The 19th of November was International Men’s day, and The Feminist Shop didn’t want to let the opportunity go without celebrating men.
Ok, a there is a little bit of us thinking ahead to the 8th of March when we get the classic “why don’t we have a men’s day” comment on Social Media, but mostly we want to write about this because as feminists we want to free men from patriarchy as well and we want to applaud the ones that are fighting hard to dismantle the system, even if they are the ones most privileged by it.
Congratulations on your day men, but mostly disabled men, queer men, trans men, gay men, stay at home dads, men of ethnic minorities and unapologetic feminist men!
International men’s day should be the opportunity to speak about the problems men have, and it should particularly raise awareness about mental health because suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK, yet we still keep asking boys to 'man up' and bottle up their feelings.
Men deserve to have (and should aim to be) better role models to help get rid of the baggage that they are carrying about. They need to embrace their vulnerability and feel comfortable asking for help when needed. By always portraying one kind of celebrated man (the superhero, strong, relentless, practical, successful…) we are limiting the other aspects of life and we are causing harm to the majority of men that live in a more complex reality.
No, men are not simple, or predators, or more practical. They are just taught to be, excuse when being. They are often only allowed to express and act in a way that aligns with that idea and they are punished and mocked when they diverge from that narrative. We need to see fathers shown as main carers in tv shows, men talking about mental health in films, men at the top of businesses speaking up for their female colleagues, cool guys stopping the sexist comment.
Congratulations on your day men! Let's use it to fight for a society that expands on the current meaning of manhood. Let's reject toxic masculinity and embrace a new masculinity, with less ego and more self-esteem. Choose to be yourself and celebrate it.