For all the men out there who crib about Women’s Day being a big deal, today is your day! November 19 is celebrated every year as International Men’s Day. You are the yang to the yin, the purush to the prakriti, the Shiva to Shakti. It’s not just women and minorities; men have also been victims of patriarchy and matriarchy, gender norms, toxic masculinity and misplaced ideals of machismo.
Men in the time of COVID-19
COVID-19 has changed men’s lifestyles. They didn’t spend as much time with their family before lockdowns were imposed. Most weren’t active participants in parenting duties or household chores either. Male gender roles have been changing over the decades. They are no longer mere bread winners, but are taking on the mantle of nurturer to children. In urban areas, at least on the surface, the traditional gender roles have been replaced by a partnership in young families. Stay-at-home dads aren’t uncommon, and women are getting more involved in financial investments and buying decisions.
On top of this, coronavirus has forced men to confront their role in the year 2020. Men learnt the travails of working from home while managing a cantankerous family. Millennial fathers began to understand how tedious doing the dishes and taking out the garbage really is. The new normal has sensitised them to their wife’s mountain of little tasks. In some way, it is a lesson in gender equality.
Why is International Men’s Day celebrated?
International Men’s Day is about creating more awareness about men’s physical and mental health and well-being. This event is pertinent to issues related to gender equality. It also celebrates positive male role models, men and boys who are challenging preconceived notions about masculinity, empowering women and making the world a better place for everyone.
The history of this day is mired in delay. Although the demand for a special day for men began as far back in the 1960s, it was inaugurated three decades later in 1992. Thomas Oaster founded the day on February 7 not November 19, to focus on men’s rights. However, it didn’t receive much attention for almost a decade. International Men’s Day really took off when Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh re-established it in the year 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago, on November 19. The rest is history.
What is the theme for International Men’s Day 2020?
This year’s theme is “Better health for men and boys.” Having witnessed the importance of good health over money, riches and fame during the pandemic, one can’t stress enough the importance of this theme. Men are more prone to a range of health conditions, from cardiovascular disease, skin cancer, diabetes and colon cancer. Some ailments are peculiar to men. Prostate cancer and other prostate issues, erectile dysfunction and sexual dysfunction, to name the prominent conditions. So, go out and celebrate International Men’s Day but also remember to take good care of yourself!