On International Men’s Day I try to ignore the nonsense online and think of my wonderful father — the only true parent I’ve had — and the other decent men in my life. Having a single father who has been incredible to me and my sisters has made me a fierce feminist with an appreciation for good male allyship.
I also think of the things we should be talking about as issues on this day. Most pressing, in my opinion, is the mental health crisis affecting men in New Zealand and around the world. Plagued by depression and with disturbingly high suicide statistics in certain male demographics, male mental health should be a priority area for healthcare and men’s wellbeing.
Male violence is something that cannot go unaddressed on International Men’s Day. Male-on-male violence is responsible for a huge amount of violent crime. When men are victims of crime, it is usually perpetuated by other men and the underlying factors which contribute to male violence need to be addressed. This, of course, is often linked to mental illness crises also. The violence committed against women by men must also be acknowledged here. It is something we all know that happens, but so far have not managed to address as a society. We can ‘call out’ male violence, but finding practical solutions is much harder. We need men to be willing to work on solutions first and foremost. Understandably, for many women it is difficult to think of how to help violent men — especially for those who have been victimised — however, I commit to being open to working with men to end male violence in all its forms.
Today is also a good day to remind the men in your life over the age of 50* to get their prostate checked. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, around 3,000 registrations and about 600 deaths each year. There are common hang ups regarding the methods of checking the prostate, but it is important we remind our old guys that we need them to get checked because we want them to be around.
There are very many more issues affecting men, but these to me are the most crucial to be talking about. Yes, I am a feminist and I have plenty to say about how the world still preferences men, however, that does not mean men don’t struggle, suffer, and experience other forms of discrimination. There are a great many things that could resolved if we could approach them collaboratively rather than adversarially.
I will just end this note with a bit of a deal. As many of you know, trans activists and gender ideologues are campaigning to erase sex and sex-based rights. This will affect women enormously. Your wives, girlfriends, sisters, and daughters will no longer have female-only spaces, sports, opportunities, and even language. We are already called “menstruators” and “uterus havers” by these rainbow misogynists. We need your help to push back on this. So here’s the deal: I will be your ally and speak up about issues affecting men, if you will do the same for us. If you can be accepting of males who don’t conform to gender expectations and show they are safe in your spaces, they will not need to compromise ours. If you can say “no” when activists demand access to our spaces you will give women the confidence to say “no” too.
Your allyship is important. It is something I have appreciated greatly from the handful of men I know who are actively working with me and other women to protect our rights. They have our backs and I am thankful. So, cheers to them and cheers to you — look after yourself and get your prostate checked!