Every year on International Women's Day, some idiot feels the need to pipe up with: "But what about International Men's Day?" And the inevitable response is: "Every day is International Men's Day. Bugger off." Or words to that effect. It has become a tired refrain every time March 8 rolls around.
Then International Men's Day really did happen. It's today, in case you were wondering. And the inevitable response to this was: "But every day is International Men's Day. It must be so hard to have all that power and privilege. Boo hoo!"
And yes, it is superficially churlish of men to complain about power when they are still the majority in governments across the world, when they still comprise most of the CEO positions in companies globally, when they are making wars happen but don't seem to be doing a whole lot to make wars stop, and so on.
But across the world, men are more likely to be incarcerated, more likely to be victims of violent crime, with the exception of rape, and they are more likely to develop cancer and die of it. Add to the mix the extra disadvantages faced by many men from ethnic minorities and from impoverished backgrounds in developed and developing countries, and it is clear that there are issues on which men should be raising awareness without fear of being disparaged.
For example, this month is Movember, the annual fundraiser for prostate cancer research via the medium of men growing sponsored moustaches. It's a fun way to raise money and awareness about a disease that kills around 10,000 men in Britain annually. Anything that can be done to encourage men to go to the doctor, even if it involves the less-than-pleasant task that is a prostate examination, is a good thing.
Equally, it is important to ensure boys and girls are all encouraged to embrace education in places such as Britain where it is easily accessible and to ensure access to education for all children is improved globally. Education is one of the best ways to stop the cycle of poverty for men and women and, as such, we need to strive for a world where everybody can go to school.
Then there is the importance of looking at the causes of crime - many of which can be related back to the lack of opportunities that occur as a result of poor education - and find practical ways to reduce crime and keep men out of prison. If men are more likely to be violent, we need to examine why this is so as well. This is not about pandering to men. This is about creating a good and safe society.
And I haven't even scratched the surface in the last few paragraphs as to why issues that impact heavily on men are important. But to call the day International Men's Day is a marketing failure. Instead of looking seriously at the issues that affect society as a whole, there is too much noise as to what the day should be called and whether the day has the right to exist.
It's not as simple as declaring an International Men's Day. The issues are too many and too big for just one day, just as International Women's Day alone cannot hope to address the issues that are holding women back across the world. And when you look at the issues that both these international days are trying to deal with, it becomes abundantly clear that they are all human issues. And human issues require cooperation, intelligence, open dialogue and sanity from everyone.
Image courtesy of www.kozzi.com