Diversity Feminism

The Issues That Really Matter On #InternationalMensDay

(Heyo! Click-baity blog post title)

It feels disingenuous to be writing about men’s rights after my last post about the US Election. I don’t often talk about men on the blog or on social media (mainly because every time I do I get shouted at and called an idiot), but I do think it’s so important, now more than ever to engage men in discussions around gender equality.

My main issue with days like #InternationalMensDay is that more often than not the only thing I see online is men stating that they’re oppressed. When in reality, they’re a) not telling me what they’re doing to actually help other men, b) seem to be spending the entire day venting all their anger at feminists, and c) focusing all their efforts on the rights of cis-white men.

Just like feminism, men’s rights need to be considered intersectionally and there should be conversations around what is it like navigating the world if you’re male but not straight, cis, white, or living in the Western World.

So, hey guys! You wanted an International Men’s Day? Well here it is. Instead of turning today into a gender war, here are just some of the issues that really matter and deserve some press:

  • The systematic mass incarceration of men of colour as highlighted in Ava Duverney’s 13th on Netflix.
  • The rights of transgender men, which still largely ignored even in the LGBTQ community – not gender specific but the Gender Trust have some amazing resources on this.
  • Toxic masculinity and its damaging effects on young boys growing up – take a gander at The Mask You Live In documentary for this one.
  • The unlawful killing and attacks on African American men by police forces in the US and around the World.
  • Male suicide rates, the lack of emphasis on male mental health and even the idea that it’s taboo for men to cry (check out the amazing work being done by CALM for this.
  • Male rape cases and the fact that physical and emotional domestic violence by women and men towards men is still seen as a punchline.
  • The fact that Asian men are still stereotyped, emasculated and are never seen as the heroes (*cough* #StarringJohnCho *cough*)
  • The lack of non-binary, gender non-conforming and femme-male in mainstream media.
  • Despite the great work being carried out by cancer charities such as Prostate Cancer UK, there’s still a lack of education and funding around male cancer research.
  • Neo-facism and the online recruitment of white me into alt-right groups, especially in the current political climate.
  • The ever present problem of racial profiling of Muslim men.
  • The ongoing stigma towards men in traditionally ‘feminine’ job roles i.e. nurses, primary school teachers, nannies etc., which is linked with ideas around toxic masculinity.
  • The women who will cut men down in the name of ‘feminism’, I hate misandry just as much as you guys do and for the most part these people don’t understand the fundamental idea behind feminism is raising women to the same level that men are at, no lowering the bar for men.

And a final point, there’s a reason why feminist issues are consistently making the headlines nowadays. We’re even more determined than ever not to let these issues fall through the gaps. It’s a mindset that we, as women are used to as a largely oppressed group. We have always had to shout to be heard, so we shout consistently to be heard.

Men already have a leg up. You are a largely privileged group (especially if you’re white/cis/het), so use that to your advantage. Be the advocate for the marginalised within your gender and really talk and support them. Don’t just sit on the Internet and troll feminists.