It’s not a surprise that there are more female voices in the social media spoonie world than male voices. After all, many (most?) autoimmune diseases affect many more women than men, some by ratios of 2:1, others 3:1 or even higher. Women in many western cultures are also raised to discuss their feelings and problems while men in those cultures are raised to pretend their problems don’t exist and to hide their feelings. There are probably other contributing factors, too. In the end, it comes down to a predominantly female space. And this is a problem.
It’s a problem because men often feel the same kinds of isolation that women do, but they see no one like them with whom to discuss it, so that leads to more feelings of isolation. It’s a problem because men need to discuss how they feel just like women do. It’s a problem because we often feel invisible, and without male representatives, men probably feel even more invisible.
And yet, we know there are men in the spoonie world. I’ve seen several on Twitter. There are a couple in my in-person support group, though they’re definitely out-numbered by women. They’re around, but they’re few and far between, it seems.
I wrote once about wanting to participate in this project. As you can see in the description, the author wants a diversity of writers so that all readers can see themselves represented in the book. The author recently mentioned that all of the stories she has received so far are by women. She needs men to contribute. Where are the men? Why aren’t they participating?
I’ve been fortunate to have some wonderful commenters on this site. Of course, I have no way of knowing the gender of the people who read this blog and who don’t comment. Often the commenters’ genders are clear, though. So far, they’re almost all women. Occasionally someone emails me, and they have been almost entirely women. I sometimes get tweets. Those are mostly from women. Where are the men? Why aren’t they participating here? Yes, a couple times I have written about periods and other things than cisgender men can’t relate to. But the majority of what I write, while it comes from a female perspective, can also be relevant to men. Just like what I write comes from the perspective of someone short, bisexual, and sarcastic, but people who are tall, gay, straight, asexual, and not sarcastic can probably relate to a lot of it. So where are the men?
I don’t know exactly why I see and hear so little from men in the spoonie world, but I’m saying right now that you’re welcome in this space. I suspect you’re welcome in many others, too, but I can only speak for my own. So welcome! I hope you stick around and leave some comments so we can get to know each other. You’re an important part of the spoonie community. I hope you find your place in it.