Today is International Men’s Day, with the theme this year being focused on men and health issues. In a world where average life expectancy for men remains lower than for women in the majority of countries on the planet, where the victims of war are still overwhelmingly male and where finding good male role models can be a real struggle in the raising of children, I think it’s important to have a day to talk about this stuff.
I’ve long had a problem with the argument that dealing with women’s issues means that men’s issues will be dealt with as well, automatically. It strikes me that this argument does nothing to actually engage with men – rather, often, it pushes men away by seemingly deeming them to be either an enemy to be reproached or an idiot to be lectured. A joined-up approach; where we recognise that issues facing men are often as urgent and difficult as those facing women on account of their gender; is essential.
Ultimately, I would prefer an International Gender Day, or something of that ilk, wherein we can frame our conversations in terms of issues specific to our gender identity, whatever that may be – male, female or otherwise.
Having a Men’s Day is just as valid and important as having Women’s Day, Children’s Day, Black History, Hispanic History.. etc Granted these are issues that we should deal with on a daily basis, however having a day where we devote to paying attention issues that affect a specific group is a good thing. Hopefully it raises some interesting discussions that carry on past this one day.