Last Sunday, 19 November, marked international men’s day 2017. It is a day that should be spent cheering on proud fathers, husbands and men nationwide in celebration of their existence. Perhaps even a day of celebration for all that men have historically achieved and have mercilessly toiled out of the hands of fate. Maybe too a day of mourning of all those soldiers who have fought and died in countless wars upon whose soils our democratic societies now stand. Men have been the architects through which the modern world has been physically and intellectually fashioned. So, why is it that such a day is so unheeded? Why must men, too, make do with the crumbs of father’s day and the general misfortune of Valentine’s Day each year? It is a tragic yet tired tale of a familiar world where boys, as well as many other groups, are now born with a unique and imagined original sin cursed upon them by an omni-present and polycephalic deity known as “Equality™”. It, too, is a symptom of how one certain movement in reckless pursuit of this hallowed “equality” is ending on a note of treachery, betrayal and vilification of those men it once desired this equality with.
Feminism was once a mighty organ pumping blood into the European enlightenment. It was the fissure that put much an end to countless lifetimes of unfair miseries, exclusions and torments of girls and women. Out of all the social movements and historical progressions in humanity’s accounts, feminism was one of the most important alongside abolitionism, secularism, liberalism and so on. But Feminism as an ideological brand has aged about as well as milk in a long, sweltering heat wave; the stale stench unpleasantly wafts its way around our culture and by now is almost impossible to remove. But once we are accustomed to the putrid smell, it is difficult to keep fully conscious of it.
After all, we grew up in schools with the idea that women are unfairly discriminated against with the infamous wage gap figures, despite being fully equal. We sat in front of televisions blaring out the lines of actors in cheesy sitcoms parroting away how chauvinistic their male counterparts were. We heard all about the campaigns on violence against women. We heard it piped away furiously from every conceivable pitch. Men are bad. This is precisely why international men’s day is so uncomfortable; we can feel the strange and subtle atmosphere of revulsion towards the very concept of such a day, even though we do not, perhaps, openly protest the very occasion. The villainy of men is so firmly planted in our collective conscience that to even celebrate it at all comes with the impression that we must somehow be delegitimising women and girls as a result.
This prejudiced framework of perceptions pertains strongly amongst a hemispheric web of lawful impediments against men, to intensify the sting. Men and boys are subject to a range of legal rules exclusive to themselves whereby they are separated from the benefit of full protection or equal resources. The worst travesty in my mind that stands as a symbol of such a fate is the legality of male infant circumcision. I have much more limited qualms towards the statistics of gendered imprisonments or divorce cases in that it is an unconscious and unfortunate failure of the courts here to uphold their own justice. The problem with the former tragedy against certain ill-fated young males is that it is no accident: it is a deliberate liberty of the modern parent to have the grace of slicing off their poor son’s foreskin, a dreadfully painful second-hand sacrifice representing a continuation of a foolish custom of religion or simply nationality. While the idea of such a deed done to a daughter causes an immediate lurch into an infernal fit of rage, our perception of the male edition is mere indifference. What an indulgence into male privilege we have found ourselves stumbling.
Beyond this example, it is crystal-clear to anybody with an ounce of understanding here that men do not bask in the same blessings at the hand of the law that women do these days (much less a “privilege” of being male), and I hardly need to speak of all the avenues of discrepancies of male citizenship concerning family law, criminal justice and “positive” discrimination.
But why have we sleepwalked into this minefield of historical progression? Why have we permitted our legal rights to equality to be eroded this much? Why have we been so feeble and shy about our very masculinity that we have sold out our once respected identity to a parseltongued clique of androgynous demagogues? Why has it become so venomous that in various regions of our western civilisation that Father’s Day as been repeatedly subverted (Australia) and boys have been forced to urinate sitting down (Norway)? The standard of masculinity is corroding so severely that it is quickly becoming nomadic, doomed to appear and disappear in short, sharp flashes of valour and romance. Truly, men cannot be so shamed and ridiculed from existential legitimacy without an eventual breakdown. With the testicles of western men socially removed, I am left wondering how these liberal corners of the globe will defend themselves both externally but especially internally in the next hundred years.
With masculinity falling ceaselessly into a saddening void, in my eyes, a modern male mutiny is becoming mandatory. Instead of the name of boys and men being sacrificed and shunned to appease a miserable fable of male toxicity and female victimhood, males should be taught to question this delusional deluge of smear. They should rebalance the equation of feminism as not being centred on the rights of women which perceive no philosophical finish line but rather genuine, deep equality between the genders, centred instead on equal freedom. International Men’s day ought to be an occasion for males to remind themselves that they are entitled to flaunt their masculinity, because masculinity and femininity are equal virtues. Men, too, ought to be proud of their gender just as women ought to be proud of theirs. The existence of mutual pride is a necessary element in a society whereby the rights of both men and women are properly held in true balance with each other. Instead of International Men’s day being nothing but the saddening funeral for masculinity’s reputation and the reminder of this grotesque taboo, it must be honoured to remind men of precisely what is decisively being lost, and what must be stood up for.
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