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We are two friends that also happen to make music as an electronic pop duo, now based in London, UK (we're from Newcastle).
Last year we released a song called "Walk Alone"; a song about the frustrations we felt growing up with the pressures and expectations of "being a man". On 6th September 2019, we're releasing a new EP that, in part, continues to build on this conversation.
Alongside releasing a new EP, we've decided to run the Great North Run this year to raise money for CALM, an incredible charity dedicated to male suicide prevention, who are trying to evolve this important conversation (more info below).
We’re dedicating this run to close friends and family of ours that have sadly suffered with related mental health issues and, in the worst cases, suicide. We've included further thoughts and details below.
Please donate what you can afford and follow our story on instagram if you'd like to track our shoddy training -- @thisisjoyya
Love from Ben & David
We're all familiar with the terms "take it like a man", "grow a pair" or "man up" -- everyday phrases guilty of propagating the harmful narrative that men should be strong, muscular, emotionless vessels that shouldn’t show signs of weakness or vulnerability. You don't have to look far in film, advertising or the media to catch a glimpse of this toxic (and often subversive) portrayal of manhood.
As a result, many men are left feeling without space to open up -- so when they feel like they don't live up to society's expectations it becomes a problem that affects all of us. Outdated stereotypes can be harmful not just to men but also their closest partners, friends and family members.
We think this paragraph from a recent WIRED article gets it, nicely:
"Narrowing the definition of manhood can be highly problematic. Men are more likely than women to commit suicide, suffer from drug addiction or end up in jail. Scientific studies show that boys as young as five already repress their feelings and hide signs of weakness in order to appear more ‘masculine’.
In later years, this reluctance to ask others for help, this stoic self-sufficiency, leads many men to suffer in silence. After all, vulnerability is not something that comes easily to men - perhaps because of the misconception of what 'being a man' is all about.
Thanks to more frankness about mental health in the media, vulnerability is being transformed into a positive attribute. The same could be done for other perceived weaknesses.”
British artist Grayson Perry recently published The Descent of Man in which he makes a plea for a more expansive blueprint for masculinity, one that prizes reliability, flexibility, plurality, and emotional literacy in the same way that strength, certainty, stoicism have been celebrated in the past — we agree that this more multidimensional, progressive version of masculinity feels like a step in the right direction <3
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. On average 12 men take their own life every day – more than three times the number of women. CALM works to prevent male suicide by providing services for men who are down or in crisis, and by campaigning for culture change so men feel able to seek help.
Find out more at http://thecalmzone.net