I am a late and hesitant convert to the idea of International Men’s Day – mostly because, like White History Month, it’s arguably celebrated all the time.
Here’s why I think it’s important:
1. Uncontrollably angry or severely depressed boys and men need help and NEVER to be told to ‘man up’ or ‘grow a pair’, or they may harm themselves and others.
2. Men need to feel able, as well as obliged, to play an equal part in relationships, especially where children are involved.
3. Men shouldn’t feel it is in any way demeaning to stand shoulder to shoulder with women in the workplace or, heaven forbid, slightly behind or beside them.
4. Each of us is made up of genetic material from a man and a woman – in fact, countless men and women. We should examine and celebrate the characteristics of individual men in our make-up. Perhaps especially where they don’t fit with the crushing conformity of ‘maleness’.
5. Boys – and men – should be reminded that they can be, become and behave as they wish (with an obvious emphasis on the positive) without fearing that it isn’t ‘manly’.
For me, International Men’s Day is a matter of remembering power, responsibility, potential – and vulnerability. We’re all human, after all.