending on our sex. And up until the last maybe 20 years women were objectified and were literally a male’s property if married.

“I think what they are trying to say is that there should be education from an early age to break the cycle of men seeing women as objects, because there are still some people and cultures who still teach and preach this to their children.” One woman wrote simply: “She’s a right wing idiot.”

Another video on Ms Watson’s YouTube channel is titled: “Dear feminists, here’s why you are hypocrites.”

“A woman rapes a man and nobody wants to call a spade a spade and call it rape,” she said. “I’d really like to know why it is that we downplay female-perpetrated violence. “Is it because it doesn’t fit into the male perpetrator/female victim paradigm? Or is it because society feels a need to shield women from criticism?”

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IDENTITY POLITICS AT ODDS WITH LIBERAL DEMOCRACY

Author of this article is Stephen Chavura who teaches politics and history at Macquarie University, Campion College and the Lachlan Macquarie Institute.

Until relatively recently we in the West have defined oppression largely in terms of the absence of political and civil freedoms, and the solution was to introduce new rights such as universal suffrage, freedom of conscience, freedom of movement and freedom of speech. This is what we call liberal democracy, or that tradition of political thinking that sees the expansion of freedoms as the solution to oppression rather than its cause. Recent controversies in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia regarding race, culture, sexuality, and gender indicate a shift from political oppression to cultural oppression. Cultural oppression is caused by, among other things, feeling excluded from prevailing cultural norms regarding sexuality, gender and nationality, norms that are said to solely benefit white, heterosexual males.

Those who feel excluded from these norms based on their professed identity seek to change the prevailing culture and make it more “inclusive”. This is the essence of identity politics. And yet identity politics co­exists uneasily with liberal democracy, and for good reason. Culture is to a great extent carried along by the words we use, “male and female”, “husband and wife”, “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Australia Day” and so on, and the texts, images, movies and songs we encounter. This is why identity politics must be at odds with liberal democracy, for if culture is to be made more inclusive then what we can think, say and see needs to be more tightly controlled.

In other words, freedom of speech and thought are part of the problem rather than the solution. The same-sex marriage debate in Australia confirmed this, for many citizens sincerely believed that Australians had no right to a public debate in the first place. Bill Shorten spoke for many when he castigated Malcolm Turnbull back in August as the person who ­”licensed this debate”. Recall the boycott of Coopers beer by some pubs back in March. Same-sex marriage was the focal point of a “light-hearted” discussion over a Coopers beer organised by the Bible Society between MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie. Within minutes of the Bible Society uploading the debate, a storm of Twitter protests ensued, resulting in Coopers disassociating itself from the video and pledging its support for same-sex marriage.

The problem with Coopers, the Bible Society and advocates of a plebiscite was never that they criticised same-sex marriage. The crime was that they dared to suggest that anyone had the right to debate the issue in the first place. One of the most prominent activists of the Yes campaign, Michael Barnett, summed up a common attitude to the legitimacy of public debate in his tweets to Coopers Brewery: “So you’re saying it’s acceptable to debate the merit of supporting discrimination @coopersbrewery? Seriously?” Of course, the very issue in the debate was whether traditional marriage unjustly discriminates in the first place.

Barnett had the right to make his statements, but apparently he thought those with whom he disagreed had no similar right. He was not alone. The case made against Coopers and the legitimacy of a same-sex marriage debate was that inevitably things would be said that would be detrimental to the mental health of members of the LGBTQI community, which could lead to an increase in self-harm. But these sorts of catastrophic harm arguments are very dangerous for freedom of speech and, therefore, democracy.

Of course the state should be concerned about mental health and suicide, but its approach to these matters needs to be sensitive to other goods that are profoundly beneficial for societies, especially freedom of speech. Indeed, I invite LGBTQI rights advocates to name all the countries without a robust tradition of freedom of speech that have strong and effective LGBTQI rights movements. There is a democratic danger of linking what we can say publicly to mental health and other social maladies such as ethnic alienation from national culture.

