NaBloPoMo 2020 – Today’s Lesson
“Today is International Men’s Day! How should we celebrate?”
I saw this posted on a progressive women’s Facebook group today. In that context, I inferred the question to be sarcastic. Most comments responded in kind. My knee jerk reaction aligned—why celebrate the patriarchy? Burn it down, women say.
Why do some of us feel such instant, visceral disdain at the idea of celebrating men for a day? Could it be centuries of oppression and institutional misogyny, physically, politically, and otherwise? Though we may know individual men who are kind, generous, and non-abusive, maybe we still feel the stifling weight of cultural male dominance on our consciousness every. damn. day.
I explored the International Men’s Day (IMD) website. The group aims to promote men’s health, listing five statistical health challenges for men, including shorter life expectancy and higher suicide rate. Their objectives include highlighting discrimination against men and improving gender relations/promoting gender equality. I find multiple articles supporting the former, and none for the latter. But maybe it doesn’t matter. I can wholeheartedly endorse evidence-based initiatives that promote cancer screening and mental health support for men. I also uphold and justify my right to guard against insidious misogyny that promotes men’s health and advancement at the expense of the same for women.
Men feel discriminated against. Huh. Is the argument that women suffer discrimination through financial and status deficit, while men pay with their very lives? If that’s the premise I’m not sure I buy it, but it’s worth exploring.
So, I have work to do. What a fantastic opportunity to confront my own assumptions, biases, and narratives. I can celebrate men and advocate for their equality… As long as they celebrate women and advocate for ours.