Dear Fellow Feminists and Everyone Else

Dear Fellow Feminists and Everyone Else,

Happy International Men’s Day.

I am saying that un-ironically and hope that you can, too. There are a lot of people out there denigrating this day because “isn’t every day men’s day” and “this is like having a white history month.” Yes, if International Men’s Day applied to only white, cisgendered, middle to upper class straight men.

It is INTERNATIONAL Men’s Day. We are talking about ALL men and there is actually quite A LOT to talk about:

-“Be a man”/”Man up”

-Hypersexualization

-Men not being allowed to feel or show emotions to the point of psychosis

-Race and masculinity

-Fatherhood

-How we police masculinity

-Extension of white middle to upper class male adolescence

These are just a few off the top of my head. International Men’s Day is not supposed to be about rubbing one out to how awesome it is to have a penis and touting male privilege. It is a chance for us to look under the hood and try to examine why the suicide rate is so high for men under 35 and why men do not go to see their general physicians.

I am a feminist and sometimes, depending on the day and how many times I was street harassed, I can be a bit of a misandrist. However, we can’t have equality by looking at only one part of the equation. There is a ton of stuff that needs to be figured out and fixed for women – rape culture, pay inequality, etc. – but a lot of those things are intimately linked to men and masculinity.

There is a masculinity discussion group at Bluestockings once a month that I try to attend every month where we talk about masculinity and what being “a man” means and how we can change it because masculinity is terrifying. If you sit down and really look at what it means to be “a man” in our society it makes sense why male-identified people have an almost impossible time communicating, and understanding emotions. We tell male-identified people that their core identity is Man and if they lose that identity or it is undermined they are less than nothing, and then we make a huge list of things that can take that identity away – hugging another man too long, crying, not loving sports, admitting you need help, liking cocktails more than beer, being vulnerable, erectile dysfunction, not wanting to have sex, etc, etc.

Feminism is about equality. You can’t have equality unless you address everything – gender, sex, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, class, mental health, etc. Everything is interconnected. So let’s take a moment to understand that men are raped, harassed, domestically abused, and taught that anger and violence are their only legitimate means of expressing themselves. Let’s stop generalizing and stereotyping and try to relate to everyone on a person to person basis.

Happy International Men’s Day! I’m off to go hug one of the men in my life!

Proud feminist and sometimes misandrist,

Michelle

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