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International Men’s Day

by Akash Khatri

December 1, 2020

Every year on 19 November international men’s day is observed like the women’s Day on 8th march. The only difference is that many people don’t even know this day exists. And questions like ‘In a man’s world why is a MEN’S DAY needed?’ are often asked.

The idea of a Men’s Day was first written down by American Journalist, John Harris in 1968. He wrote about how we have a day for women, but not one for men.

In 1993 Thomas Oaster, the director of the Missouri centre of men’s studies, invited organisations to host small events for men in the USA, Australia and Malta. This event was held in February for 2 years but then after the second year, due to the poor attendance, he ceased organising an event. Malta still continued to hold an event in February.

In 1999, this day was revived by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh. He realised that even though there was a day for fathers, there was no day celebrated for men who aren’t fathers or who areyoung boys and teenagers.

He started celebrating this on 19 November; the day of his father’s birthday and the day a local soccer team had United his country with their endeavours to qualify for the world cup.

The International Men’s Day aims to promote positive aspects of male identity based on the premise that men might respond more constructively and lead to positive role models that tend to negative gender stereotyping. The day does not intend to compete with the International Women’s Day, but to highlight the importance of men’s physical and mental health and positive masculinity.

It is also an opportunity to recognise men who don’t fall into traditional manifestations of masculinity and also gay, bisexual and transgender masculine non-binary people.

Malta had still been celebrating Men’s Day in February; but in 2009, they started celebrating the day in November

Moreover the objectives are focusing on men’s and boys’ mental health, highlighting positive male roles. Men may also express the discrimination against them at home, workplaces, public places or in general.

It is not uncommon that so many men feel pressured to put up a strong and tough front, and not to show any emotions. Because, “men are not emotional”; “men don’t cry.”

Just like women, men face discrimination too. The reason we don’t hear so much about men being discriminated against is that most men don’t speak up against it. It can be very serious in some cases. But men are very less likely to discuss their experiences. And most men don’t have an example of someone speaking up; so they don’t know if they can call it discrimination; and even if they can, to speak up or not.

The major problem is that men, from a very young age, since they are small boys, are told to “man up” and to deal with their problems “like a man.”

Men face discrimination when they don’t fit into stereotypes about their gender. Men who are sensitive, show emotions, or do not act so-called “masculine,” are often criticised, taunted, commented on and asked to behave more “like a man.”

While we work to protect women, let’s acknowledge that sexual harassment of men is not a joke either. There are increasing instances of men being on the receiving end — from being a target of comments heavy with sexual innuendo to being stalked — men are supposed to be ‘men’, they are to take all of this in the spirit intended, and not feel uncomfortable and/or complain.

The Six Pillars of Men’s Day are:

  1. To focus on men’s and boys’ mental and physical health.

  2. Enhancing Gender Relations.

  3. Promoting Gender Equality and well being.

  4. Focusing on discrimination against men.

  5. Promoting positive men role models.

  6. Helping in creating a safer and better world

People fail to understand that men, just like women, are diverse, too. I’m pretty sure when we hear the word MAN, a lot of us imagine a masculine, not too expressive, strongly built… man.

And when some guy shares his emotions, is more affectionate and delicate- he is judged?

This is what builds up to “toxic masculinity.” And that’s what leads to an unspoken pressure in a boy’s mind; right from a very young age, forcing him to make himself fit into THAT definition of what a man is.

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