Here, Blow On This; We Already Have An International Men’s Day


There’s a lot of embarrassing things about being a man. The uncontrollable erections in high school. The acne. The voice breaking thing. Tony Abbott, Cory Bernardi and Peter Dutton.

But without question, the most embarrassing thing about being a man today is that many of us apparently didn’t know there was already a day that celebrated actually being a man.

Why raise it now? Because this week marks International Women’s Day, and conservatives and men’s rights activists everywhere have shed so many man-tears, that it’s caused flash flooding around the nation.

International Men’s Day has actually been a ‘thing’ since the early 1990s (although that obviously depends how you define ‘men’s movement’). It gathered momentum in 1999 when Trinidad and Tobago’s Dr Jerome Teelucksingh declared a date, November 19, based on his father’s birthday. Here’s a video of Jerome explaining the event… with ‘Minuet In G by Beethoven’ playing in the background to help soothe some frazzled nerves.

In Australia, we’ve celebrated it since 2003 – i.e. this year will be the 15th such occasion. Thus, a quick Google and a visit to Wikipedia would have saved an awful lot of dudes an awful lot of embarrassment the last few days.

For the history junkies, last year’s theme was Keeping Men and Boys Safe (elephant in the room… safe from other men and boys, by any chance?).

And for the detail junkies, there are “Six Pillars” of International Men’s Day. They are:

(1) To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.

(2) To celebrate men’s positive contributions; to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment

(3) To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.

(4) To highlight discrimination against males; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law

(5) To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.

(6) To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.

So chins up lads – we only have to suffer through another 255 days (not counting Father’s Day, or those other 253 days) before we get a day all to ourselves, where we can sit around and have deep and meaningful conversations like this….

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.