By Sami Dugdale
Blog Content Contributor
Just last month, we celebrated International Day of the Girl, a day dedicated to promoting human rights and highlighting gender inequality. Now this month,we celebrate November 19th as International Men’s Day. The objective for this day includes a “focus on men’s and boy’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.”
I have already heard and read a lot of backlash against this event from a large number of women who claim to be “feminists”. They argue that International Day of the Girl and International Women’s Day are important because of gender inequality and discrimination against women and say that because men are the “dominant sex”, they shouldn’t have a day dedicated to them because the discrimination that they face is insignificant compared to what women face on a day-to-day basis. When I hear and read things like this, it really makes me understand why there is a negative connotation to the word feminist. Because at this point you aren’t promoting feminist ideologies, you are what is known as a misandrist.
According to dictionary.com, the definition of a misandrist is “a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against men.” And while you may say, “But Sami, I don’t despise or hate men, I’m just saying that they don’t face the same discrimination that we do”, I would have to tell you that you are still denouncing the issues and struggles that men are facing all over the world just because you believe that they are “not as important” as your issues as a woman. Telling a man that his struggles are insignificant to yours is a prime reason why many men feel like they cannot share what they are feeling.
Some statistics: more than 95% of the 200 people killed in the workplace every year are men. More than 10 men a day kill themselves with men being three times more likely to commit suicide. Boys are 25% less likely to be adopted. The lack of a father (and lack of male role models more generally) impacts boys in different ways to girls who have a number of female role models including the 85% of primary school teachers who are female. Boys from fatherless families are nine times more likely to commit a crime. Men are four times more likely to become an alcoholic.
While men and boys may not face the same kind of discrimination that women and girls face, that does not mean that their problems and struggles are any less significant. I believe that International Men’s Day is just as important as International Women’s Day and as a society we should constantly strive to diminish gender inequality. I am a feminist, not a misandrist, and I believe that promoting gender equality also means recognizing the struggles of all sexes and seeking to end them as quickly as possible.
Featured image via International Men’s Day.