THE EDITOR: November 19 was International Men's Day. To men of all walks of life, you are appreciated and valued. While some may argue that there is no need for such a day, I am of the firm belief you are worthy of mention.
It is deeply troubling when the challenges faced by men, such as mental health issues and high suicide rates, are plaguing our land. Dedicating a day to raising awareness about these social ills can encourage conversations about how we can better support our men in their personal journeys.
International Men's Day has significantly provided an opportunity to challenge harmful stereotypes surrounding masculinity. Traditional gender roles place unrealistic expectations on men, forcing them to conform to certain behaviours or attitudes. This can lead to feelings of isolation or inadequacy when they are unable to meet these standards.
As the much-vaunted hegemonic masculinity is defined by tenets of strength, assertiveness, dominance, stoicism and competitiveness, there is a common misconception that men should exude these characteristics without experiencing vulnerabilities. Such imprudence, esotericism and enormity bring about some concerns, and we must ensure male-specific issues are addressed and not under-represented.
Men's health should be valued as an important resource. By recognising, International Men's Day, this promotes healthier definitions of masculinity that allow for vulnerability and emotional expression.
Thankfully, International Men's Day also provides a platform to showcase role models who inspire others through their actions.
There are remarkable men in many spheres of development who have made significant contributions in various fields like culture and the arts, sports, science, politics, aviation, agriculture, music, journalism, medicine and engineering, to name a few, and it is imperative that our young men be exposed to these examples to make a difference in the world.
Similarly, if women deserve recognition for their accomplishments on Women’s Day or any other occasion throughout the year, society should not forget about recognising men’s contributions also to create a more inclusive and supportive space for all genders. Therefore, let us come together and work towards a more equitable future.
ANCILLA ASHLEY KIRBY