Over the past few weeks, both Will Smith and Kanye West have faced their fair share of personal struggles. For Will, he openly discussed the breakdown of his marriage with Jada on an episode of Red Table Talk. And for Kanye, it’s clear that he’s going through a manic episode during his presidential campaign, which is concerning for his family and friends.
But from what I’ve seen online, neither Will nor Kanye are being taken seriously. Instead, images of both men in these personal situations have been circulating as memes online. And honestly, it’s disgusting.
@tobyrozarioIm here for the boys/men ❤️ @willsmith ##kanyewest ##fyp ##foryoupage ##mensmentalhealth ##mensmentalhealthawareness ##mentalhealth ##mentalhealthawareness♬ original sound – tobyrozario
The world has changed a lot since these men emerged onto the scene 25-35 years ago, but one thing that hasn’t seemed to change is the response of the public to men’s mental health. It’s unsupportive and dismissive, and it’s no secret why so many men struggle to talk about their problems.
y’all please stop making memes of will smith crying and entertaining kanye’s manic depressive episode bc all it’s doing is further trivialising and lessening the importance we put on men’s mental health
— kunaal (@_kunaal_gupta) July 22, 2020
Will, Jada, And The Entanglement
the fact that will smith looking upset and kanye crying turned into memes is proof that the mental health of men is not taken seriously
— Gennette (@molina__g) July 22, 2020
For those of you who haven’t seen the episode of Red Table Talk in question, I’m gonna give you a quick overview of the situation.
In this episode, Jada brought herself to the table to clear up rumours that had been circulating in the media. She and Will together spoke openly about their decision to separate roughly four years ago, and the following “entanglement”/relationship with August Alsina that followed.
They wanted to take control of the narrative that had been spun about them by the media.
Will was visibly upset in the clip. Understandably. He even said that he thought their marriage was over. It’s never easy to talk about when and why a relationship collapses.
However, within minutes of the episode airing, memes were already popping up of Will’s face and the “entanglement”. His pain, and Jada’s pain, weren’t being taken seriously, but were rather turned into a joke.
I feel like the fact that Will Smith crying became a worldwide meme highlights how far we are from taking men’s mental health seriously
— juno (@junotheleafs) July 21, 2020
Will Smith Crying was then trending on Twitter too. Thankfully, however, when I looked this morning, most of the posts in the tag were condemning the memes that have been made. But that doesn’t change the fact that the memes were made, and that the couple’s openness and honest was ridiculed online for weeks. It has to stop. But of course it didn’t end there.
Kanye’s Manic Episodes
No jokes right now. I have dedicated my career to offering education and insight about bipolar disorder and I’m so disturbed by what I’m seeing. Personal opinions about someone aside, a manic episode isnt a joke. If you can’t offer understanding or sympathy, offer your silence.
— h (@halsey) July 21, 2020
In case you didn’t know already, in 2016 Kanye West was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder involves manic and depressive episodes that can occur at any time and last for long periods too. Bipolar disorder can be a chronic lifelong issue for the individual.
If you’ve seen any footage of Kanye, or any tweets from him lately, it’s blatantly obvious that he’s in manic episode right now, which has his friends, family, and fans concerned for his wellbeing.
After footage was released of Kanye crying and screaming while talking about how he “almost killed his daughter”, the memes came flooding in. And unlike Will Smith’s tag on twitter, the Kanye West Crying tag had some pretty fkd tweets. One person even called him a “f**king loser” for crying. How is that supportive or helpful for anyone??
To clarify, when Kanye says that he almost killed his daughter, he means that Kim’s pregnancy with North was almost terminated. North is not in any physical danger from Kanye. Kanye has since publicly voiced his anti-abortion stance.
Kanye West: “My Mom saved my life. My Dad wanted to abort me … There would have been no Kanye West … I almost killed my daughter.” pic.twitter.com/wL0ynH0EXT
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) July 19, 2020
I’ve never been a massive Kanye West fan. I don’t necessarily dislike him, I just haven’t really given a lot of thought to him. But even for me, reading his tweets and watching him speak is disturbing and worrying. It’s clear that there’s a big problem, and it’s also clear that he isn’t getting the right help and support that he needs.
I really hope Kanye gets the help he needs expeditiously. It’s disheartening to see him crying for help and no one is taking it seriously.
— KB👸🏽 (@_kaitlynalana) July 21, 2020
His situation is only made worse by the trolls and memes online that are making fun of his already very fragile state of mind. No one deserves to be treated like that, even if you don’t necessarily like them.
Mental Health Isn’t A Joke
the fact that Kanye West is being flamed and made fun of online while clearly dealing with a bad case of manic depression and bipolar or the fact Will Smith crying turned into a meme is proof men’s mental health isn’t taken seriously and doesn’t mean shit …..
— ®️ay (@raygxmz) July 23, 2020
The response of the public to both of these situations, as with almost every serious issue, is to turn it into a meme. The same was done in 2007 when Britney Spears shaved her head, and when Katy Perry spoke about her depression.
Funny that people are posting stories about how men’s mental health is a joke to the world with the fact that Will Smith’s crying turned into a meme, as if they didn’t turn Katy Perry into a meme when she shared her story of how she was struggling with depression. pic.twitter.com/SB1NvP3QKw
— Yashoda Asdeo (@yashoda_asdeo) July 22, 2020
Mental health is not taken seriously. The lack of discussion surrounding mental health contributes to the perpetuated stigma of mental health issues. It has become a cycle. Person speaks about mental health; said person is ridiculed; that person, and others who see the ridicule, no longer come forward; people put down others for speaking up.
Especially for men in today’s society, their struggles with mental health are taken even less seriously than others. According to Lifeline, eight Australians take their own life every day, and 75% of these people are men. We need to do better.
Will Smith crying was turnt into a meme and you think I’ll ever open up about my feelings?
— Flaco🏌🏽♂️ (@flaco1st) July 22, 2020
Sometimes these discussions are tough to have. I know that all too well. The fear of rejection, judgement and mockery all play into why I personally find it hard to talk about how I’m feeling. I’ve been struggling with my own issues for months, and finally made the first step in doing something about it two weeks ago.
It’s a process that takes time, but there are things you can do to get in a better head space. And two things to remember are: you aren’t alone, and your feelings are valid.
Image Source: Twitter (@AsthtcShaktiman, @OBWylin)