1. Every day isn’t International Men’s Day
So let’s get two things clear from the start. Firstly, anyone who tells you that “every day is International Men’s Day” is not a comic genius, we’ve heard it a million times before. Secondly, when 13 men a day commit suicide in the UK; when boys underperform girls at every stage of education; when one in five men die before the age of 65; when men are the main victims of both men’s violence and women’s violence; when dads of all backgrounds face a range of challenges from juggling work and family, to staying in their children’s lives if they are separated; and when the majority of the homeless, imprisoned and long-term unemployed are men, every day is not International Men’s Day.
2. We Need To Talk About Men
One of the great ironies about men’s issues, is that while it is common for well-meaning people to tell men to talk when we try and talk about men’s issues, people are quick to close us down. Whether it’s Jess Philips MP trying to block a debate about men’s issues or The University of York withdrawing its plans to mark IMD, we can find it deeply uncomfortable to talk about the problems men and boys can face. International Men’s Day has been helping the UK to talk about men’s issues since 2010. So what are we waiting for? Let’s talk about men!
3. Politicians Have Embraced The Day
Last month, Theresa May became the first British Prime Minister to acknowledge International Men’s Day saying: “I recognise the important issues that this event seeks to highlight, including men’s health, male suicide rates and the underperformance of boys in schools, these are serious issues that must be addressed in a considered way.”
But men’s issues aren’t just a one party issues, yesterday politicians across the political spectrum took part in the first ever IMD debate in the main chamber of the House of Commons. So whatever your viewpoint, IMD is a great day to make the personal, political for men and boys.
4. It’s Inclusive Of All Men And Boys
Over the years, some people have equated International Men’s Day to holding a “White History Month” or a “Heterosexual Pride Day”, forgetting then men and boys of all races, sexualities and gender identities, hold up half the sky. Many of the issues that affect men and boys of all backgrounds, have a greater impact on Black and Asian males and men who identify as gay, bisexual and transgender. This year the boxing promoter Kellie (formerly Frank) Maloney, spoke out about transgender issues at an International Men’s Day conference in Poole, reminding us that IMD celebrates men in all their diversity.
5. There’s something for everyone
IMD UK in its current format began life in 2010, with a conference aimed at improving public services for men and boys in Brighton & Hove. Now you’ll find similar conversations taking place all over the country in places like Belfast , Manchester, Abergavenny and Northampton. There are lots of universities showing their peers in York how to celebrate IMD, in places like Glasgow, Aberystwyth and UCL. And if you tune into your local radio station, you may well hear people talking about men’s stuff, particularly if you live in Cambridge where presenter Matt Webb has dedicated his show to IMD every year for as long as we can remember.
6. Big Brands Are Getting On Board
The commercial sector has been slow to see men and boys as worthy beneficiary of Corporate Social Responsibility, with the notable exception of those brands and business that partner with Movember. The annual mo-growing festival gets men raising money for serious issues like prostate cancer, by not taking themselves too seriously. Some brands, however, are thinking more deeply about men’s issues and Lynx’s #BiggerIssues campaign on male suicide for IMD last year, reached 24 million people and won the charity sector’s Corporate Partnership of the Year award. According to Stephen Hull, writing in Campaign magazine, more brands should be using IMD as an opportunity “to create a more multifaceted, and real, portrayal of men.”
7. It Keeps Angry Men’s Activists Off The Streets
Well, that’s not entirely true. In fact, while the angriest of men’s rights activists defiantly refuse to support International Men’s Day in the UK because it is inclusive of everyone including feminists, you may encounter some men’s rights protestors on the street. The Men Do Complain campaign regularly uses the day to hit the streets and raise awareness of the rarely discussed issue of unnecessary male circumcision. And this year, there is a March for Family Law Reform and Father’s Equal Rights in London.
8. You Can Be A Feminist And Support IMD
Feminism has not had the happiest of relationships with IMD. It was supporters of International Women’s Day who first coined the bitchy riposte “every day is International Men’s Day” and for over a decade leading male feminists like the three Michaels (Flood, Kaufman and Kimmel) have opposed the day and called on people to boycott it.
Yet in recent years, free-thinking feminists have broken ranks, like the University of Surrey’s Feminist Society, who ran an excellent event last year and the writer on men and masculinity, Joseph Gelfer, who called on fellow feminists to embrace IMD. Most significantly of all, when 200 old-school feminists successfully lobbied the University of York to cancel its celebrations last year, one of their students, Ruth Morris, gathered over 4,000 signatures agreeing with her that “true feminists should be fighting for gender equality of both men and women”.
