EYEignore the haters and find plenty of things to celebrate in this years coverage of International Men’s Day.
Friday November 19th 2015 felt like a small but significant moment in the history of gender equality in the United Kingdom.
Some people may always rally against the concept of an International Men’s Day but last year’s extremely positive media coverage showed that most people, especially young people, are entirely comfortable with the concept of championing equality for everyone and addressing disadvantage or difficulty wherever it is found, regardless of the creed, colour, sex or sexual orientation of the person experiencing adversity.
This year’s campaign managed to maintain the momentum and EYEis delighted to report that the cynics and media misandrists were largely absent from the party.
As the saying goes, haters gonna hate but fortunately most of them got it out of their system a day early with some largely negative coverage of the Commons debate which EYEconsider elsewhere.
So in the all inclusive spirit of the day, EYEis going to ignore the small number of haters that did make a show of themselves and accentuate the positive, not to mention support the important message most media carried.
Starting with The Daily Telegraph, who have done much in recent years to decriminalize the radical notion that men are people too by giving voice to issues such as male victims of domestic violence.
This year they turned the spotlight on some small charities that have made a big difference to a lot of men and boys, including The Mankind Initiative; Survivors West Yorkshire; CoolTan Arts; Rocking Ur Teens and last but not least All Boys Rock which offered a free family event to inspire young men, including an impressive line-up of motivational speakers, comedians, spoken word artists, musical entertainment and a ‘no frills’ inspirational live panel debate.
Elsewhere UK Mens Day co-ordinator Glen Poole pointed to 10 reasons we should be celebrating international mens day, including the fact that that IMD is an inclusive day which has something to offer everyone and increasingly everywhere with events being held across the British Isles.
You’ll find conversations taking place all over the country in places like Belfast , Manchester, Abergavenny and Northampton. There are lots of universities showing their peers in York how to celebrate IMD, in places like Glasgow, Aberystwyth and UCL. And if you tune into your local radio station, you may well hear people talking about men’s stuff, particularly if you live in Cambridge where presenter Matt Webb has dedicated his show to IMD every year for as long as we can remember. Glen Poole
Speaking of York University, kudos to Business Management student Ben Froughi, who side stepped York University Student Union’s lack of respect for diversity policy by holding an IMD event across the road in Derwent College.
Meanwhile Phillip Davies MP talked about why he put his head above the Parliamentary PC parapet and called for a debate on issues affecting men and boys. Issues like education, unemployment, domestic violence, father’s rights, homelessness, suicide and sometimes being an afterthought, or worse still turned down for services or funding simply because of an accident of birth.
Ally Fogg wrote an extremely insightful piece introducing the Men and Boys Coalition: and reflecting on how the British men’s sector has come of age. Amoungst other things he skillfully deconstructed the argument that ‘issues affecting men’ need to be addressed but that we don’t need ‘men’s rights advocacy’ or ‘International Day’ to do it.
Once you start joining the dots, you quickly find you are not looking at a long list of separate problems but an interlinked join-the-dots picture. Moreover, we quickly find out that the guys at the shitty end of the stick of many of these ‘separate’ issues are often, in practice, the same individuals who are dealing with the fallout of multiple hardships.We do not (yet) have financial resources or a team of professional lobbyists stalking the corridors of power. But we do have rock solid arguments, hard evidence and, I believe, the tide of history on our side. Will that be enough? No, probably not. But it is a very good place to begin. Ally Fogg
Inevitably someone still had to ask the perennial question do we really need international mens day? This year it was the Metro but refreshingly their conclusion was a resounding YES, reinforced by Yvette Castor’s assertion that feminists should stop bitching and get behind the annual celebration. (Miranda Larbi’s counter argument simply didn’t make any sense so can be duly ignored.)
For the mentor who believed in me more than I did in myself, who gave me my first management role. For the ex who always made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the room, and made my dreams his own. For the grown nephew who sticks two fingers up to homophobic abuse on a daily basis, and wears whatever he damn well pleases, and looks fierce as hell. And, of course, for my four-year-old Batman, my nephew, who is joy in a cape incarnate.
These are just a few of the reasons I’d celebrate International Men’s Day. Wouldn’t you? Yvette Castor – Metro
The Huffington Post took a day off from patronizingly presuming to Build
Better Modern Men and let James Scroggs from the
CALM continues to wrestle alongside the men it supports with the unflinching expectations on young men – that they prove themselves infallible, stoic and strong. What kind of real man shows weakness? Most alarmingly, to men in crisis choosing to take one’s life is for them perhaps the greatest act of masculinity. James Scroggs
Another welcome addition to the love parade was the Independent who, after being one of last year’s biggest haters, pointed out the obvious truth that if you’re against International Men’s Day then you’re not a true feminist.
This time every year, people ask if we really need International Men’s Day. The answer is always yes, but this year in particular, it’s a categorical, resounding, definite, resolute yes. Jessica Brown
The Guardian couldn’t quite push through their conscious bias barrier but nonetheless were noticeably sheepish in this years put down (ironically hidden away in the men’s health section).
Predictably they pushed forward yet another lone male voice to (sort of) acknowledge that International Men’s Day is (kind’ve) a thing but ultimately undermine it’s merit by proposing that (at the end of the day) every other day is also International Men’s Day.
Then again, considering that it was a male voice mockingly masquerading as the the epitome of angry social justice warrior PC control freakery, perhaps we should add their contribution to the positive list.
Martin Daubney’s insightful piece for Heat Street took aim at those highly-unoriginal “wits” – including some of our elected MPs – who predictably tweet, scoff and sneer: “every day International Men’s Day?!!!”
I usually reply with something like: “Not every day is International Men’s Day. But today – and every other day of the year – 12 British men will commit suicide, 31 men will die of prostate cancer and 3,000 men will sleep rough. Hilarious, isn’t it?” Martin Daubney
And once again EYEdid my bit to hold a mirror up to such nonsense, whilst doing my level best to improve upon a certain comedian’s annual act of self promoting social justice pedantry.
Speaking of which, even last year’s pantomime villain manged to show a little love to his brothers and generally retreat behind the ‘only joking’ defence employed by various non professional comedians in workplaces up and down the country as soon as their joke with a jag falls out of fashion.
Which surprisingly left the ‘unconscious bias’ experts at Pearn Kandola and their ‘Diversity Guru’ Binna Kandola to most spectacularly miss the point.
And finally, if the hardworking boys at the men and boys coalition haven’t seen enough signs of encouragement that they’re moving things in the right direction then they should be heartened to hear the hilarious news that Mike Buchanan (him off the toxic nonsense awards) is hoping to find some ‘real men’ to start up a rival ‘International Real Men’s Day‘ next year.
Good luck with that Mike and on behalf of the men and boys and women and girls who won’t be getting an invite, may EYEextend a resounding…