International days are announced with the noble goal of stimulating the public to pay attention to a subject which affects society, yet is mostly ignored throughout the year. Issues that receive this kind of support, as with the World Autism Awareness Day, have relatively consistent characteristics: the media almost never covers them, the public shows lack of knowledge, and this leads to unfounded stereotypes, that worsen whatever ill-treatment the issue is already receiving. Cynics argue that such days are sales events, and calculated marketers undoubtedly jump this wagon on Women’s Day, but on an international day the media is encouraged to put as a top story what is normally left for the bottom of the page in a hidden sub-section if mentioned at all, and many outlets and newspapers would publish in-depth articles that reveal figures, statistics and personal stories, that replace stereotypes and ignorance with an appreciation of a pertinent, acute issue.
The first problem with International Women’s Day is that none of this is true regarding women. Since Me Too has erupted approximately three and a half years ago, women’s issues occupy the headlines daily and are constantly in public awareness. If we are to be sincere about the object and outcome of international days, it’s safe to say that since October 2017 every day is women’s day.
The second and much more grave problem is that when every day is women’s day, what will the media, including influencers in social media, do on women’s day to highlight women’s issues more than they are already stressed every day? The sad answer is that solely out of the need to find some way to say something over and above the regular headlines, the covering and references reach such levels of hyperbolic statements that it seems more than anything as incitement against men as a group. One example I encountered today was a “poem” expressing the writer’s decision never to marry “in order to not get murdered”, which implies that every man may kill his wife. This is equivalent to a racist implying that every immigrant may rape or a supremacist implying that every black person may kill – but this “poem” was received with cheers by the same people who would reject such incitement if directed at other groups. This is not a new phenomenon – “killallmen” is a viral trend in TikTok among female teens – but aggravated on women’s day.
Despite March 8 becoming battering day, many feminists would argue that a day for women is justified, by accentuating as much as possible the fact that men occupy the headlines around the year, because of their roles in public affairs. But it’s crucial to keep in mind that while men are indeed mentioned, these are not their personal issues that are being discussed, but general social and state affairs. We would not accept just the mentioning of women’s names as position-holders, as discussing women’s issues. We don’t count a report citing Nancy Pelosi commenting on immigration as “covering women’s issues”, because her role is what’s at the focus and not her personal issues as a person occupying that role. If mentioning female role-holders in reports on subjects unrelated to women’s issues is not a replacement for covering women’s issues, why is it justified to treat “men mentioning” as such and regard this as requiring balancing, after women’s issues have been occupying the headlines all year long while men’s issues almost never have?
Feminists tend to neglect this state of affairs and divert the discussion to the claim that men are being mentioned in the media, that this is because of public positions they occupy, and that these positions are taken by them because of a “patriarchy.” As this assertion tends to obscure the question at hand, of whether women’s personal issues are the ones not being covered, before continuing it’s worth digressing for a momemt to humor the feminist diversion, to make way for the acutely-needed discussion about exposure of womanhood’s and manhood’s issues.
Men do occupy public roles disproportionately and are therefore mentioned in the media in certain contexts more often, and it should indeed be more balanced, but the reason for these proportions is not some secret conspiracy between the male members of society, but the fact that public roles are not primarily about power and prestige (which seems to be the only aspect seen by feminists) but mostly require willingness for personal sacrifice. While many women fancy the prestige, most seem less enthusiastic about the sacrifice part. When a public program was launched to attract women to municipal politics by offering them funding for their campaigns – their male counterparts had to find their own sources and to take considerable risks – the program had to return much of the allocated funding, it was never claimed. One former Member of Parliament from the UK, a woman of the generation of Margaret Thatcher, argued that the low participation of women in public affairs is because feminism taught women to sit and wait for a helping hand, whereas in order to win a competitive or elective position one has to be able to fight against odds. My own speculation is that another feminist message was much more detrimental – the message, “prioritize yourself”. For generations, feminism has continuously propelled among women the idea that they come first, they should think of themselves, make time for themselves, and never forget to take care of themselves. While women embraced the massage wholeheartedly, it might have caused many to regard the immense altruistic personal sacrifice that public affairs demand, which can be radical and leave almost no time for oneself, as an offense against them – they were told that their duty is to think about themselves and take care of themselves. While half a century ago men might have been accountable for the low participation of women in public and state affairs, it may be the case that currently men are not responsible for the low numbers, it seems much more likely that feminism is.
Regardless of how we choose to explain female absenteeism, blaming men for it does not answer the question: If men are seldomly discussed as humans while every day is women’s day, why does the “men mentioning” needs balancing with more discussion of women’s issues in an international day, when women’s issues are in the headlines all year long? More than balancing, this would seem as the deepening of an imbalance.
Women’s issues are currently an example of the very reason for announcing international days, but not as you would have expected. Some issues so persistently occupy the headlines that they make it necessary to declare a day to get some other subjects there, and women issues are currently part of those occupying headlines consistently – from menstruation to masturbation, from complaints and difficulties at work and throughout life to every imaginable aspect of women’s being. There are less and less women who think that Women’s Day is needed today, some are calling it narcissistic. There are also feminists who object it, naturally through blaming men for something – I ran across the idea that it’s wrong because “men use it as an excuse to ignore women’s issues the rest of the year”, you probably encountered funnier feminist ways to blame men for participating in a day dedicated solely for women.
At the same time there are very few people, especially women, who have the slightest idea about men’s lives. Men as the person occupying a role rather than the role itself, are very rarely reported or even described. Men are also affected by the relations between the sexes. They are also facing difficulties such as working and raising children. Some are harassed or assaulted sexually, mostly by women. Others are discriminated against because of their sex by feminist normd and culture. Many men are gradually developing stress and depression disorders as a result of the Me Too atmosphere. This does impact society, but is never discussed. As if men are not part of society as humans, only as functions, as “roles occupiers”. These lives are stereotyped, by feminism, through the emphasis on a small minority of powerful figures. If anything is an example of a neglected subject that requires a concentrated effort to help it reach the headlines, at least once, one day out of a whole year, to disseminate figures and personal stories and replace stereotypes and ignorance with knowledge, it’s male issues.
I don’t propose replacing Women’s Day with Men’s Day. Nor is it a good idea to have a day for each – this perpetuates a Women’s Day which has become, for lack of higher pitches available by now in the vocal tones to out-shout the daily reporting, male battering day. There should be one day for both – Human Day. It should be declared as dedicated to both sexes equally.
The cancellation of International Women’s Day simply means equality. Crucially, for it to fulfill such a goal, the male side of Human Day must be voiced not only by the men who internalize a feminist narrative and when talking about men’s issues discuss only how men are affected by other men, hiding their life experiences created by women as to not to upset the feminist women who allowed and permitted them to speak about men as persons; but also through the voices of men who are brave enough to speak about their lives among women, women being just as significant to men as other men are, and I believe much more. Just as women are not restricted to speaking about how other women have affected them, but are free to talk about what concerns humans most – the relations with the other sex – a society devoted to equality must refrain from infringing this freedom of men.
You don’t receive freedoms, you realize them. You don’t need to wait for anyone. You can start marking Human Day today.
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