The Slumflower responds to outrage over male suicide remark

Chidera Eggerue tells The Independent her comments were not directed at those who have been affected by 'the tragedy of male suicide'

Olivia Petter
Tuesday 12 March 2019 18:35 GMT
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Social media influencer Chidera Eggerue, who is professionally known as The Slumflower, has responded after prompting criticism for suggesting that high male suicide rates are not her concern.

The 24-year-old author posted a series of tweets on Sunday and Monday in which she implied that women’s issues – she referenced child marriage, sexual assault and domestic violence – should be prioritised over men’s mental health.

“If men are committing s*icide because they can’t cry, how’s it my concern? [sic]” Eggerue wrote in a now-deleted post.

The tweet quickly went viral, with many people accusing the writer of making light of a serious issue.

Speaking to The Independent, Eggerue says she is just “one woman’s voice” and that her remarks are not directed at those who have been affected by “the tragedy of male suicide”.

Eggerue explains that her intention was to highlight female oppression, a cause that she is passionately dedicated to, as opposed to trying to address men’s mental health, which is not a focus for her.

The What a time to be alone author adds that there are “wonderful mental health support groups and charities for those that need” but clarifies that “this conversation isn’t about male depression”.

“My points run deeper and I’m requesting that we create a dialogue about the bigger issue of patriarchy.”

The activist has since written a longer response on Twitter apologising to "anybody who felt triggered" by what she said.

Eggerue made the offending remark on Twitter after she’d explained how “a white woman” approached her at a talk she’d given.

The woman, Eggerue claimed, was in tears and said she agreed with her feminist views but insisted “some young men have it so hard”.

Eggerue disputed the claim in a succession of tweets.

In response to someone who said the woman in question might’ve been referencing high male suicide rates, Eggerue wrote: “Men are murdering us and abusing children and you think I have time to theorise on why they can’t cry? Lmao not me hun [sic]”.

The body positivity activist added: “Until young men are being married off at the age of six and having acid thrown in their faces for declining sexual advances, you can’t change my mind.”

In a subsequent tweet, Eggerue shunned the idea of “designing a world that is safer for my oppressor” and explained she would rather focus her energy on vulnerable women as opposed to “people who don’t know how to cry”.

The #SaggyBoobsMatter founder’s comments sparked outrage on Twitter.

One user described them as “abhorrent” while another expressed disappointment at “the nonsense she’s spewing”. Writer Reni-Eddo Lodge tweeted an article criticising Eggerue, explaining that she had “mixed feelings” about it.

But some people defended the Eggerue, including writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch, who tweeted: I’m just gonna put it out there that I’m sticking up for @theslumflower because lining up to attack a woman because you disagree with her, or saying she is ‘appalling’ because she doesn’t care about the same things as you, is not feminism to me.”

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), male suicide rates in 2017 were at the lowest since records began in 1981. But men still accounted for three-quarters of suicides that year, a statistic that the ONS said has been consistent since the mid-1990s.

If you have been affected by any issues mentioned in this article, you can contact The Samaritans for free on 116 123 or any of the following mental health organisations:

mind.org.uk

nhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealth

mentalhealth.org.uk

samaritans.org

anxietyuk.org.uk

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