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November 19 is International Men’s Day and, as the popular clickbait headline goes, the internet is not happy about it.
International Men’s Day was inaugurated in 1991 by a group of men in Kansas as a “men’s day off…to thank men for the contributions they give to society”. However, it was first continuously celebrated from 1999 by men in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and the nineteenth of November was chosen primarily to honor Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh’s father. Much like with International Women’s Day—which is celebrated on March eighth—it was created to honor the societal contributions of a specific subset of humanity, and also to place focus on the many issues faced by a specific gender—in this case, men. The theme for 2017 is Celebrating Men And Boys In All Their Diversity, which implores us to celebrate the diversity of men that exist in this current world, and that “diversity should evoke celebration and understanding”. However, celebration and understanding seem to be the last thing on most people’s minds:
Holly Baxter of The Independent believes International Men’s Day is irrelevant because some men give female journalists rape threats, and lists off some of the rape threats she’s received. She then claims there is too much hatred and division and we are not focusing on important male issues, then proceeds to only focus on sowing seeds of division. She’s not the only one:
The Mary Sue believes International Men’s Day only has a purpose if it serves feminism. Otherwise…who cares?
What superior knowledge does Jonathan McIntosh possess that makes him believe there are 364 other International Men’s Days in the year? He then says only feminism can help free men from the shackles of patriarchy. He’s not the only one: Holly Baxter ended her article stating, “because quite frankly, every day is International Men’s Day”.
Yikes. But there’s also people announcing the day has simply been canceled, because…reasons?
Sigh. Why can’t we have positivity and celebration on International Men’s Day? The irony is that this day is supposed to celebrate the diversity of all men, but many of these social media complainers—who are typically intersectional feminists—are refusing to acknowledge the diverse nature of the day.
Yes, there are horrible men. No, today is not about celebrating these men.
Both International Men’s Day and International Women’s day are important days, both with their own distinct, important purposes. While today may be full of feminists and others complaining about how International Men’s Day shouldn’t exist, fast-forward to International Women’s Day and these same people will be celebrating the beauty of the day, and the same people celebrating today will be criticizing March eighth to the high seas. Why can’t we celebrate both days, without needing to bring the other into the debate?
International Women’s Day is where we focus on highlighting issues faced by women: the rape threats faced by journalists, the role of feminists in the modern world, of “patriarchy” and how it affects women. Of course, to use the oft-mentioned Tweet, you also have 364 other days of the year to do those things, but March eighth is where you highlight those issues. Men who pop-up on International Women’s Day and complain “What about the men?” are rightfully ignored, because they have their own day.
International Men’s Day is where we focus on highlighting issues faced by men: mental health issues, the horror that is circumcision, the Father’s Right movement and the injustices perpetuated by the courts system. Just like with International Women’s Day, you also have 364 other days of the year to do these things, but November nineteenth is where you highlight those issues. Women who pop up on International Men’s Day and complain “What about the women?” should be rightfully ignored, because they have their own day.
Come on people, how hard is it to celebrate the diversity of men and boys for one whole day? Come tomorrow, you can forget all about it and celebrate some other observance, which include Universal Children’s Day and the Transgender Day of Remembrance. If you’re really against International Men’s Day for whatever absurd reason, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is also today, so you can at least pretend you’re celebrating that instead of knocking down a perfectly valid day.
However, why not stop with all this divisiveness, and let us all come together and celebrate fifty percent of the population, just like we do on March eighth? Here’s some final words from International Men’s Day UK:
Approximately 3.6 billion souls of the 7.5 billion souls who occupy this space and place we know as Planet Earth are males – Men and Boys — Homeless Men and Boys, Incarcerated Men, Married Men, Divorced Men, Single Men, Men who are Fathers, physically and mentally disabled Men and Boys, Men and Boys who live in poverty, Men and Boys who are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and agnostics, Men and Boys who are poor or rich, educated or uneducated, Men and Boys of diverse ethnicities and Men and Boys who speak different languages – French, Urdu, Spanish, English, Portugese, Swahili, Xhosa, Arabic, Gaelic, German, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Italian, Hindi, Bengali, and Punjabi/Lahnda. The experiences of Men and Boys are as diverse as their age, levels of education, religion, ethnicity, language, and culture.
Let us celebrate the wide diversity of human beings—in this case, males. In a world where negativity is so rife, positive vibes are a welcome and refreshing change.