Rallying for Better Relations Between Men and Women on International Men’s Day 

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I had an announcement for my husband and son. I said that I would honor the two men who drive me nuts by preparing a grand dinner for them on International Men’s Day! The “drive me nuts” part was obviously to pull their leg!

Talks about gender equality fill the air all the time. So if we have a day designated to women, it makes absolute sense that we do the same by dedicating a day to all of the wonderful men around.  

A splendid theme for 2021

The theme for this year’s International Men’s Day has really caught my attention. It focuses on developing “Better Relations Between Men and Women”. This is indeed an intelligent choice and a step in the right direction.

Men and women need to work in harmony in order to build trust and a pleasing camaraderie amongst themselves. They need to nurture mutual respect for one another. The goal is to reach a point at which we have equality for all of mankind. It is not a battle of the sexes to assert the superiority of one gender over another.

While honoring positive role models and the value they bring to the world, their families, and their communities, International Men’s Day seeks to raise awareness for men’s physical and mental wellbeing. 

The culmination of men’s mental health issues into suicides has created a global concern. Part of this problem is related to the thinking process ingrained in the minds of men. They have been conditioned to believe that they are the superheroes who can solve all issues on their own. It is difficult for them to accept failure.  Not sharing burdens with others and taking them all on their own have a toll on mental health. They need to come out of this mindset and understand that asking for help is not considered a sign of weakness. 

By harnessing the power of empathy and kindness while dealing with one another, men and women can go a long way in abetting the mental health crisis. It is important that they be allies in solving each other’s problems because they both have strengths that complement each other. Working together can facilitate the process of addressing each other’s needs and finding amicable solutions. 

Teaching the right values and correcting offenses

The ultimate aim of International Men’s Day is to promote basic humanitarian values.  This calls for men to teach the boys in their lives the values, character, and responsibilities of being a man.

We cannot shy from problems that plague society. How often have we heard the phrase “Oh, men will be men”? That absolves them of many misdemeanours they commit. Well, the chains of patriarchy need to be broken, and the offenses need to be corrected.

A recent ad by a pharmaceutical company made on the occasion of International Men’s Day brings to light certain problems that exist in today’s society. Hashtagged #NahinChaltaHai (It does not work), the video has a powerful message. It emphasizes that certain actions cannot be justified just because they have been going on for a very long time. They need to stop.

A man stalking a woman amounts to behavior that is morally reprehensible. It is just not fine for a groom’s side to be expecting gifts from the bride’s family simply because the tradition has continued for ages. A husband venting his anger on his wife simply because he did not have a good day at work crosses all norms of decency. 

The ad sends a message that such wrong actions need to be nipped in the bud. This is to ensure that any conscientious boy who is educated with the right values will turn out to be a responsible man in the future.

The stereotyping needs to end, and misconceptions need to be cleared

We will witness a lot of progress in society once we view situations in the proper light and exercise our power of reasoning. The true essence of a noble cause is lost when misconceptions spread their roots.

Take the case of feminism. It has got to do with equality and giving women the rights they deserve. It needs to be understood that feminism is not about pitting women against men. So no man needs to feel insecure at the mention of the word “feminist”. Nor should he be ashamed to endorse this fair ideology. 

Conversely, while seeking their rights in the name of feminism, women are not at liberty to bash men and play the victim card at every possible opportunity. It is true that injustices have been wrought upon women. But the very essence of feminism is lost if they intend to portray men in a poor light without any redeeming qualities.

Also, the stereotyping needs to come to an end. There is ample truth in what American film writer and director Marti Noxon said: “The problem with generalizations and judgments, the words we hurl as insults, is that they deny our humanity and our stories.”

Just as it is disrespectful to type-cast women as sharp tongued, manipulative, and conniving, it is equally unfair to always present a negative image of men. Not all men are sexual predators, sexists, or dominating. 

A balanced judgment is what we all need to have. Both men and women need to act mature and refrain from throwing filth at one another. The violations are the same. If misogyny is considered a crime, so is misandry!

Towards a better tomorrow!

Complying with the brilliant theme of 2021, men and women need to work in close coordination for the upliftment of both genders. They have their roles to play and responsibilities to shoulder. Both need to embark on a journey where they set examples for one another. Society needs to establish equality, respect, and fairness as the guiding principles sans which dedicating just a single day to either men or women is totally meaningless.

Here’s to appreciating all of the invaluable contributions made by men in every walk of life, and wishing them a happy International Men’s Day!

(This article was featured in Women’s Web )

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