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18 May, 2010

IS INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY A DANGEROUS MOVEMENT?: DR. JEROME TEELUCKSINGH




Why would individuals feel IMD is a danger to themselves and others? Why would individuals consider this Day to be irrelevant and useless? It is obvious that persons who are against International Men’s Day would not appreciate positive role models, saving the environment or the true meaning of equality, freedom and justice. Why would anyone fear some or all of the 6 Objectives of IMD?

People have been trying to understand the manner in which one Day can influence their lives. The following illustration would be helpful. We all have a birthday. This is the day which is celebrated in different ways and many of us are thankful for life and the day we were born. After our birthday, we continue living. We do not die for one year and suddenly come to life on our birthdays. Every day is a celebration of life and our birth. Similarly, International Men’s Day is not for persons to temporarily transform our lives and change our interaction and thinking for one day and then continue in their old ways until the next IMD.


Could one day in the year become part of a movement? Yes it could. The annual observance of World Environment Day is part of the powerful environmental movement. Similarly, International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day are crucial for the Women’s Movement.

Some supporters of IMD believe that the Day not only contributes to the men’s movement but also plays an important role in the larger peace movement. The contribution of IMD depends on the ambitions and goals of the coordinators, supporters and participants. Those observing and celebrating IMD determine its current direction and future impact. IMD is not concerned with quickly spreading like wildfire to all countries but more interested in helping others and maintaining that spark of optimism among humanity.


Some students from my European History class asked me if International Men’s Day is an ideology or economic system which promises a new society. These students asked if IMD was proposing a system similar to Socialism, Marxism, Communism and Fascism. My reply was that IMD cannot be limited to an ideology, economic system or forced upon people. Instead, persons have the freedom to accept or reject IMD. If IMD is restricted to a theory or an ideology then it becomes like a caged eagle which has limited movements. Only when that eagle is freed can it soar in the sky and people will appreciate the grace and beauty of the majestic bird.



Remember, that IMD does not have prophets, ideologues and demagogues who spend hours debating and dreaming of a new society. Instead, IMD is simply about finding practical solutions to everyday problems. Yes, IMD is concerned with gradually mending the fabric of a torn society. If you lose a button from your shirt, the easiest option would be to find another button and sew it on your shirt. It is highly unlikely that a lost button means you have to make or buy a brand new shirt.



For some persons, the danger of IMD is that threatens to uproot the inequalities and alienation plaguing our society. Those who abuse the environment will see International Men’s Day as a danger to their interests. For a few, the danger of IMD is that it promises to shake foundations of stigmatization and discrimination. Some people believe the danger of IMD is that it is the medicine which would comfort the marginalized.

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