Dear Richard Herring,
Congratulations on your recent retrospective run of shows and, more generally, for being the hardest working man in comedy.
As one of it’s more unlikely ambassadors, you’ll know that today is International Mens Day. An annual opportunity to dedicate an entire 24 hours (of the 8,760 available) to discussion and reflection on some of the difficult challenges that men and boys face in their lifetime.
Challenges like testicular cancer; prostate cancer; heart disease; suicide; mental illness; homelessness; unemployment; workplace fatalities; barriers in education; family court outcomes; society’s collective tolerance of violence against men and boys (including sexual violence and domestic abuse) and the stereotypical or negative portrayal of fathers, men and boys generally.
Not everyone agrees that it’s really necessary to dedicate an entire 24 hours (of the 8,760 annually available) to such a venture, which is why the 19th of November also marks the annual observance of ‘International do we really need an International Men’s Day? Day’ and, the more definitive, ‘International we don’t need International Men’s Day because Every Day is International Men’s Day? Day’.
Thanks to your annual efforts on International Womens Day (8th March), lots of people who had been labouring under the false impression that no actual day is International Men’s Day now know that there is one and it’s today!
Inspired by such an ‘heroic act of twitter pedantry‘, I’ve decided to dedicate today (International Men’s Day) to a similar (but better) venture by helping out any tweeters who mistakingly believe that every day is International Men’s Day by pointing out that it’s only actually today.
You may decide that EYEis a wazzock for doing so, but some brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, are getting increasingly disgusted with the fact that some people are so threatened by the notion of dedicating an entire 24 hours (of the 8,760 annually available) to the positive ponderance on the possibilities and problems faced by half this countries population that they have to mockingly dismiss the very notion with the aforementioned ‘hilarious’ catchphrase.
In all fairness, the 6th of February isn’t International Men’s Day (it’s the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation) and neither is the 23rd of June (International Widows’ Day). The 11th of October isn’t International Men’s Day (it’s International Day of the Girl) or the October 15th (International Day of Rural Women) or October 19th (Menstrual Hygiene Day), or the entire first week in August (World Breastfeeding Week) or even next Wednesday (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women).
In fact, if you stick to the United Nation’s officially sanctioned list of commemorative days then it’s impossible to argue that every day is International Men’s Day when, as far as they’re concerned, not even today is International Men’s Day.
The HeforShe campaign may be relatively new but the UN have sponsored International Woman’s Day since the 70’s and yet have such little interest in issues unique to men and boys that two years ago they officially designated the 19th of November as World Toilet Day (make of that what you will).
Leaving to one side any banter about toilet seats, the disgraceful fact that 2.5 billion people around the world don’t have access to proper sanitation certainly puts some of our own first world problems into context. Let’s face it, if you have to do your shits in the streets you’re probably not worrying about how many ferrero rocher you have to buy next Valentine Days (February 14th).
But when the United Nations even dedicate an entire 24 hours (of the 8,760 annually available) to jazz, yoga and migrating birds respectively, does it really make you a wazzock simply because you ask the question what about teh menz?
Every dog should have it’s day. In the case of actual dogs, their actual day is the 31st of August. Actually, it used to be August 26th but that clashed with Women’s Equality Day in America so to avoid offence the nice dog lovers kindly switched.
Let’s face it, the annual calendar of commemorative days is so busy that your very own International Wazzock Day (which is dedicated to all the wazzocks who ask ‘When is International Men’s Day?’ when it’s International Women’s Day) is also World Consumer Rights Day
As anyone working in Westfields will tell you, women are the biggest consumer demographic by a very long country mile. Which is just one reason why many economists believe that the gender pay gap is largely based on false equivalencies and that the approximation of any difference between the median earnings of all men and the median earnings of all women (classified as full-time workers) has more to do with the number of hours worked, personal career / life & family choices, experience, work life balance and statistical cherry picking as it has to do with blatant mean minded sex discrimination by mean minded men.
Even if woman in this country don’t literally work for free for the next 8 weeks, Equal Pay Day does definitely exist and this year it was on November 9th, or April 15th if you live in America (or twitter), or 2nd November if you prefer European Equal Pay Day. Further evidence if it is really needed to debunk the notion that every day is International Men’s Day (when it’s only really today).
Apparently the richest 1% now own more than half the worlds wealth. Given that this 1% is overwhelming comprised of white western men, I guess you could argue that every day is International Mens Day for some men but, necessarily for this to be the case, over 99% of men have never had it so good.
EYEhas been a champion of International Women’s Day for as long as I can remember. This should go without saying but I’ll say it anyway, I love the women in my life, I know that they face many unique challenges in their lifetime and I can even understand why someone, like yourself, who’s just recently had a baby girl might be especially frustrated by the existence of International When’s International Men’s Day?” Day” on International Women’s Day.
I just happen to believe that we need to look out for the boys as well and that it’s a shite state of affairs when one of their biggest champions is a Tory rebel MP who reckons that disabled people should work for less than minimum wage and that not everyone should enjoy the same right to marriage as him.
Which is why we need people like you to stand up for men and especially boys at least one day in the year. All I ask is that the next time someone suggests that every day is International Men’s Day you at least consider setting them straight.
I appreciate that there aren’t many votes in it, at least not while so many people in the media would have you believe that anyone who so much as whispers the words ‘men’s rights’ is either a misogynist, a wazzock or a potential rapist.
It seems like we spend so much of the rest of the year talking about what total wazzocks men can be. There is no denying that some men can be total wazzocks but what does it really say about society that a Member of Parliament is applauded by so many for claiming that every day is International Men’s Day?
Blokes like you and me may be the pantomime villains of identity politics but as one Guardian columnist once cheerfully put it, ‘young men have finally found something that they’re better at than girls‘.
If you still take the Guardian, you may have missed this but a coalition of charity chiefs and experts recently warned MPs that rising suicide rates among men should be treated as a national emergency.
Remarkably it is now the most common cause of death of British men under the age of 50 with approximately 13 men and boys reaching the end of the road every day in the UK.
Let me put that another way. Every day is the last ever day for 13 desperate men and distressed boys in one of the most supposedly developed nations on the planet.
Men your age are at greater risk than any other section of the population. A popular feminist perspective on this is that men are the victims of something called toxic masculinity but frankly that just sounds like victim blaming to me.
It may not be everyone’s experience but the very vast majority of blokes I know are decent, hardworking and, in their own way, extremely loving human beings.
Surely that’s worth celebrating at least once a year?