Identity politics correctly assumes that for many of us part of our self-esteem comes from being integrated into a wider community or culture. However, if the wider cultural norms conflict with one’s own identity as transgender, or genderless, or gay, or Muslim, or indigenous, then one can feel alienated. If one also believes one has a right that the wider culture embrace their identity, then this exclusion has all the weight of an injustice, and the person either becomes increasingly alienated from mainstream culture or seeks to manipulate culture, and therefore control others’ speech and information.

Enter Safe Schools here in Australia, demands to widen 18C to include anti-Islamic speech, and demands to change the date of Australia Day. The conflict between identity politics and freedom of speech in a nutshell is that freedom of speech means unpredictable speech, and unpredictable speech means no guarantee against words that will emotionally wound, or the emergence of cultural norms that will exclude. Thus, to enjoy a life free from the anxiety of offence and cultural exclusion, speech and even thought needs to be controlled.

This is why movements to snuff out cultural oppression, unlike movements to snuff out political oppression, see freedom as the problem rather the solution. That is, they are deeply illiberal. Certainly this mood against liberal democracy is taking hold among sections of the youth in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia. One of the great challenges for developed societies going into 2018 and beyond is the extent to which they can accommodate millennials’ longing for inclusiveness while at the same time convincing them that the difficult task of balancing inclusiveness with freedom of speech and other liberal rights is worthy of their efforts. If this can be done then we would have achieved definite social progress.

But if not, then the future of liberal democracy becomes uncertain, for there is no shortage today of counter movements willing to take its place. Furthermore, recent debates in Australia over race, gender, sexuality and Islam have revealed no shortage of martinets who are willing to beat our brains and hearts into shape, always for the sake of love, diversity, and equality.

Source: Stephen Chavura

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Suicide Row – An Anti Suicide Play for Men

Late in 2017 playwright Michael Griffith put together a play about some of the stuff that push men over the edge, and it is hoped that it can be foundational in assisting men to do a bit a soul searching… initially launched in Melbourne (1-12th Nov 2017), it is hoped later to have the play tour Australia.We are aware of the gravity of Men’s issues. Therefore we had several men read it. We refused to proceed unless they thought it would help. The response was an overwhelming – “You must put this on!” A call for actors, again an overwhelmingly positive response.

About Suicide Row
After finding themselves stuck on the way to the after life, four Australian men discover that their individual suicide attempts have miraculously failed. But if this isn’t the end then why are they stuck? The Gods never reply. And as time slows and as hindsight drags in an inescapable tide of regret, these men come to wonder if in order to escape this frustrating nothingness and return home, does life expect them to do something first. If so, what?

The play, aimed at men, both young and older is powerful but not bleak, funny but not black and while it has a clear anti-suicide message, it does not preach.

Touched by Suicide…
If you have been touched by suicide and feel that as a community we need to bring the issue out of the silence then we urge you to help us stage this play. Despite the awful numbers as a rule we stay silent in the fear that talking about suicide encourages other attempts. But despite the silence, the rates are rising.

The beauty of this play is not only does it dive into the issue but it is remarkably entertaining and uplifting. You will like these characters and their disarming humour. And while there are poignant moments, it is the humour that makes the piece palatable. This is important. Too heavy and people won’t urge others to see it, too light and it’s pointless. The mix is essential and we believe this play has nailed it. At our first reading men were extremely moved and stayed to talk. This is exactly what we want. This is why after every performance an informal forum will be held where the audience will be free to stay and talk.

Any money raised will be spent on the following:
– Paying the actors
– Production team
– Rehearsal room hire
– The set
– Theatre venue hire
– Marketing and promotions

We believe this is a very special and important play and we hope that in this first season it will not only be seen as such, but will attract community interest and further funding to see it tour. Further reading here.

