Data released by the NHS shows how the number of girls under 18 admitted for self-harm into hospitals has almost doubled in two decades (1997-2017). The Children’s Society report identified that issues related to looks, gender stereotypes and sexuality were drivers behind such behaviour.
Whilst it is deeply saddening that such a large number of children feel so aggrieved and unable to deal with these problems, it is unfortunately not surprising to see children respond with distress in an attempt to come to terms with the expectations a secular liberal society places upon them.
Girls have long been made to feel insecure about their physical appearance – in a society that exploits female sexuality to sell anything from toiletries to cars and for the gratification of men. Additionally, pressures are being faced by both boys and girls as they try to navigate through a society where secular liberals (backed by the power of the state) are rapidly discarding certainties held across time and place related to gender, sexuality and life goals. Such certainties – driven by theistic beliefs across the world – have been discarded for nothing other than the promotion of ideologically driven secular liberal policies.
Mental health crises cannot be dealt with through a psychological or medical lens alone, rather they need to be addressed at a creedal level.
It is the values and goals promoted by liberalism – trying to create harmony between wants and tranquillity – that do not understand that the trajectory for wants is never-ending, therefore causing perpetual emptiness and despair.
A state based upon the Islamic creed will provide clear guidance in all areas of societal affairs – striking the perfect balance between maintaining the happiness of the individual in a healthy manner, whilst promoting cohesion and stability in society. It is one where roles of men and women are clearly defined in a series of divinely allocated duties and rights, with the objective for both genders being to seek the pleasure of Allah ﷻ.
Men and women are valued for the righteousness of their character rather than their material attributes, which removes the pressure-cooker of unrealistic expectations related to beauty and body image that are all too prevalent in secular liberal societies today.
Additionally, Islam places great emphasis upon a wide family unit rather than the restricted nuclear family or increasingly atomised individual lives people find themselves living today, with no one to readily turn to for support in times of need. These rules together form a cohesive and tranquil society for the public as well as the individual.
Take home message:
Pressurising expectations around looks, sexuality, wealth, etc, and long-held views around gender roles and identity being thrown out of the window, is confusing individuals and wreaking havoc upon society. Islam clearly defines gender roles and the purpose of human existence, thus providing contentment to individuals and stability within society.