The Global Campaign for Men and Boys
Reason Four: We don’t need an International Men’s Day because there’s already an International Women’s Day
What the column in the Mirror (see reason #3) reveals is that there is a dominant gender narrative that is being fiercely policed and protected by those it serves (ie those who have a binary “men are the problem” view of gender).
International Men’s Day challenges this narrative because the men and women who mark it don’t necessarily buy into the idea than the only gender problems in the world are those experienced by women and caused by men.
Here’s Kaufman and Barker again in the Huffington Post:
“We’re concerned about the implicit symmetry of this day with International Women’s Day on March 8th which evolved as a way for a disempowered group to express its own power, potential and solidarity. It was a festival of the dispossessed, and a way to focus attention on discriminatory laws and social structures.”
To Kaufman and Barker, all men as a group have power and all women as a group are oppressed and disempowered. Ava Vidal in the Daily Telegraph made a similar point suggesting that only people who have been categorized by a certain political viewpoint as being “oppressed” as a group should have international days. She wrote:
“My first thought when I heard that there was an International Men’s Day was to sigh and roll my eyes. It was only a matter of time. The reaction when people from an oppressed group set up an event or day to celebrate the achievements that have been made despite this, and to inspire people to continue to tackle inequality then this is the result. Every year during Black History Month you will hear cries of “Why isn’t there a White History Month?” And there is ‘Gay Pride’ so now a group of disgruntled people have set up ‘Straight Pride’ to redress the balance.”
This position was echoed by Deborah Coughlin, Deputy Editor of the UK’s Feminist Times:
“It’s galling that the one day that women have to address a historical global imbalance is mimicked by those many consider to be the perpetrators. Like white supremisists (sic) who claim to be victims of racism, or a straight pride.”
There is a sinister comparison in these comments, that somehow celebrating International Men’s Day is on a par with being a member of the Ku Klux Klan, which is a simple and powerful way of invalidating men’s issues and seeking to oppress any attempts to engage in conversations about gender that take men out of the “perpetrator” box.
The Beyond Male Role Models project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and led Dr Martin Robb an a team from The Open University in partnership with the national charity Action for Children providing a good example of that subtle policing of the gender discourse by simply tweeting:
“Do we actually need one? An example of masculine ‘me-too-ism’?”
Despite what its critics say, International Men’s Day is not about defining men or women as an “oppressed” group—that is a narrow political view of gender—International Men’s Day is a platform for people of all political views (and none) to focus on men’s issues in any way they choose (including writing and tweeting negative comments about the day if that’s the best they can do!).
HAVE YOU READ ALL FIVE DUMB REASONS PEOPLE GIVE FOR OPPOSING INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY? SEE THESE LINKS FOR MORE….
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Photo Credit: Flickr/alextorrenegra