"Isn't every day International Men's day?"
"What are we doing to celebrate? Taking away women's access to basic health care? Or, are we bragging about sexual assault?"
These are two of the several arguments made against the observance of International Men's Day as an annual event. A day which calls for promoting the physical and mental well being of the men and boys of the world, and gender equality often ends up descending into the battle of the sexes. Is it because, perhaps the concept is fundamentally misguided to begin with, or maybe, it’s just a matter of how it is interpreted?
The theme of this year's International Men's Day is to raise awareness about the ever-growing rate of male suicides in the world, with the rate rising by 63.5% in India between the period of 1990 to 2013, according to Humanosphere.org.
We asked a few men what it meant for them to be a man in this day and age, and here's what they had to say:
"A man could be a soft and emotional person, but if he expresses these feelings, it is often considered as a sign of weakness. Statements like 'Man up' or 'Act like a man' play a pivotal role in building this mentality. Blue for boys, pink for girls. Emotions for women, strength for men. These are a few stereotypes that exist, but shouldn't."
"Thankfully, the mentality of being the 'man of the house' doesn't exist at my place. But of course, you have to be able to support yourself and possibly your family if it does come down to that. Putting less pressure on men to be the providers could help in curbing the suicide rates; letting them express their feelings and not forcing them to keep it inside; building a happy and trusting environment in the family and society where everyone is treated equally; not judging people through the same yardstick."
"The kind of conditioning where men aren't allowed to be emotional has negatively affected a lot of young kids, turning them into lost adults. I think for the first time in history, the role of a 'man' is changing, thanks to the evolving role of a woman. I think being a 'man' in today's times simply means being more accepting of things, letting go of male ego and being ready to let go of conventional gender roles."
"The whole 'be a man' culture and the stress of certain expectations than a 'man' is supposed to match up to can lead to an incredible amount of depression and stress. I think we need to understand that even a 'strong man' is allowed to be weak. Men shouldn't have to bottle up their feelings just because they're men. If we as men are accepting of other men going through emotional turmoil, we can ensure that they don't feel left-out."
"Typecasting men as people who need to man up and act like a man is something that needs to stop now. Life is tough as it is, and allowing men the freedom to behave and react to situations in the best way they feel comfortable is the most important step to help them feel empowered as it places importance on their judgement of different issues."
"I do feel that our society is still prejudiced heavily in favour of men and that there is a lot that we still need to do to help remove that feeling. What it needs is the current generation to take a stand and provide the necessary support for women to know that they have an equal right to everything."
"Society has developed itself where it has created an aversion towards men. Sure, for generations along, men were considered to be a fairer sex, but society needs to move forward from that thought. The thought of being equal needs to come in."
"Every person, irrespective of their gender, have their own fears and advantages. You can't just generalise by saying, "Man up!" We shouldn't condition or paint an image of how men should act. If a man is living in denial to just fit into society, he will spend his whole life trying to prove a point. We are on the verge of being a society where every opinion matters."
International Men's Day is a day when we should be talking about taking actions that improve the lives of a man, their families and society as a whole, instead of brushing off the idea as a ‘stunt’. Men's rights are human rights, and it's time we reach out to one another, our friends and loved ones who are at their most vulnerable.
Share this story on
Empowering themselves in a biased world: A glimpse of transgenders in India
Transgenders have been a part of our society, our folklores, and our religious beliefs for a long time, but our perceptions of them have always been veiled behind one aspect - Gender. We have limited them in our imaginations and in popular culture as people who demand money on streets or in
HOW CAN WE RECOGNIZE AND PREVENT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE?
Child sexual abuse is any act that involves using a child for the sexual gratification of a more powerful person. Some forms of child sexual abuse consist of engaging with a child in sexual activities, exposure of body parts to a child or using a child to produce pornography. Abuse can occu
What is being done to protect India’s domestic workers?
The Rajasthan government has implemented minimum wages and standard working hours for domestic help, starting 1st January 2016. This is a major step in fighting the widespread exploitation of...
24 February, 2016
The story behind traffic issues in India
Is traffic a big issue in our cities? Most of us think it is, but we tend to forget that we are the traffic; that we are the problem, and the solution. We find it easier to blame the traf...
17 February, 2016
5 Steps to make workplaces accessible for persons with disabilities
Around 4 - 8 percent* of people in India are persons with disabilities, but India is still quite behind in terms of acknowledging and assimilating them in the workforce. A major reason behind...
18 January, 2016
5 Simple Ways to Practise Waste Segregation
What is waste segregation? Waste segregation refers to the separation of wet waste and dry waste, the purpose is to recycle dry waste easily and to use wet waste as compost. Why shoul...
13 January, 2016
“You Are A Sex Worker, How Can You Be Raped?”
December 17th marks the renewment of support to end violence against sex workers worldwide. It is a global movement that brings together allies and advocates from around the world in recogniz...
17 December, 2015