In my post on my former blog on the subject, my view was that not only should we observe the day but we should celebrate it. Why not? Many reasons have been put forward why it is an unnecessary observation. The most overriding and compelling, to some, is that in our world structure and systems it is International Men’s Day everyday!
It is indeed a fact that men ‘rule’ the world. No one can with a straight face deny that men earn more than women for as long as we can remember. To this day, women still earn about 70% of men’s income for doing the same job. My question, though, is this – does that mean we should not celebrate International Men’s Day? Does the fact that men perpetuate more violence, generally speaking, in their homes and elsewhere bar us from observing a day for them?
What if celebrating them would help reduce the more aggressive, sometimes mean-spirited behaviours? Does observing International Men’s Day really take away anything from women?
Feminists Fight Against International Men’s Day
You might have read a post of mine in which I mentioned my ‘falling out’ with the term feminist? A large part of the reason for that has to do with the attitude and presentation of modern-day representatives of the so-called third wave of feminism. As a woman of colour, I have often felt more marginalised by some of these feminists. Their rhetoric, behaviour and attitudes have in many ways excluded the concerns, issues and lives of women who are not necessarily of their income brackets, skin colour or who have totally different lived experiences.
Only yesterday on my Facebook page I shared this video that, when I watched it the first time, made me smile and hopeful that the fourth wave of feminism, the more inter-sectional one, will be far less myopic and truly inclusive not only of women of different experiences and circumstance but men. Have a watch:
I Will Celebrate My Brothers, One And All
Writing on International Men’s Day last year, this is some of what I had to say:
“Why should they not have a day? If having an International Men’s Day will:
- Foster greater respect for themselves and for women
- Engender compassion, caring and greater understanding of the world
- Allow them time to introspect and reflect on their role in the family and communities
then I am all for an International Men’s Day.”
People in about 60 countries around the world will now be observing this special day for men. As I quoted last year, according to Wikipedia:
International Men’s Day (IMD) was inaugurated in 1992 by Prof Thomas Oaster and re-initialised in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago. The longest running celebration of International men’s day is Malta, where events have occurred since 07 February 1994.International Men’s Day, now standardised globally as 19 November finds support from a variety of individuals and groups in Australia, the Caribbean, North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Director of Women and Culture of Peace Ingeborg Breines said of IMD, ‘This is an excellent idea and would give some gender balance.’
Today, the debate continues even in the Parliament of the United Kingdom about the value of celebrating this day. Read more here and share your thoughts on the main point that this day is an opportunity to highlight men’s issues. What do you think about this story about a male university student feeling compelled to commit suicide after feminists on his campus won their fight against celebrating International Men’s Day?
As I concluded last year, “whether a greater level of gender balance is achieved through the celebrations remains to be seen. I for one have no issue with men having a day set aside for things other than sports, war and cutthroat competitions.” This could be no more true for me this year – as a womanist, a mother-in-law, a manager of male employees and a human being who has a special interest in women’s affairs but love men as equals.
So, here are five ways you can celebrate the men in your lives, including those at work and the ones at home. Read this article in The Daily Life for them. Please also share this blog with your men friends on social media and let them know that we have varying and practical conversations here for subscribers! If they join our community, they will receive one daily email update as well as my monthly FREE newsletter that includes an affirmation poster that both men and women will find useful!
Men, have a wonderful day and cheers!