International Men's Day.. and Matters Arising

Wednesday, November 21, 2018



This past Monday was International Men's Day (yaaay!!)

Individuals and organisations all over the world celebrated the awesome males among us. You can be sure that we joined to celebrate our men as well.

But...

In the wake of the celebrations, I came across a couple of (tongue-in-cheek) comments, questioning why Men's day was not as celebrated with the same amount of flair, pomp and pageantry, as Women's day.

(Duuh. Ask Sista Beyonce who runs the world)

Image result for who runs the world gif

On a serious note however, these comments are rather similar to the Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day comparisons. About how there are several Mothers’ Days, depending on one’s country and/or religious denomination. On the other hand, Fathers’ Day does not boast of such proliferation. Rather, a singular day across board,which is not met with equal measure of excitement.

Is it that men/fathers are regarded to have sacrificed or given less than women/mothers? Is it that the world has now ‘devalued’ the value of men?

I do not think so.

Realistically, it goes without saying that from time immemorial, it has been a "man's world". Life - through meticulously constructed patriarchal institutions and indoctrination - has generally been suited to favour men, with everything about mankind (all pun intended) being carved in the shadow of the man.

It is only with our generation, with us pushing for change and diversity and equality, that women are (finally!) beginning to come into their own. Even at that, there are still numerous glass ceilings standing between women and achieving great heights like their male counterparts, in the struggle for equality.

It is for this reason that there is much more celebration of women; recognising the extra hurdles they surmount in rightly putting themselves on the same pedestal with males, in a world designed to suit male values.

It is quite similar to the conversations around the celebration of Black History month every February, and why there is no corresponding “White History month”.

This is because most other things in the world celebrates European-styled culture, with the ‘natural’ expectation of the rest of the world to follow suit.

This is visible in the majority of the television cartoons, beauty commercials, the demand for 'good' hair at schools or the work place, and when teachers continue to peddle the narrative that Mungo Park 'discovered' the River Niger.

(*cough)

But people are recognizing the past sacrifices in the world and great lengths people of colour have had to go to; obstacles they surmounted in achieving 'success' equal to their counterparts of European heritage, even while being the minority. Hence, Black History month and the accompanying celebrations.

Similar to the case our men: it all boils down to the conscious acknowledgement of the existence of privilege.

The fact that there IS male privilege, and women excel despite the prejudices that this privilege occasions. This is why it would appear as though women are celebrated more, as posited by reverse-discrimination conspiracy theorists.

This is not so easily the case. Women just have more reasons to rejoice when they succeed and pat themselves on the back, because they (generally) have more mountains to climb, and obstacles to face.

But is this to say that men do not have their fair share of struggles, and/or should not be celebrated? Absolutely not!

While we acknowledge that the average human male probably does not have it as difficult as his female counterpart ... we recognise the struggles and sacrifices our men also make in the daily struggle for survival in this journey called life.

We appreciate the input and support of male allies, and stand strong with our men who have also been victims of #MeToo; who just like us, are refusing to keep quiet any longer.

Besides... how would the world continue to exist without the male-kind?

So on this International Men’s Day celebration, I say to the amazing men living among us: You are special, and highly valued. Keep being amazing, and using your male privilege for the greater good in enthroning fairness, social justice, diversity, inclusion and equality.

Happy International Men’s Day.

With love,

Meg.


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Photo-Credits in order of appearance:
1. www.unsplash.com - Taylor Grote
2. www.unsplash.com - Javier Reyes

3. www.giphy.com

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