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International Men’s Day Exists. If Only Women’s Day Critics Had Checked The Calendar

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March 8, marks International Women’s Day. And yet, here we are talking about International Men’s Day today. Leave it to patriarchy to leave no stone unturned in always trying to score over women, trying to steal their thunder and trying to make everything about itself.

As is the annual tradition on occasions and special days blocked on the calendar for women, some ‘whatabouters’ have been roused awake this women’s day to demand for a counterpart men’s day. What about celebrating men? Don’t they deserve a special holiday all to themselves too? Where is the “feminist equality” if a men’s day doesn’t exist?

Along the same vein, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sonal Mansingh kindly put forward a demand in the Rajya Sabha on women’s day that “International Men’s Day should also be celebrated.”

I hate to break it to her and to all others attempting to rain on the women’s day parade. But International Men’s Day already exists.

If only naysayers had checked the calendar before firing some very predictable attacks on a day meant to hail female power, they would find that November 19 is set apart to singularly applaud men.

Do We Need International Men’s Day?

What International Women’s Day is touted as and has become is open to subjective criticism. I am self-admittedly not a big fan of days – any days – specifically pinpointed on the calendar to glorify an occasion for a total of 24 hours whose significance will then abruptly cease right as the clock strikes midnight, announcing a new day.

But I get it. I get the motivations behind women’s day and other occasions demarcated for celebrating our worth in a society that has for so long either neglected or oppressed it. Barring the marketing and capitalistic gimmicks, days such as March 8 hold value for women across the globe, reminding them that they hold equal value and instilling in them the force to take that belief through for the other 364 days of the year.

As for the International Men’s Day? One can argue that every day, especially in a country like India, is celebrated as such. So do we really need a day for men? The need to mark out separate days exists to uplift the oppressed. And relative to all other identities, the link between social oppression and men is negligible.

Yet, the idea of celebrating the male identity on a special, specific day is necessary. Even if to highlight those stigmas that concern them – from tears to other fears – but otherwise go unaddressed.

International Men’s Day: Does it warrant discussion on Women’s Day?

The problem arises when several, like Mansingh, pick women’s day to show their (im)probably well-intentioned sensitivity towards the need for men’s day. It only perpetuates what has been obvious for some time now: that every demand seeking rights and recognition of men comes in rebuttal to that for women.

What does that say about the authenticity of the belief in both days? Is discussing the alternative on a day meant for one gender serving any purpose for either at all? Where is it taking us in the journey to gender equality?

One steps forward, two steps backward.

Views expressed are the author’s own.