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Top Australian Bike Racing personality, Bob (crasher) Lewis…

Back in the old days, riding a bike usually meant lumbering along on a machine with no gears, a basket hanging off the front of the handlebars, and a playing card or two taped to the spokes to produce that cool motorcycle effect. Nowadays, there’s a whole new breed of bikes available to suit practically every situation and terrain you’re ever likely want to tackle. You have the choice of touring bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes and specialized track racing bikes – to name just a few of the varieties available. So if you haven’t ventured out for a spin on two wheels since Santa brought you a bike for Christmas, maybe it’s time to give it a go. Cycling is empowering. Pedalling along a country road or along a city bike trail rouses your spirit and awakens your senses. And it’s difficult to hate those thighs as you joyfully roll up the driveway after conquering a challenging ride.You’ll find cycling is as gentle on your body as any physical activity can possibly be. There’s a saying in sports medicine circles: Even if you can’t run, walk, hobble or hop, you can ride a bike. Simply because cycling isn’t a weight-bearing exercise, it’s super easy on your joints – even the troublesome achy ones. It can be a wonderful, pain-free way to exercise and lose that unwanted weight. In fact, you can easily burn around 500 calories on just an hour-long ride! So whether you’re looking to ride for fitness, weight loss, or to simply get away from it all, why not contact a local cycling group and enjoy life on a bike with a bunch of new friends.   

Bob at Wellington – 1968

Bob, Casey Fields trials (Vic)

Having won the Wellington provincial 100 Mile Road Championship in 1976 and selected to represent Wellington for many years at National Championships, Olympic & Commonwealth Games trials, Bob made the move with his family across to Melbourne in 1978 to further both his cycling opportunities and those of his young family who were about to commence their schooling. Now, having won more than sixty Club, State and National Championship medals including seven Australian National Championship Titles over both Road and Criterium disciplines in mature age veteran competition, Bob Lewis still enjoys nothing more than getting out on his bike with his cycling mates. As a member of the Eastern Veteran Cycling Club as well as a founding member of the Warby Ghostriders group who regularly cycle the Warburton Rail Trail and the many fine city trails around Melbourne, Bob is always happy to pass on his cycling knowledge and riding tips to anyone thinking of taking up cycling to improve their health and at the same time enlarge their circle of friends.

Bob won the 2018 Aust Vet national championship.

Warby Ghostriders Group: www.ghostriderscycling.com
Eastern Veteran Cycling Club: www.easternvets.com 
Caulfield Carnegie Cycling: http://www.carnegiecycling.com.au/

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Testimony of Blue Wiggle Anthony field.

AS an entertainer he inspired thousands of children to sing and dance in the aisles but after the concert the Blue Wiggle, Anthony Field, would retire to his dressing room and break down. Overweight, suffering from clinical depression, crippled by pain from infected teeth and swollen joints and deaf in one ear the children’s entertainer suffered in silence for eight years before finally seeking help.In Men’s Health Week the man behind the blue skivvy is appealing to other men who are depressed or in pain to speak up, tell a friend, talk to a doctor or ring a helpline to get assistance.“Ten years ago Murray helped me by saying – are you okay, are you well?” says Field.“The Australian thing is to keep it in, don’t talk about it, she’ll be right mate but that’s not good.“Talking to someone is the first step, talk to your friend, then someone professional.”

Field is promoting health fund Medibank Private’s 24/7 helpline and says the anonymity of a phone call is sometimes a good way for men to take the first step to get help. He says his father kept his health problems from the family. “My father had a stroke, we took him to the doctor and found out he had prostate cancer. We didn’t know about it,” he said. Men don’t talk about their health because they feel ashamed it makes them appear weak, that they are letting the team down, he says. And women can sometimes make it hard for them to speak up. Field’s wife used to joke that he had selective hearing. “Women love to say that,” he says.

It turned out Field did, in fact, have a hearing problem and he now wears a hearing aid. The Blue Wiggle suffered in pain and struggled with depression for eight years before he sought help in 2003. He saw a psychologist, started taking anti-depressants, lost 16 kilograms, had teeth removed and replaced with titanium implants and saw a naturopath. Ten years later he says he’s drug free, eating well, on the right track and in the middle of a punishing concert tour. “I’ve turned 50 and can do handstands and the splits. I’m enjoying it too much to give up,” he says. A Galaxy survey of over a thousand Australians has found only one in four men would tell their partner if they had a cold and only 9 per cent would tell their friends. Conducted for Medibank Private’s 24/7 helpline the survey disproves the myth that men exaggerate the symptoms of the common cold into man flu.

