I knew somehow there had to be a day set aside to celebrate men but I wasn’t just sure until last week when Otiko Afisa Djaba, Ghana’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection walked up in Parliament to present a statement to mark International Men’s Day which is globally celebrated today, November 19, 2017. I was like oh! International Men’s Day? What are they going to talk about? I quickly googled it and the theme: Celebrating Men and Boys in All Their Diversity” hit me.
Society expects so much from men. Yes it is a fact. For men, it is the opposite of what society expects of women. Society tells women…”a woman does this or that…” but it tells men “A man doesn’t do this or that” leaving them overwhelmed because all eyes are gazed on them at all times. A man must be strong and should not cry, a man must never hit a woman no matter how provocative she is, a man has to be the head of the family, he should be able to provide for his family at all times, a man must be strong at all times physically, emotionally, sexually!
If all women will confess, there have been moments when we claim we are fighting for women empowerment and equality yet when it comes to spending money we are very selective and even tend to appear the weaker vessels (if that is the price to pay to reserve our monies), we want to spend our salaries on shopping, saloons etc. in order to look good for our partners but we expect the man to pay the bills, leave chop money behind, kiss you when you are sad, be romantic and spontaneous at all times, ask you out…etc. I have always wondered how men have done it all this while. You are brought up to be ambitious, make money, get married and spend your money on your wife and kids. I think men do deserve some standing ovation here!
One other thing I respect men for is the fact that they have to be the first to approach a lady they find attractive sometimes in the presence of her friends! You know we ladies can be unnecessarily petty, saucy, and rude even when we do like the guy and are happy about the fact that he walked up to you. We will still play hard to get. I am not talking about the guys who harass women for their numbers though. I am talking about friendly and well-spoken men who just express interest in getting to know a lady.
In our quest to fight for equality we tend to come all hard on men. Quick to judge them, categorise them, I hear women say “all men are the same.” They are this or that. They will always hurt you. Never trust them. They will take advantage of you. They will look down upon you. They don't like strong and ambitious women. They don't want to help at home. All they are interested in is chasing women of different shapes, sizes etc. This dawned on me to take some time off to join the world in celebrating men today and every other day.
How does it feel to live in a society where you must always appear strong even when you are weak within! Not sure what might offend a woman. You have to decipher when she is in a good mood and when she isn't in. Touching her in a certain way is seen as sweet and romantic one day but on another day it is seen as sexual harassment. When you try to be a gentleman by doing chivalrous acts it could be appreciated or seen offensive. There are men who are being sexually harassed or physically abused by women but most of the times we tend to ignore such stories because we have branded men already.
It is therefore not surprising that more men tend to commit suicide than women across the globe. There are just too many expectations from society when it comes to men - greater levels of strengths, independence and risk-taking behaviour! Men have been taught to bottle up their pains in order not to appear weak.
As the world celebrate men and boys today, let’s all endeavor to appreciate men and see them as humans and not supermen. Together we can help nurture boys to become the men that we want them to be. Men who accept their weaknesses as well as their strengths are the strongest! Men do have problems too! You must not be a man in order to celebrate Men’s Day.
Happy International Men’s Day to all the amazing men in my life, country, continent, globe! I hope to see more activities and hashtags celebrating men next year.
My dear men please feel free to cry when you are in pain. It does help!