Today is International Men’s Day (IMD), a fact likely to be met with a combination of puzzlement and resentment – a mix of ‘why” and ‘how dare they?’
What’s the point of it?
It has long been established that, in the name of equal rights and justice, women should have their day. Given the male-dominanted world we live in, there’s a strong argument to say that if men have problems, they have only themselves to blame.
In a snidey piece in the Guardian, Richard Herring writes “I love it when people try to manufacture an injustice out of a position of clear superiority”.
But before going too far along a variation of the ‘all men are bastards’road, it would be useful to highlight some issues which DO apply only to men. For example,it is worth remembering that men are three to five times more likely to commit suicide than women. This shocking statistic does not suggest that males of the world are universally basking in the glory of their higher status.
Men also have plenty of health issues that are too often ignored or ridiculed. The macho culture places a stigma on seeking help for sexual problems or stress related illnesses. In addition, early warnings of prostate cancer are just as crucial as those for breast cancer but no routine screening is done.
I believe there is a need for widespread ‘well-men’ centres which could begin to challenge the notion that it is somehow wimpishly non-masculine to ask for help and/or seek preventative cures
That said, the world is in such a state that men should weep and do not deserve any special sympathy.
IMD will do little to change entrenched attitudes. Men and women are more likely to unite and fight together in the name of an anti-sexist day.