Today men have ultimately been forgotten about. We have been cast aside and left to fend for ourselves, struggling with emotions and thoughts that are often a taboo subject. In England, around one in eight men have a common mental health problem, with 53% of men feel like society expects them to never ask for emotional support. We’re taught from a young age to display traditionally masculine behaviours with common phrases like man up, boys don’t cry, you play like a girl and boys will be boys.
If you are a boy, you have inherently heard these words at least once in your life. They are said to you because you can’t cry, you need to act like a man by standing up and putting your feelings aside and getting on with life. These words are a rite of passage into adulthood, a tradition, culture amongst men. In this culture, societal normalities teach us to assume masculine traits consisting of strength, courage, independence, leadership, and assertiveness. We are taught to be tough and aggressive as a validation into successful competition of power and wealth. Because only when we achieve these toxic traits can we truly be considered manly.
The Forgotten Man challenges societal normalities around masculinity and the toxicity situated with it. The project proposes a replacement scheme to the demolished Dorman Long tower near to Middlesbrough, amongst the death of the steel industry, huge levels of unemployment and disturbingly high levels of male suicides. The project follows a journey of self-discovery through a series of intimate pavilions that respond to the societal stereotypes of masculinity. It is through these understandings of masculinity that we can advocate for men’s mental health and the design of spaces that are positive for men.