International Men’s Day

17th November 2022 - 25th November 2022
This year, International Men’s Day will take place on 19th November and theme is “Helping Men and Boys”.

About the campaign

International Men’s Day was founded in 1999 by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, a history lecturer at University of the West Indies in Trinidad Tabago. Teelucksingh aims were to “strive for gender equality and patiently attempt to remove the negative images and stigma associated with men in our society.”

The Six Pillars of IMD

There are Six Pillars that define International Men’s Day and its objectives. They are:

  1. To promote positive male role models: not just movie stars and sports men but every day, working-class men who are living decent, honest lives.
  2. To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, childcare, and the environment.
  3. To focus on men’s health and wellbeing: social, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
  4. To highlight discrimination against men in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
  5. To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.
  6. To create a safer, better world, where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential

With these pillars in mind, we can begin to think about how we can do little things to celebrate and join in on this day but there are few things to consider.

Celebrating International Men’s Day

We cannot remove the negative images and stigma associated with men in our lives and society if we first don’t confront and acknowledge them. Unfortunately, the vast majority of violence and harassment that takes place in our society comes from men. For example, in the year ending March 2022, approximately 548,000 males were arrested in comparison to 96,000 females for offences in England and Wales. Society also favors men, giving men more opportunities in life and holding women back from potentially achieving the same things. This can be seen when we look at how many women are in high level posts such a CEOs and Senior Management and in politics. So, to remove the negative images of men and be better role models, we must work together to be men that are fighting for a fairer future for all. Keeping in line with the theme of “Helping Men and Boys”, what can men do to help one another in being the role models and positive members of society that we ought to be?

The Damage of Toxic Masculinity and Patriarchy

As men, it’s important to understand that there are many things within our immediate control that we can do to help make the world a fairer and safer place. We can truly live up to the expectations and the goal of being a good man but to do this we need to remove all things toxic about masculinity from the equation. Certain traits that we now see as toxic, were once considered the guidelines on how to be manly. This includes risk-taking behaviours such as gambling and driving dangerously, being violent towards others and being self-reliant without showing emotions and sensitivity. These expectations have been placed on men due to the patriarchy (a system of society in which men largely hold the power) and it is only in recent years are we starting to recognise that the system in place by men harms not only women, but many men too.

What Can Men Do

  1. Be an ally and a voice of good.
    When you see behaviours, attitudes and other practices that belittle and humiliate others or reinforce toxic views, then you should call out this behaviour if it is safe to do so. Being quiet will allow this behaviour to continue, ultimately damaging not only women but men too.
  2. Listen to women and those who are marginalised.
    It is crucial that you take the time to hear women’s and marginalised people’s experiences. Make sure that you actively listen and are non-judgemental, and that you do not allow your emotion or opinion override the conversation being had. Acknowledge and validate the emotion and impact they may express about the experience, and ensure you let them know that what they experienced was not their fault or their doing.
  3. Talk to the other males in your life.
    This may be difficult to begin with, but as the campaign is focused on “Helping Men and Boys”. It is important that we engage with other males in our lives. Talk about the changes you are hoping to make, discuss what you have learnt and sharing resources and literature. Remember to be patient, respectful and be prepared with the knowledge you wish to tell others. Always remember that you are not an expert but talking to the men in your life can have an incredibly positive impact on how men are viewed in society.

Moving forwards

Have a think about how you can do your part in the campaign and help men and boys in your life. You may go on to read some feminist literature, have a conversation with other men in your life or become aware of your own privilege. Working on ourselves and advocating for a fairer and more just society will benefit all, men and boys included.

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