Feminist Times have declared this week 'Man Week'. When I received the newsletter (which I don't recall signing up for but thanks Feminist Times!) in my work email account I thought eurgh, how gimmicky can you get? But then I read the reasons set out - other than it looks pretty controversial for a site calling itself Feminist Times to celebrate Man Week as noted by editor Charlotte Raven: "It's provocative to have a Man Week for a new feminist publication, but in a post-Lad world we believe analysing and identifying the new masculine archetype is an important issue for feminism."
However the week has been designated to cover not just International Men's Day, but interestingly it will include the 25th November, Eliminate VAWG Day. It seems like a step in the right direction and oddly new to involve men in this subject. Which is ridiculous because of course they are involved. But by including them in the discussion we might escape the 'not ALL men do that' debate dead end.
Look, men, I know sometimes it feels like you have the world between your legs (click the link, it makes the joke work) and life has its challenges for all of us. I suspect much of the pressure and expectation heaped upon men has resulted in much of the male despair we see.
...it's often a room full of white, middle class people discussing, agonising over and celebrating these days.
I have not mentioned, on this day of man celebration, a certain UK based party who wishes to celebrate and defend men. I have certainly not mentioned their founder and leader - let's call him Bike Muchanan - because every time I do I get a snidey e-mail from Bike, which I find unnerving. He's effectively silenced me. I therefore dread to think of the braveness required of the trans* writers, the writers of colour and sex workers (who I lump in together here because they are always met with derision) who continue to blog and publish in the face of threats, anger and abuse.
International Women's Day and International Men's Day should alert us to the many, many other people who have only their gender in common with us who are much more marginalised. When I say there is room for both International Women's Day and International Men's Day I say it because there is, because it's often a room full of white, middle class people discussing, agonising over and celebrating these days. We actually have the space and the platform to make sure these days are not wasted over who deserves such a day more but focusing on those who could benefit and give a voice to those who really are silenced.