One in two women tell their partners when they are feeling ill and women are 10 per cent more likely to take a day off work if they get a cold, the survey found. More than four in ten men claim they are not badly affected by the sniffles and more than half of them won’t take medicine to relieve the symptoms. Dr Georgia Karabatsos says the common cold and ‘man flu’ are often joked about. “But for some men this can lead to them feeling unable to discuss their health,” she said. ‘It is really important, as a nation, we don’t let the Aussie male stereotype put pressure on the male population to stay silent about ill health or abnormalities.”“The Australian thing is to keep it in, don’t talk about it, she’ll be right mate but that’s not good”.

[ Article from the Daily Telegraph: written by Sue Dunlevy, News Corp Australia Network – ]

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Suicide Prevention at Bluescope steel plate Mill…

[ News ABC ] – Back in 2015 Lifeline is targeted men to become counsellors and “help-seekers”, and is visiting the industrial heart of Wollongong. Within the Bluescope steel Factory… “We’re concerned about it from the point of view of our workforce, but also from the perspective of the community as well,” he said. “We have a service we fund if someone wants some help, and we provide that service on a confidential basis. “It’s something we’re conscious of and have been doing so for a few years.” Mr Nowlan said he had noticed a gradual improvement in men feeling more comfortable opening up about mental health issues within the blue collar manufacturing workforce. Read more here…

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TOOWOOMBA HELD A CITY FREE FROM PORN RALLY – Oct 11 2016.

We had prayed for this Rally at all our prayer meetings over a few weeks, and a few of us “older prayer warriors” that have been involved with City Women since it started, prayer walked the area from 6.15 till it started at 7 am. The wind was blowing a gale to start with and there were heavy clouds hanging over the city, but we prayed them away, and by 6.45 the sun came out and it was an absolutely beautiful morning. We were getting more and more excited as men started to arrive from 6.15am on, and they just kept coming and coming. A sausage breakfast was available put on by the ‘Men in the city’ so people gathered around the bar-b-que and talked. There was a lovely family atmosphere from the beginning, and it stayed all through the meeting. It was absolutely amazing!

We were especially excited to see a whole lot of grade 12 School Students there from different schools as well as men of all ages. We were a bit worried when we saw 5 motor bikes arrive, as we had heard rumours that there could be some opposition to the Rally and protesters had said they would come and create a disturbance. Fortunately they turned out to be from the GOD SQUAD, and there was no disturbance at all. One of our younger Pastors was the MC and the Mayor had called the meeting. He is a wonderful Christian man and has supported this move from the very beginning, so he opened the meeting with an excellent talk about the impact Porn has on our city and his desire to see that lessened. He pointed out that it was the first step of a long journey, but he was 100% behind it.

A very courageous woman then spoke about the effect her first partners porn addiction had on their marriage and her personally, and how she had struggled to regain her self-confidence since the breakup of that relationship. She has only just married a beautiful man 2years ago who respects and supports her, and he had encouraged her to be brave enough to speak about her previous experience in this gathering. A man also spoke openly about his pornography addiction which has started quite innocently by finding a porn magazine on the road. He spoke honestly about the effect it had on his marriage, and his consequent divorce. He had since had counselling and older stable men had been able to “walk beside him” in his recovery, so as he said there is a way out of this addiction.

The former CEO of the Heritage bank has brought together a group of concerned citizens to fight this as well as many other serious issues that are destroying our families to day. They call themselves Toowoomba Together and he was able to bring startling statistics that prove that the main cause of domestic violence is caused by porn addiction. Also that most kids by the age of 11 have viewed porn somewhere as it is so readily available on social media. It was clearly pointed out that there is help for anyone who is struggling with this addiction and the Mayor led the whole group of men in this pledge: “I acknowledge that viewing Pornography promotes exploitation of women and violence against women and it damages family life. I commit that I won’t view porn and I will help to create a city free from porn.

It was not possible to count the men attending the Rally but there would have been at least 200 or more.

Source: Personal account written by a person who attended the rally.

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