That’s right. You heard me. Today’s International Men’s Day!
Well, all I can say is…
I mean we’re all over the place when it comes to the women, right? There’s the far more famous annual International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th, which I wrote about before. Also, while living in Vietnam, I recall they had their own nation’s version of it on October 20th. And yes, they celebrate March 8th too, so double the recognition!
And let’s not forget Mother’s Day, celebrated on the second Sunday of May every year, a good four to five weeks ahead of the oft-forgotten Father’s Day (which I also wrote about before), and far more recognised and infinitely more celebrated.
Oh, and did I mention birthdays, anniversaries, etc? All of which are predominantly remembered, observed, led and celebrated loudly and proudly by women?
When I tell guy friends about today, below are the three typical reactions
That last one sums it up. You can almost hear the crickets in the background.
How many of us actually know that there’s such a day? Or care?
I certainly didn’t know, or at least I don’t recall. And I blog about manhood and fathering stuff! (*slapping wrist* now)
Yes IMD really does exist
According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, International Men’s Day (or IMD) is actually an “annual international event (*eye roll*) celebrated (*another eye roll*) on the 19th of November”.
Yes, that’s right. An. “International”. “Event”. On. The. 19th. Of. November.
What, you ask? Not a nice round easy-to-remember date like 10th, 20th or even 8th, a number deemed highly auspicious by cultures like the Chinese? Oh yah, sorry. The women took that for their IWD!
I hear ya. No wonder no one remembers!
The objectives for having such a day are apparently spelled out in the form of The Six Pillars of IMD* that contribute to six areas: nation, society, community, family, marriage and childcare.
* promote positive male role models; celebrate men’s positive contributions; focus on men’s health & well-being; highlight discrimination against men; improve gender relations & equality; create a safer, better world.
Oh and by the way, please don’t be tempted to search for a dedicated website on IMD. Yes there is one, but it takes a long time to load, and when it does…Heck! Who am I kidding? Of course you want to. Here let me help you. Just click here (but you’ve been warned!).
A little ‘scientific experiment’
Okay, let’s do this.
Let’s take a quick scan online to see how men today are doing to prop up the six pillars in those six areas, shall we? And to keep this experiment simple but very scientifically accurate, we’ll look at just the top search engine result in Google when we type “men”, followed by each area, ok?
Ready? Here’s what popped up:
X-men: Nation X
Gifts for Men
Images of Men in families
Is on the decline
Negative attitudes from friends and family
Just look at the descriptors above: pop culture, retail, war and caricatured greeting card images, marriage decline, negative attitudes.
What a concoction!
Now let’s put the women through the same search engine exercise and see what pops up:
The importance of women communities
The importance of women in families
Is it bad for women?
The state of women and childcare in my country
Far better it would seem, at least in terms of valuing the contributions of the fairer sex.
Shall we ‘save’ International Men’s Day?
Those who watched the film Saving Private Ryan should recall the spirit and tenacity of valiant soldiers (led by Tom Hanks’ character), who left no stones unturned in their quest to bring home one of their own.
In short, a regular guy flick.
No doubt much of this positive and praiseworthy machismo still exist today. But having a dedicated day to celebrate it? Doesn’t seem to work (just like that IMD site’s founder’s page. Oops!).
Why is that? (I mean the celebration, not the site)
And even if we aren’t celebrating such symbols of masculinity on this or any day, but instead observe and recognise less conventional ones (like say err hum fathers who stay home), why the crickets? The silence? The ‘huh’?
That’s just the thing with society in general, and men in particular.
We do but we don’t discuss.
We drive but we don’t dawdle.
We drink but we don’t doodle.
And that’s the perennial script. Woe betide any man (even woman) who deviates from it!
I do but I also discuss.
I drive but I also dawdle.
I drink (juice) but I also doodle (sort of).
And whilst I too don’t need a dedicated day, what I do need (and like) is to be appreciated for who I am.
What about you?
PS For what it’s worth, Happy International Men’s Day!