Celebrating Men and boys in all shapes, sizes and ways!
Men are fathers, brothers, sons, friends, husbands, boyfriends, leaders and supporters. They are strong in their vulnerability whether single, married, gay, straight, bi or trans. Men love, cry and feel. In fact, Men can be anything in a patriarchal system. Why do we need an International Men’s Day?
Although it’s true that in many societies’ men are the dominant group, this doesn’t mean that men are not victims of inequality. I understand how it sounds; however International Men’s day is a lot more then you might think and is highly valuable.
International Men’s Day is certainly not about disregarding women, nor forgetting the misogyny and inequality that is faced every day in many parts of society, nor is it intended to compete with International Woman’s day. International men’s day is about highlighting struggles men face. It’s an opportunity to break the cycle in toxic traditions, that have led to increased inequalities, that are not necessary and can be changed.
While Men are not a historically an oppressed group, there are several male specific issues that are often overlooked. Today it is about celebrating diversity to give particularly vulnerable men choice, hope and confidence to bridge the gaps in these inequalities.
Where did it all start?
International Men’s Day started in Trinidad and Tobago in 1999, it was created by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh. Dr Teelucksingh saw a need for men to be celebrated to promote male role models. There had been several attempts in the 60’s then again in the 90’s to create a day of celebration for men but had not been so successful. Due to Social media and changing social attitudes, it is now celebrated in 88 countries with the aim of highlighting the social issues faced by men both mentally and physically.
If you would like to hear more form Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, here is a link to the ‘Everywoman’ Podcast where Dr Jerome goes into more detail about the history and the journey of International Mens day.
International Mens day and Mental Health
A large focus on International Men’s days is Men’s Mental Health. The numbers speak for themselves, 76% of those that commit suicide are men. The most common cause of death for men aged under fifty is suicide. These numbers are astonishingly high and heartbreaking. Evidently, there is this perceived expectation that Men must uphold a certain way of living, which leads to a lot of weight on Men’s shoulders.
It is often those who you least expect who are struggling the most. Today is a day to check in with the men in your life, be aware and open up. You never know the impact you might have.
Above all, when we talk about male issues we mustn’t exclude the diversity we face in today’s society. Therefore, when we discuss such issues we’re not only talking about white, heterosexual cis-gender men who are successful but we make space for everyone. We must set the bar higher for each other and become more accountable.
Moving forward, in such a diversified world, we can use International Men’s day as an opportunity to engage with men. Additionally we can use this as a chance to be role models for the younger generation. Together we can create a fair and safe society that allows everyone the opportunity to prosper.
What can we do to support and celebrate?
Luckily for us, due to the great work of foundations, charities and trusts there a range of things we can all do to support this shift! This can be as little as prompting positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity at work or home or as big as fundraising for or donating to suicide prevention charities.
On the international Men’s Day website there are several links that you can do get people thinking around this topic. Visit https://www.internationalmensday.info/get_involved, for more information.
Mens Mind Matter – A Suicide Prevention Charity for men https://mensmindsmatter.org/fundraising-for-male-suicide/ .
CALM – A Campaign Against Living Miserably: https://www.thecalmzone.net/what-we-stand-for
Galop – Helping LGBT + with violence and abuse: https://galop.org.uk/
Support for those suffering from Domestic Violence: https://mankind.org.uk/help-for-victims/what-you-can-do/