Tomorrow. You know, Thursday 19th November. That’s right! It’s International Men’s Day! We are overwhelmingly men on here so I’m sure the date has been flagged in our calendars for months.
I admit I have really known what this day is for, other than a quick rejoinder to those whose response to International Women’s Day is to ask, ‘When is International Men’s Day then, tell me that, eh?’ ‘It’s on Thursday mate.’ ‘Oh.’
According to the website of the UK organisation the three core themes for International Men’s Day in the UK are:
• Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys
• Raising awareness and/or funds for charities supporting men and boys’ wellbeing
• Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity
The website goes on to list areas of concern around male wellbeing, both tangible such as health and suicide, and more nebulous, such as expectations of men as fathers.
So what do we think here? Does the modern world place strains on the twenty first century man which need to be discussed and addressed? How about assumption of the place of men in families? I don’t have any kids (though my other half has an adult daughter, sadly at the other end of England since the middle of last year due to Covid) so I don’t know how other people react to men with young children, or how men are expected to negotiate their way through the new shape of a family which has fallen apart. I have never been close to my own father, though know from multiple posts here that many Afterworders are/were, so how has that relationship shaped who you view your position as a man and a father?
I have never felt overburdened by any demands from others or myself imposed by my masculinity, nor have I ever consciously thought about ‘being a man’ when making decisions or analysing problems. I recognise some negative male tropes in myself, such as a tendency to neglect my wellbeing and particularly mental wellbeing in the expectation that it will sort itself out without help. On the other hand, I’ve never had much time for traditionally male pursuits such as cars and sports, and have always disliked all-male gatherings.
As I say, it’s not something I have ever analysed in myself. And who knows if it might have been better for me and those around me if I had?