Friday, 19 November 2010

STOP: Man time.

You guys: happy International Men's Day! Oh, the things that pop up on my Google news alerts.

See, I was all set to go for the traditional "oh it must be so hard to be you, EVERY DAY IS INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY, fuckoffandgetoverit" smackdown, which to be honest would have been the logical reaction to the first article I read about it:
At a time when evolution of women is taking place, position of men in the society cannot be ignored. A man is the head of the family and on his shoulders depends the security and success of a family.
 My heart bleeds for you.
Men work in much more pressure than women and are also subject to much more long and difficult working hours.
Uh huh. There is this wacky new concept called the "Second Shift". Just throwing that out there.
With growing awareness of women issues, we also have to remember that not every man is bad and dangerous.
Goddamnit, I knew I'd forgotten something! Maybe I could tie a bit of string round my finger? Or we could come up with a handy mnemonic: Not Every Man Is Bad And Dangerous, or NEMISBAD, which helpfully sounds like it could be the name of a fjord or possibly a town in Narnia. Then again, I could just look to my left, and say, "Hi, beloved colleague! It's awesome how you are not Bad And Dangerous, allowing us to be friends." Best friend, boyfriend, favourite colleague: they serve as excellent reminders that judging people based on their gender identity is a fucking stupid idea.
Men contribution to the society cannot be ignored. Be the tedious job of a architect or a managerial post, men play the role optimally. 

 ...but then I did that 'research' thing (what? Wikipedia is research) and, hey, International Men's Day? Sounds quite cool. Focusing on men's and boys' health? Whoop! Improving gender relations and promoting gender equality? Love it! Highlighting positive male role models? Sign me up! I'm not entirely sold on the aim to "highlight discrimination against men and boys in areas of health, family law, education, media or other areas" - not that this discrimination doesn't exist, but it seems like every anti-chap stereotype operates on the back of a 'boo, women' sentiment; "men: they are incapable of changing a nappy or toting a mop!" leads naturally - and conveniently - to women doing the vast majority of the care-giving and housework. And countless other examples.

But the idea of focusing on masculinity, on what it means and how it works and how gender roles fuck all of us up, is solid. It's possible - indeed, essential - to think all this through, to dissect mannishness with as much thoroughness as we do ladyism, without descending into WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ whining. It's impossible to dismantle the House Of Patriarchy (for such is my evil-genius spinny-chair naked-cat plan) by only smashing the windows on one side. Unscrew the damn doors! Kick out the damn jambs! Get really pissed off about a culture which allows men to only feel good about themselves if they are bored architects!

So may I, without any sarcasm (pay attention - unsarcasm may never appear on these pages again), wish you a very happy International Men's Day.

No comments:

Post a Comment