all 19 comments

[–]sisterinsomnia 12 insightful - 1 fun12 insightful - 0 fun13 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I read that in the rural areas of China the women commit suicide by drinking some kind of an insecticide or herbicide which doesn't allow easy medical intervention.

As an aside, there are enormous racial and ethnic differences in suicide rates, though in most cultures the male completion rate is higher (though the female attempt rate may be higher at the same time). In the US white suicide rates are much higher than those on most other sub-groups.

[–]Comatoast 9 insightful - 1 fun9 insightful - 0 fun10 insightful - 1 fun -  (13 children)

Not to be morose, but it's a shame that we would feel bad about leaving behind a mess of all things on an attempted deathbed.

[–]lefterfield 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (12 children)

I suppose... On the one hand, I see the absurdity of socialized concern for others in that situation. On the other, I'm in favor of anything that stops someone from choosing a more reliable or more fatal means of killing themselves... and all it really suggests is that women are socialized to have empathy. What we need more of is socializing men to feel empathy, too.

[–]Comatoast 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

It doesn't require empathy, and that's not something that can be forcibly understood. It requires someone to be considerate of who is going to be cleaning up.

[–]lefterfield 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

That to me is empathy?

[–]Comatoast 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Nope, similar but different. Either way, you can press the point that it's inconsiderate to commit suicide along with other things with males as they grow but people are going to commit suicide regardless of how much it inconveniences others.

[–]lefterfield 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I think you're missing my point. The way you describe the reasoning is how empathy is often defined. And I would never tell ANYONE that the reason they shouldn't commit suicide is that it inconveniences others - that's a cruel and dismissive thing to say. What I would tell young males is that they should always be considerate of other people regardless of the circumstances. If that has the side effect of reducing male suicide - cool. Not a bad thing at all. But not the primary reason to teach them empathy.

[–]Realwoman 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (7 children)

It's not just socialization, baby girls are more interested in faces than baby boys and greater empathy is observed in most female mammals since they're the ones taking care of the young.

[–]lefterfield 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (4 children)

Fair, but that's all the more reason to have early intervention with boys. If it's a skill they need to learn(which I would argue it is) and it's something that doesn't come naturally to them, then it's something we need to focus on more with boys.

[–]Realwoman 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

Yes, but you can't completely erase true differences, the same way women can't become as tall and as strong as men even if they train and eat the right way. Men will always be more aggressive and male aggression is demonstrated in a variety of species. Testosterone is a hell of a drug.

Now on how to prevent suicide, that's a complicated topic.

[–]lefterfield 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

I don't completely agree and I don't know what that has to do with what I said. Women can't become as tall and strong as men because those are biological sex differences, and I've never denied that those exist. But when it comes to human emotions and relating to others, it is not at all clear that there is male vs female brain mode. Even if there was... Teaching children empathy is a good thing. Not sure why anyone thinks otherwise.

[–]Realwoman 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Of course it is good to teach children empathy. It's interesting that autism (which is a disorder of empathy) presents differently in girls and in boys and girls have a better prognosis in general. It can't be all because of socialization because autistic girls are less likely to pick up on subtle cues about gender stereotypes.

Also, the fact that men are more aggressive is pretty well established. Testosterone is a hell of a drug

[–]lefterfield 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Autistic children are still socialized. Not being as good at picking up on gender stereotypes has nothing to do with how you're treated by other people, or how you respond to it.

The point is: Girls are socialized to have greater empathy. We know this. It is part of the socialization of girls vs boys. Whether they are also naturally better at it or not is completely irrelevant to my statement that boys need more empathy development. It's a skill, like anything else, and it can be taught. And like any other skill, some people will struggle with it and some won't.

[–]sisterinsomnia 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

The study about baby girls being more interested in faces than baby boys had severe methodological problems and nobody has ever been able to reproduce that result in later studies (there is also an argument that eyesight is not sufficiently developed at that age which was pretty much right after birth to distinguish shapes_.

In the first study the research assistants held the baby, they knew the baby's sex, and, of course could have unconsciously been changing the angle the held baby was looking.

[–]Realwoman 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Interesting. But there is a solid evolutionary explanation for why females are more empathetic and more caring about other people - they're the ones taking care of babies. This seems to be true for all female mammals. Now for humans, it makes sense that caring fathers are more likely to have their offspring survive but I don't know if that has been demonstrated.

[–]Shinjin_Nana 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Yes, in the US the completion rate for suicide ending in death is very socialized. Women choose methods that have longer intervention times so they are not disfigured or horrify someone else. Men generally use guns.

If women used guns the same way that men did there would be more female completed suicides instead of just attempts.

[–][deleted] 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

To add, female vets of both kinds have comparable suicide rates to their male counterparts - veterans because they have the knowledge and experience with guns and veterinarians because they have access to lethal drugs.

Similarly, aside from the messy argument, there's also the clear parallel that men are choosing violent methods and women are choosing non-violent methods.

It's also important to point out the misogyny in many explanations of why the male completion rate is higher (obviously not because a violent method is more likely to do more bodily damage more quickly), but I've read papers/psychologists that explain it away by saying the women are "just looking for attention."

[–]1nvar 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

China has 8 male suicides for every 10 female suicides.

Male suicides are still much more common even in countries where guns are generally hard to acquire, so there's more to the story. Maybe the "cry for help" hypothesis is true?

[–]moody_ape 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Most women who've considered suicide would not even attempt to do so by firearms because of the bloody mess it would leave. Women do not feel they have the right to leave such a horrible mess for someone else to discover and clean up.

This really speaks to me. I contemplate suicide frequently and I can't stand the thought of my mother finding my bloody corpse. On the other hand, I think that I would have alredy done that if I had access to a gun. So I'm on the fence about this.