Most Helpful Opinions
I know MRAs and feminists don't often get along because of those feminists you mention who do their best to stop them from talking about men's issues at all including male suicide (then wonder why they're labelled man-haters), but I don't know why they'd push away feminists who want to help.
Many feminists like myself make it a mission to raise awareness about men's issues and emotional oppression. While men do rule the world, that doesn't eliminate the fact that we are crippled as a society when men aren't encouraged to share emotions or be who they really want to be in life. Everyone should feel safe to reach out.
I'll never understand why some feminists have such an issue with IMD. Of course those in positions of power are mostly men, but they're such a tiny percentage of the male population. There are plenty of disadvantaged men who nobody gives a shit about, and they definitely don't have the same kind of power at all. That's why they make up the majority of the homeless, suicide deaths etc. k
It's not an issue with men I'd say. It's an issue with society and the mindset. While yes a small percentage of men rule the world. Men still have more opportunity when it comes to work in general. Most CEOs are men, most managers are men, men on average are being paid more. That stems from biases that we have in society that we're all guilty of making at some point.
So I think many see IMD as a recognition that white men don't necessarily need. They already have the potential for opportunity that many don't. That's not saying that men don't have their own challenges. I'm just not sure if those challenges quite hold the same weight as trying to overcome lack of opportunity based solely on your race or gender. It's a different kind of struggle.
Honestly I'm not totally sure where I stand on it. We celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day. And men should be celebrated too. I can see both sides of the issue. It's just a complex one.
Because it is self-evident that Feminists who want to 'help', or 'talk', are attempting to infiltrate and destroy the men's movement.
Women in general and Feminists in particular cannot stand the thought that men might have a space to themselves, an area where their thoughts and words cannot be policed by women.
Feminists do not just dislike men, they loathe men with a consuming passion. All that you have to do is look up the writings of Feminist thinkers such as Valerie Solanas, Andrea Dworkin and Gloria Steinem.
Have you forgetten #killallmen and #maletears and "I aborted by baby because it was a boy"?
Rejecting the involvement of women is a matter of recognising the enemy at the gate of the city. Feminists have spent much of the past 60 years screaming abuse at us, working day and night to destroy and generally harm men in every imaginable way. Now one or two appear at the door and want in so that they can make nice with us? Have your heard of the Trojan Horse?
I think that way of thinking comes from looking upwards at the guys at the top and ignoring the guys at the bottom. There must be a reason that so many men end up homeless and kill themselves. I've known several men who've killed themselves, aged from 16-40. All were white, but by that logic they don't matter.
I just don't see what women lose by allowing men to deal with these issues. Having IMD and listening to men about their issues doesn't take away from women's issues at all.
@AdamThomas I completely agree with you about allowing them to deal with their issues. Like I said, that's not even a question. You won't find any disagreement from me there. It matters to me and there needs to be more conversation about it.
@FrostyFlame Women like to talk about the glass ceiling all the time but totally avoid the glass basement. 65% of men are stuck in the glass basement, doing the dirtiest, smelliest, most dangerous, invisible, wettest, weather-beaten, strenuous and thankless jobs on the planet, and the vast majority of these workers are men. Naturally, women aren't advocating for women in these positions at all. So why are men doing them if they're so horrible? "Cuz women have no interest in them or aren't physically capable of doing them. So someone has to work the building trades, construction, power grid, water, electricity, petrol and all the other blue collar jobs. Someone had to build the physical construction and infrastructure of society i. e. civilization. These men and others invented the vast majority of stuff we use in society every day. And even though these workers control, run and maintain society, they're thought to hold no power. Without them, where do you think we'd be? Well, no one would be striving for any white collar jobs like the ones women are shooting for.
When women strive only for high-caliber, white-collar jobs where the air conditioning might have to be adjusted because it's too cold - middle and upper management (just can't be an office work, gotta be a manager), CEO (only one of the rarest positions in business that's usually elected by a board of trustees or something - yeah sure, women deserve this just for existing), and high politics (more powerful elected officials) - it's not hard to see the motives, and when it's made easier by cutting out half of their competition... why do they wonder when they get no respect not only from the men in those companies, but more so from the women who earned their positions without entitlement and/or quotas?