International Men’s Day (IMD) was created in Trinidad and Tobago in 1999, and formally introduced to the UK in 2010. The intention is to make a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys, focusing on positive conversations about men, manhood and masculinity.
The objectives are:
- To promote male role models
- To celebrate the contribution that men make
- To focus on men’s health and wellbeing
- To highlight discrimination against men, the inequalities that men and boys face
- To improve gender relations and promote gender equality
- To create a safer world for everyone. UK International Men’s Day
Today, as IMD is celebrated on Saturday 19th November, over 400 organisations are taking part, and I would like to join them in starting a positive conversation with you. But first, let’s look at some facts as provided by the IMD website:
- Men make up 75% of all deaths by suicide and it is the biggest cause of male deaths under 50
- Covid mortality rates for working age men are 31 deaths per 100,000 compared with equivalent female death rates of 17 per 100,000, respectively
- In 2019 for 18 year olds, 118,320 men (UK domiciled) and 154,290 women went to university (30% difference)
- Men make up 85% of rough sleepers
- In 2019/20 757,000 men (1.56 million women) suffered from Domestic Abuse – that means one in three victims are male.
Back to the positive conversation…
Are you an ordinary bloke?
Do you feel like there is nothing particularly different or interesting about you? That there’s nothing extraordinary, perplexing or challenging, or even worth celebrating about you? After all you’re just an ordinary bloke…
At the end of the day, we’re all just ordinary blokes. Blokes that have stories to tell, fears to face and ideas to share. And it’s these things that seem completely mundane and ordinary to us that make us interesting to others.
If you grew up in a world where ‘men were men’ or worked in a very ‘masculine’ environment where men didn’t show weakness, then you won’t find talking easy. But I encourage you now to talk to others, share your ideas and ask for help when it’s needed. And speaking of masculinity…
What does masculinity mean to you?
‘Masculinity is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with men and boys. Masculinity can be theoretically understood as socially constructed.’ Wikipedia
Brilliantly put by Wikipedia, masculinity to me is whatever is ‘manly’… To me, in my social constructs it is manly to be sensitive to the needs of others, it is manly to be open about issues you face and health concerns you have. It is manly to be true to yourself and not to change your attitudes and behavior to fit an unnatural feeling group dynamic.
How would you define masculinity?
I hope these questions have sparked some inner dialogues and outward conversation starters. On International Men’s Day, let’s keep the conversations going.
You may be interested to watch a recording of an event I organised in Oxfordshire for International Men’s Day in 2020. If so, please see https://youtu.be/3hmySIoo4J0
All the best – Mike