It is that time of year again and we are getting emails from all over the world. Yes, it’s International Men’s Day on 19 November 2014.
Why should we be getting emails? Well, Dads4Kids has been and still is the digital driving force behind International Men’s Day. The team behind Dads4Kids registered www.internationalmensday.com on 13 June 2008 with the purpose of building a website and producing videos to help promote and resource the celebration of International Men’s Day around the globe. Although Dads4Kids was the first in the digital domain to send a clarion call for the celebration of International Men’s Day it was not the first in the broader sense. Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, from Trinidad, was the first to call for the celebration of International Men’s Day on 19 November 1999.
At that time, the celebration of International Men’s Day occurred on several different days and the team at Dads4Kids played a strategic role, along with others, in bringing all those divergent manhood celebrations on to the 19 November. This brought global unity when it came to men’s issues.
There are six pillars behind International Men’s Day:
• To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sportsmen but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.
• To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
• To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
• To highlight discrimination against men; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
• To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.
• To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential
Here is an example of one of the many letters received. This enquiry is very thoughtful and highlights some of the challenges faced. Perhaps my reply will help those who intend to celebrate International Men’s Day on Wednesday 19 November 2014.
Dear International Men’s Day
IMD was mentioned in passing on the radio today, on WBUR Boston, Massachusetts, where I live. It was the first I’d heard of the holiday.
This site came up first on my Google search, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Often, when I have previously encountered pro-men movements in my country, there has been an anti-women tone, or a “each gender in their place” kind of idea. In contrast, I very much appreciate the six objectives as featured on your website.
I’m a man who wanted to share the fact that the holiday exists with my friends on Facebook; that’s my agenda. And, I wanted to learn more, as I’m interested in well-developed and positive models of masculinity that are less limiting than those that are widespread in culture. I’m also raising a son, and I’d like to support his masculine identity as he grows.
I’m confused, though, about what overall philosophy of IMD, or the limits on the philosophies that are considered in keeping with the holiday and the movement.
For example, on your UK page, you include without comment an article that includes phrases like:
“I’m all for helping women overcome physical abuse, but…” It seems to me that no sentence that begins that way is likely to do well.
It continues (emphasis mine): “EVERY time such a topic is brought up, it becomes a direct attack against ALL men.” That’s quite polemical, and seems false to me.
Later in that same featured article: “I’m not at all excusing men for abusing women, but…” Again, an amazing turn of phrase that makes me less interested in this movement.
Finally, we have this sweeping globalization and generalization: “Modern feminists and women are really being overly spiteful toward mankind.”
“feminists want to glorify themselves and paint the picture than men are brainless savages.”
That’s phrased as a universal truth, but is not true of any feminist I know. In fact, all the feminists I know would support with most or all of the objectives that are lifted up on your web page.
It concludes: “Feminism is getting out of hand. That’s the main summary of my comment.”
Does this perspective fairly falls into the range of viewpoints that IMD celebrates?
Thanks for helping me understand, for the sake of myself and my son.
With all good wishes,
Appreciate your inquiry. It’s a long story to fully explain International Men’s Day but suffice to say that who we are is who we are and that is well delineated on www.internationalmensday.com
It is my belief that the www.internationalmensday.comwebsite carries the founder, Dr Jerome Teelucksingh’s, heart. He has become a good friend over the years.
www.internationalmensday.com does not have an official Facebook page as such. (Good news – this is about to change!) It would be better to see the UK as an affiliate as opposed to someone who speaks on our behalf. Both Dr Jerome Teelucksingh and I would agree that we men have to avoid blaming others and step up to the plate and bring positive change.
In 2007-2008 www.dads4kids.org.au rescued and then promoted International Men’s Day (the rescued version) to the world. It had no coherent digital promotion before we started. Jerome is a very good hearted man but will readily admit that there was a promotional deficit before the “Australians” started to help out. International Men’s Day probably has suffered somewhat over the last few years as things are wont to do but it never was ‘our day’. It has always been a day for everyone.
I might point out that Dads4Kids is a very small and under resourced charity as is common in the men’s movement. I am not getting paid to type this email. You will find much the same phenomena all over the world as Dr Jerome Teelucksingh points out in the video. Most of the guys that I know in the men and father’s movement do not get a wage but do the work out of a passionate belief for a better future for mankind and for their children.
More to the point. International Men’s Day is your day and you must do with it what you will. Please celebrate International Men’s Day if not for yourself, for your son. Your son needs to know what a man really is. If you don’t model manhood how will he know? If we do not model it how will they know?
PS: I have never been a big fan of the current wave of feminism, nor for that matter masculinism. It is my belief we need a new way to be human that values the masculine and the feminine, but values even more the fact that we are all humans. We must all come to appreciate that we are made in the image of someone far greater than ourselves. From a practical point of view Rudyard Kipling’s poem tells the story well. As well as being your story and mine, it is also the story of International Men’s Day.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son
Firstly, make sure you celebrate International Men’s Day in some way on Wednesday 19 November. Your children will need to know what a man is one day, if not now. You could even celebrate the day with them.
Secondly, help us rectify the problem of not having a positive Facebook site for International Men’s Day and help get the message out about the www.internationalmensday.com Facebook site by ‘liking’ us on Facebook and commenting. Tell your friends to do the same.
Working together for men and boys
PS: The team at Dads4Kids is looking for assistance with the International Men’s Day Facebook site. If you can help out? Please let me know. info@dads4Kids.org.au