Powered by Northern Power Women
International Men's Day: Redefining Masculinity
ft. Charlotte Halm
Wed, 15 November, 2023

International Men's Day: Redefining Masculinity 


International Men's Day, celebrated on November 19th each year, is a dedicated occasion for recognising and celebrating the diverse achievements and contributions of men worldwide. This day serves as a platform to promote collaboration and the pursuit of common goals that apply to men regardless of age, abilities, backgrounds, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, or religious beliefs. This inclusivity and intersectionality is crucial as it acknowledges the experiences of those who face multiple disadvantages and how these factors intersect. 


In our ongoing journey towards gender equality, it is vital to address how the patriarchy can have detrimental effects on men, not just on women. Men are often burdened with unfair expectations imposed by patriarchal norms, which often demand them to exhibit strength while stifling their emotional expression. The concept of masculinity has evolved into a rigid and harmful construct, encompassing notions of providing for others, physical strength, emotional toughness, and success. It's essential to understand that masculinity is socially, historically, and politically defined rather than biologically determined and we must challenge these expectations.  


One significant consequence of these societal expectations is the declining mental health of men. Shocking statistics reveal that 12 men take their own lives every day, and the number of men experiencing suicidal thoughts has doubled since 2009. These distressing figures underscore the urgency of breaking free from these constraining notions of masculinity. International Men's Day offers a valuable opportunity to initiate conversations and encourage the men in your life to open up about their feelings, challenging these harmful ideas and expectations. There is progress being made; men today are nearly three times more likely to seek therapy if they are concerned compared to 2009. However, much work remains.  


International Men's Day aids in this journey by: 


Focusing on Men's Health and Wellbeing: This day helps dispel myths and misconceptions about men's health and wellbeing, raising awareness of issues specific to men while also addressing mental health. 

Promoting Male Role Models: Highlighting positive and relatable male figures as role models is essential, especially as younger boys are growing and developing. This is the phase where they can make critical decisions that may affect their lives, so it is crucial that they have guidance from a strong positive influence through this. 

Highlighting Inequalities Faced by Men: International Men's Day provides an opportunity to draw attention to the discriminations and inequalities resulting from patriarchal norms and societal expectations placed on men. It encourages discussions and suggests solutions to address these issues. 


Promoting Gender Equality: Gender inequality is a global concern, and International Men's Day aims to stimulate conversations that contribute to bridging the gender gap and improving gender relations. It plays a vital part in achieving gender equality. 


Educating on Men’s Issues: By educating people about these issues, we create awareness that can help men and boys maintain good mental health, establish strong social connections, and seek support when needed. It also informs men about the available services they can access when they require support. 


In conclusion, International Men's Day is an important opportunity to challenge harmful stereotypes, raise awareness about men's issues, and foster an environment where men can express themselves freely and seek help when necessary. It's a step towards a more equitable and inclusive society for all genders.