International Men’s Day, aka IMD, aka today, 19th of November.
I’ve known a lot of people to scoff at this day. Only this morning Dan laughed and asked, Is it really necessary? Isn’t every day IMD? I’ve asked these questions myself before. I used to think the concept was a case of fussy “if you’re having one, we’re having one” type of faux equality. I have, however, changed my mind. As a feminist, I tend to focus on women. But recently I’ve had my focus widened, in a way that actually resembles my attitude from when I was a teenager.
The world of feminism can be quite harsh (sometimes with good reason, but still), and the problems of men are sometimes belittled. Now, I’m not saying it’s the responsibility of any single feminist to focus on all issues, or that it’s wrong to call men out on their potential bullshit. But I think it’s important to not write off male matters simply because they are predominately male, and a day like today is an excellent opportunity to point them out and discuss them.
This year’s theme is Keeping Men and Boys Safe. In Sweden, approx 9 out of 10 of all work related deaths happen to men. 70% of all suicides are committed by men. As a man you’re much more likely to be the victim of a violent crime. (Thanks to One-way Communication Hannah for the numbers (attn. blog is in Swedish)). The reasons behind these numbers, and possibly solutions, are most definitely important to discuss.
Another major discussion, from a Swedish perspective, is the addition to the Daddy Months, parts of the parental leave especially dedicated to the father. The possible extension of these months would be key to many concerns of equality (i.e., fathers being seen as proper parents and not just helpers/babysitters to their own children; children growing up with a closer emotional connection to both/all of their parents; a stronger position for women in the world of work). From an international perspective it might be more productive to discuss the introduction of these months in the first place (or indeed proper parental leave at all, sadface).
Although I may be guilty of the occasional snarky comment on the 8th of March, as the cries of “But what about the menz?? Why is there no International Men’s Day??” echo around he internet (if they really cared, surely they’d already know that there is one? It’s only a Goole search away), there are many equality issues worth paying attention to on the International Men’s Day. I do believe that, if treated right, it might be a day of real significance, and of salient work and discussion.