On Tuesday 19 November 2019, we celebrate International Men’s Day. Many people don’t even know that such a day exists. Some years ago, Punch Columnist Richard Fleming wrote an article to celebrate International Women’s Day titled, “Why there is no International Men’s Day”.
The opening sentence gives us the foundation for his thesis. “With today being International Women’s Day, there will be millions of men around the world thinking, “This is so sexist! Where is my ‘International Men’s Day?’.”
“IF”: a Poem by Rudyard Kipling — video promoting Movember
Richard Fleming then goes on to point out the incredible inequality that women suffer, particularly in the third world. He is right. Women in general do very badly in third world countries. The oppression of women as a gender in these countries is visceral.
Fleming has worked in the third world, and I can confirm as someone who has worked with and visited the poor in Africa and other third world nations in Asia, that women are in need of a strong voice. Hopefully, International Women’s Day will continue to be a voice for them.
Having said that, the situation in the West is altogether different. Masculinity has been derided for almost half a century, and the male of the species is showing a lot of wear and tear in vital statistics. Sadly, the most popular adjective to describe masculinity is found in the very popular phrase, “Toxic Masculinity”.
The Australia Bureau of Statistics pointed out many years ago that men fare worse than women in education, health and crime. The simple facts are that men are killing themselves between three and four times the rate of women, and they die on average four years earlier. To a lesser or greater extent, these figures are mirrored across the western world.
The controversial book by Hanna Rosin, ‘The End of Men: and the Rise of Women’ illustrates the point perfectly. Feminist author Susan Faludi’s groundbreaking book ‘Stiffed’ is written along the same lines, but with more compassion.
Perhaps the comments below Richard Fleming’s article best explain some of the history of International Women’s Day, and the need for an International Men’s Day. A comment by ‘Terry’ puts it this way:
‘International Women’s Day was created strictly to promote socialist politics and was always referred to by the Communist name ‘International Working Women’s Day’. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the word ‘working’ was dropped along with its socialist meaning. Beginning in the 1970’s IWD became co-opted by feminists.
Whereas IWWD was previously used to promote women’s oppression by a class of bourgeois upper class men-AND-WOMEN, 1970s feminists changed the basis of “IWD” by stating that men as a class of “male chauvinists” completely controlled women who were each and all men’s victims.
One can say that in the 1970s IWD became a brand new IWD with males — all males — for the first time becoming “the” enemy. But IWD limped along as a fairly insignificant world event until 1980s when “Patriarchy Theory” was elaborated as the brand new theory necessitating observance of an IWD.
Then women joined it in vast numbers (mostly out of paranoia that men were out to oppress them) and the event continues to grow primarily as a gender war, the principle being that men alone as a privileged class hurt women alone as the oppressed class.
International Men’s Day has a completely different reason for coming into being. Although IMD objectives occasionally intersect with those of IWD, such as advocating equality between the sexes, it is predominately about celebrating positive male role models, a very worthy aim in a social context which highlights ONLY males behaving badly (perhaps a self-fulfilling propaganda exercise by the patriarchy theorists who are now in various positions of influence in media, social services, etc).
Said concisely, International Women’s Day started as a day for women to promote socialist objectives, especially for proletarian women to fight against oppression by the upper bourgeois class of men and women.
In the 1970’s it became a new movement claiming that men alone oppressed women, and that IWD will be used as a vehicle to promote, primarily, an assumed gender war.
International Men’s Day is not based on the assumption of a gender war. IMD is primarily about promoting and celebrating positive male role models in a contemporary world context which is obsessed with teaching all young boys and girls that males behave badly, and only badly.’
Terry has hit the nail on the head. The 2019 theme for www.internationalmensday.com is ‘Making a difference for Men and Boys’ in the light of the need for positive male role models. International Men’s Day is not based on the assumption of a gender war, but is about celebrating the good things that men bring to our families and society.
The six pillars of International Men’s Day are standing the test of time.
To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sportsmen, but every day, working-class men who are living decent, honest lives.
To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
To focus on men’s health and well-being: social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
To highlight discrimination against men: in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.
To create a safer, better world, where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.
The Movember fundraising campaign for men’s health has put a particularly positive spin on the importance of manhood by promo videos like “If”, featured earlier. They have also raised $911 million worldwide for men’s health since starting in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia. See this video. Help them if you can.
Make a Difference for Men and Boys. Celebrate the importance of positive male role models by being one yourself. Your children need your positive maleness more than you will ever know. Why not get together with a few male friends on 19 November and observe the obvious? Children need fathers in their lives just as much as they need their mothers.
Yours for celebrating the obvious,
PS: We don’t ask for help often, but we need your fiscal support to promote International Men’s Day, to turn the tide of men’s suicide and help make a difference for men and boys. Give NOW AT THIS LINK.