WHY CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL MEN\’S DAY?
You may be wondering why there is a day to celebrate men when every day could be considered male since this type of official days tend to acknowledge and celebrate the \”underdog.\” So this November celebration may raise an eyebrow. But men are just as much in need of celebration and support as other groups.
Like every group, men are diverse. While our society may tell us that manhood is supposed to be a certain way, there are many men who are exploring the range of gender spectrum. Gender fluidity challenges more and more the very notion of binary gender divisions and what a \”man\” should be.
At one end of the spectrum, men are trapped by stereotype threat. Conforming to society\’s idea of what a man is supposed to be, this type of ideology can be toxic.
MASK OF MASCULINITY
Too often, we men find it easier to define what we are not than what we actually are because we have been conditioned to strive toward a very narrow target: never cry, be strong, don\’t show your feeling, play through the pain, suck it up, win at all costs, don\’t lose, be aggressive, get rich, and get laid.
When a man\’s reality doesn\’t live up to his \”ideal\” masculine life, he experiences a sense of defeat, a low sense of self-worth, and loneliness. Yet there remains a fundamental human need to find our own identity and a sense of belonging.
We need to extend empathy to those who appear to least need it. Men need to fulfil society’s expectations (or the perceived expectations others have) just like women do. Yet we need to ask ourselves why it is that boys are struggling academically, prisons are full of men and the most common cause of death for men under 50 is suicide.
VULNERABILITY IS STRENGTH
It’s far harder for men to be vulnerable because that is acting outside their prescribed gender role. So, it’s good to have a day that celebrates male diversity and that reminds us all that men don’t have to be imprisoned by stereotypes in the way that women don’t either.
And this is the product of patriarchy.
Yes, patriarchy is hurting men, too.
WE NEED TO RAISE OUR SONS BETTER
We don\’t need to do a better job protecting our daughters. We need to do a better job raising our sons. We need to teach them that showing vulnerability is strong. We need to teach them they can express emotions other than aggression and anger. We need to teach them that manhood doesn\’t have to be a certain way; it can be whatever they choose it to be.
Happy International Men\’s Day to all the kind, caring, and supportive men who are making a difference all around the world.