International Men’s Day

November 19, 1999 marked a serious steer in the HISTORY and FUTURE of the world for ever. For the first time ever someone thought about the “Invisibly Abandoned Diaspora” aka the men of the world and marked November 19th as the INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY and later on the concept was picked up by many countries including India.

Save Indian Family Foundation and its allied NGOs observed International Men’s Day in 2007 and 2008 by conducting bike rallies and other awareness events. This year, the Bangalore Chapter of the All India Men’s Welfare Association is being launched on 18th November, a day prior to November 19th, the International Men’s Day.

Before talking of what International Men’s Day is and why we should celebrate it, let’s look at some obviously invisible facts of the society,

  1. The security person who guards your apartments and office complexes is a MAN.
  2. The person who delivers milk every morning to your house is a MAN.
  3. The person who wakes up early morning (irrespective of weather conditions) and delivers newspapers to your house so that you are abreast of the latest happenings is a MAN.
  4. The person who drives your children to the school in the school bus so that they get access to a better future is a MAN.
  5. 98% of the workforce that guards our national and international borders so that we can live a peaceful life – risking their own lives – is a MAN.
  6. The person who risks his life climbing to the top of the building you live in, to repair the leaking pipes and faulty electric connections is a MAN.

These are some of the roles that men in the society have been donning for centuries and without whose contributions, the society would have turned into a chaotic mess. These are some of the most unwanted and risky jobs that naturally and by default get ascribed to men only to the point that we have terms dedicated to them – the milkman, the watchman, the lineman, etc.

The language that we speak creates a reality for us. The object that is a table for us may be just an obstacle to a small baby of 6 months who is struggling to crawl, but because we have associated a name – THE TABLE – with it, it creates a reality of using it as a table; whereas for the baby, oblivious of the language, it’s just coming in its way while it is trying to access the toy that is attracting it.

Similarly in our language when we ascribe these difficult and risky jobs to men by default by associating names with their professions embedding the gender into it, we create a reality that, “this job is a MAN’s job and he HAS to do it” whether he likes it or not. And in turn, we forget his contribution, his sacrifice and he becomes an unsung martyr. For centuries and centuries, men have donned these difficult roles and have remained UNSUNG HEROES and in turn all they get back is MALE HATRED from the society let alone recognizing these countless contributions that men have made to the society.

And this MALE HATRED is so deep and embedded in our psyches that we do not even perceive that,

  1. Men have shorter life expectancy.
  2. Men undertake the most risky and laborious jobs.
  3. Men have only RESPONSIBILITIES and no RIGHTS from the society.
  4. Men have a volley of ANTI-MALE and GENDER OBSESSED laws to deal with and live under a constant fear of being implicated into one.
  5. Men have to live a life of COMPETITION by IMPULSION.
  6. Men are emotionally castrated right from the tender age of 6 and are left emotionally deformed and mutilated which makes emotional confrontations extremely painful for men.
  7. Men are being denied their basic survival rights.
  8. Men are being FORCED TO DOMINATE the WORLD.

I would like to elaborate a bit on the last point here. Before that, let us try to understand what actually domination is all about. Domination is, as it is perceived, not about exercising control and oppressing. Domination is a feeling that is natural and existent in every human being – whether male, female, transgender or a eunuch – but at the same time no one wants to be painted (read tainted) as a DOMINATOR as mirrored in the saying – “Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die”.

What we often miss in perceiving is that Domination comes with its own costs of RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY because the visibly dominating person is the one who is expected to resolve crisis and take a just decision and this is a huge responsibility along with the hidden accountability.

From the seven points above sans the last point, it is very clear that MALE DISPOSABILITY comes natural to the society and because of this male disposability syndrome, the difficult role of domination (involving hidden responsibility and accountability) has been thrust onto men whether they ever wanted it or not. And that is why I say, “Males are being forced to dominate

As if that wasn’t enough, after being forced to dominate (of which the men were unaware), men were denied basic survival rights with the argument that it is a MALE DOMINATED SOCIETY. This is nothing but double jeopardy and cheating with men. First, a role that is demeaning (that of a dominator which everyone wants to avoid) is thrust onto them and then under that pretext their basic survival rights are infringed into and their basic humane expectations are tainted with the bad name of “Chauvinism”.

And because of this, I bow down today (on the pretext of International Men’s Day) before all the men (including myself) for surviving in a society filled with MALE HATRED.

As a man it is not acceptable to me that I am supposed to PROTECT and PROVIDE for the same society that hates me merely because I am a MAN.

This deeply embedded male hatred is the root cause of men’s problems, their ignorance and the neglect of their contributions. International Men’s Day is being observed in about 10 countries and more are joining in to,

  1. Pay a tribute to Men’s Contributions,
  2. Honor their Sacrifices and
  3. Recognize and acknowledge their Problems.

November 19 is one day when men can talk freely not only about their issues and grievances but also “Celebrate being Male”.

This is a day when not only all men should take leave from their work and spend a day doing what THEY want to (rather than doing what OTHERS want them to do), but this day should also be declared as a HOLIDAY.

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