International Men’s Day is celebrated on Nov. 19 with the objective to “focus on men’s and boy’s health, improve gender relations, promote gender equality, and highlight positive male role models,” according to the official website of the holiday.
“Men’s day?” said Eric Harline, an accounting senior from Colorado. “Sounds fantastic - ‘mentastic’ - because I am a man and I love being a man.”
The IMD website declares there are three main purposes: strive to remove negative images and stigma associated with men; create awareness on issues with men’s health; and celebrate men’s achievements and contributions in society.
“I feel like those are strong points that they want to achieve,” said Blake Walton, a junior psychology major from Utah, “because men can be seen as ‘pigs’ or ‘machistas’ or whatever, so it’s important to recognize that they don’t only do bad things. But they also help the society move forward. They can support others, protect them as well, and even help them reach their goals.”
Harline added he believes the day could be useful for men to be retrospective about themselves. “We can celebrate ourselves, but only if we are able to look at the good parts, then improve, repeat–look at the bad parts, and try to improve from those.
“Men have a lot to work on. I feel like a lot of issues that come with women’s rights are not because women are oppressed - I think it’s because men are uneducated especially when it comes to treating women appropriately.”
Not all men expressed excitement for the holiday. Moreira R Tetauira, a communications sophomore student from Tahiti, said, “I don’t think it’s that important. I am not much of a celebration guy. Even Christmas to me is like, ‘Well, it’s Christmas.’”
However, Tetauira added, “There are people that need that kinda validation because of their past experiences.”
Michelle Blimes, a special instructor at BYUH who teaches intercultural studies and student leadership development, said it should be promoted as a way to support men and women with the issues they both face. “Every year when there is a Women’s Day, you get the comment: ‘What about men’s day?’ And apparently if you look it up, well there is a Men’s Day, it’s just that Women’s Day gets more media and I’m not sure why.
“I wonder if an International Men’s Day was a response to International Women’s Day. But it seems that it’s been around for a while and that it focuses on issues around men and boys, so I guess it is important to consider issues that affect them.” According to the IMD website, the holiday was founded in 2002.
Katie Edwards, a freshman from California, said, “Everyday is a men’s day. Why should we have an International Men’s Day? They get a higher pay than us. I mean like systematically within our system they are able to get better jobs.”
She said she would like an international holiday about “[coming] out and explaining sexual harassment stuff.” She referred to the recent sexual assault allegations facing several figures in Hollywood and Congress.
Sara Shong, a freshman hospitality and tourism management major from Washington, said, “I mean, are [people] actually gonna do anything for this? Or is it just like National Pancake Day?”
When asked if the day should get more promotion, Tetauira said, “It’s not as big as [International] Women’s Day. People know more about that day. I don't know if it’s a gender thing or if it is cultural. Personally, I don’t care.”
Blimes said, “I mean perhaps Women’s Day gets more media because women are facing issues and there’s a lot of change that's been happening with the role of women, and that gets more attention.”
Harline said, “I don’t know if it should be promoted so much as a constant thing just like Christmas. You should have a Christmas spirit all around the year, not just on Christmas day or during Christmas. I feel like we should always be looking back on the good things we’ve done and the bad things we’ve done, and try to improve our personal lives.”
The holiday was founded by Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation, an Australian Harm Prevention Charity that seeks to increase "the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, committed and loving fathers."