Opinion: International Men’s Day goes unnoticed, should highlight mental health seriousness

By Silda Martinez

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International Men’s Day should have a lot more recognition then we are giving it.

Never heard of it? Not surprising. Most aren’t even aware the day exists.

“The day is not intended to compete with International Women’s Day, but to emphasize the importance of men’s physical and mental health and positive masculinity.

According to an article published by the HuffPost on Dec. 2017 a review of homicide data shows that where homicide rates against men are high, violence against women by male partners is also high (and female deaths by homicides more likely to happen).

Men have a bigger reputation for taking their masculinity to an abusive pattern, but that is what National Men’s Day can help end the toxic masculinity that is expected from men.

Positive masculinity refers to the expansion of what it means to be a man, physically, emotionally and even socially.

“The need is to work with per-adolescent children to promote a culture of human rights, to promote gender-equitable behaviors by developing alternative masculinities, and to teach boys and men different methods of resolving conflict that do not resort to notions of masculinity, violence and pride,” according to Daily Maverick.

International Men’s Day was founded on Nov. 19, 1999 by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, a  history lecturer at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. Teelucksingh believed Father’s Day was the only day men were put in the spotlight for the positive masculinity they contribute within the community and even family life. He wanted another day to help bring to light all the good values that men have.

“Suicide has become the leading killer of men under the age of 45,” according to India Times, the topic of men’s mental health is never talked about due to the social stigma on men’s masculinity being seen as weak if talked about.

Instead of keeping up with this constant toxic masculinity stereotype that is put on men, we need to use days like International National Men’s Day to influence more positive talk about masculinity. It should highlight those men who are positive role models to others and promote gender equality.

It’s a chance to start showing the younger generation of boys that it is okay to talk about feelings and show emotions.

We need to build a space where men can talk about what issues they are struggling with, without being judged for being sensitive.

Men also constantly struggle with depression, anxiety and many other mental illnesses too. Instead of ignoring International National Men’s Day we should be spreading its importance more.

People need to be more educated about the day. More awareness needs to be put on International Men’s Day and really highlight the main goal of the day which is to end the gender stereotypes, to help men’s health and to break down toxic masculinity.

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