Why we don’t need International Men’s Day
There have been a few comments on social media suggesting we need a day to celebrate men, amid all the IWD posts.
I have absolutely nothing against men.
In fact, I have a 21 year-old one who lives in my house, eats my food, spends my money and whose wellbeing, happiness and future are more important to me than my own.
But we still need feminism and we need every opportunity, such as IWD, to talk and educate about women’s rights.
Feminism is not about blaming or hating men. Both women and men are responsible for maintaining inequality through unconscious bias, unquestioning acceptance of patriarchal assumptions and failing to speak out when we do notice unfairness. I hold my hands up; I live in this society and although I try to be aware, and I care passionately about supporting change, I am sure that every day I say and do (or fail to say and do) things that maintain the status quo.
So just to make it clear, I have nothing against men. Their rights as human beings are important and in fact I spend a lot of my working life defending them.
Also there are some issues (not going into them today but I promise I will address them in a future post) that apply specially to men and ought to be given much more attention.
But, International Men’s Day?
Hmmm, Let’s see. Perhaps it would be a good idea if:
* Men felt guilty for going to work.
* Men didn’t like to speak up just because they were men.
* Men were afraid of being attacked at night because they were men.
* Parliament had to consider the problem of men being forced to wear shoes that made their feet hurt and even bleed at work.
* There was a gender pay gap and men were the losers.
* Men in positions of influence were routinely criticised for their appearance.
The list could be a lot longer. Feel free to add to it in the comments.
Male privilege, like other forms of privilege, is invisible, Until we look at society really hard, ask ourselves challenging questions and turn things on their heads to get a fresh perspective (ever looked at your room in the mirror and seen it quite differently?) we are not aware that it exists.
Similarly, discrimination against women is easy to miss. After all, it’s built into the fabric of our society and we have never known anything different, In fact, things have got better in our lifetimes. But there is still a long, long way to go.
So, yes we still need IWD and sorry, but the guys don’t need their own day. They already have 364 and 365 on leap years.