The future of men? #InternationalMensDay
Most people seem unaware of the fact that November 19th is International Mens Day. Unlike its counterpart, InternationalWomens Day, there are no parades and no discussions about the challenges faced by men today. But does that mean that there are none? Are men living life without challenges or issues they need to be addressed? What does the future of men look like today?
Unfortunately, it seems issues faced by men are quickly swept under the rag or not taken with the seriousness they require. Men in this modern era are facing problems such as identity crisis, lack of proper role models and many more. How are these issues being addressed?
What does it mean to be a man in this day and age? In the past, there was the notion of being a gentleman. Men were required to gain a level of respect and distinction in society. This was defined by how one treated the people around you; women, children and your fellow men. To some extent, the line was drawn on what it took to be a respectable member of society.
Today we face a crisis as to what it takes to be a man. This is compounded by the many other issues occuring parallel to this like Gender Based Violence and “Dead Beat” parents.
With unemployment at an all-time high, most men feel unable to live up to their provider role as set out in treaditional gender structures. Mental health issues such as depression are a big challenge to men in the modern era. Most men will not admit to this and when they crack the effectsare exponential. Arewe having proper and sober mental health discussions among men? Do we have to wait till they resort to violence or drugs as their way of dealing?
Who do we consider role models for young men and boy these days? Most of us look up to rock stars, celebrities, footballers and other sportsmen, politicians and even criminals. Are older men taking up the responsibility of mentoring and guiding the youth? We have forums for women empowerment and mentorship but rarely will you see this for men.
Sexual and gender based violence
This is one of the issues that is rarely spoken about when it involves men. We seem to ignore the fact that young men and boys are also abused and sexually violated. They are expected to keep quiet about these issues. There is a level of discrimination and judgement placed on those who choose to speak out on matters relating to the rape of men. Even issues of male child molestation are not covered extensively. The underlying notion is that men are never the victims.
There are a lot of issues that could be discussed on International Mens Day and I cannot cover them all. I will close by discussing one issue that is often seen as a fight for women aka feminists – patriarchy. This is the system that is meant to offer priviledge to men and thus it is assumed that men do not suffer under the system. But they do?
Patriarchy has been used to create gender structures about men which lead to not only discrimination between genders but within the gender itself. As with the issue on identity crisis, some men are considered more men than others. We have come to the point where masculinity is not only measured in physic but with material possession as well. Those who own more or are more wealthy are considered more macho.
All these have conspired to create a situation where you might, or might not, conclude a crisis to the future of men. Are we having these discussions? Or, will we end the day and conclude that men are doing fine as we always do.