Yes, our company name is Female First. Yes, we talk about women's issues, feminism and equality a heck of a lot. Much to the surprise of those who do not understand the definition of a feminist however, we don't hate all men. In fact, we have major love for a bunch of them. That's why today, on International Men's Day (November 19), we're taking a look at the importance of the event, and what it means for men across the globe.
In a recent study, Samaritans discovered that men are three times as likely to take their own lives than women in the UK. The highest suicide rate in the nation was for men aged between 45 and 49, and whilst the male suicide rate is the lowest in over three decades, it's still an epidemic.
The inability or belief that men shouldn't have to talk about their mental struggles is something that plays a huge part in these deaths. So, this International Men's Day, we're encouraging men and women alike to ask one another how they're doing. If you've not heard from a friend in a while, check on them. It may seem like the simplest of gestures, but you could be changing their life.
Some men are incredibly butch. Some are incredibly camp. You're never going to compare Vinnie Jones and David Walliams, for example. What all men have had to deal with since birth however, is the societal expectations built up around them. They should like the colour blue, enjoy playing football, and want to go down to the pub with the lads for a pint or 10 from their teenage years. If not, they're instantly judged by their peers.
Today is also about recognising that not all men should have to be the same, or fall into the construction of masculinity that has come about through decades of societal conditioning. There's a reason you're hearing so much about "toxic masculinity" as of the last few years; it's dangerous and leads to a culture of mental and physical abuse.
Aggression, a thirst for power and the need for authority are amongst the personality traits of the "toxic" male.
That's not to say masculine men are instantly the enemy, however! There are plenty of masculine men out there that you'd be proud to have as a friend. It just means that there are some who have learned vile behaviour through the culture and society they've grown up in. It's that which needs tackling. Not all masculine men as a whole.
What it takes to really be a good man
Many men take to social media confused at what those calling for their behaviour to change actually want from them. So, I'm going to do my best to point out some of the best ways any man can act in order to be a good person.
First up, any sense of entitlement when it comes to the opposite sex has to disappear. Men do not have a right to a date with any woman they choose. They do not have a right to touch any woman they'd like to touch without their permission. And they certainly do not have a right to try and shame women who reject their advances.
Over this past weekend, I came across a series of tweets and pictures taken following an exchange on Tinder that really left me feeling sick. You can check them out for yourself below, but to give you the general gist of the story, a man didn't get to go on a date with a woman, and so he tracked her down via social media and told her she had something wrong with her, and that there was no point to her being alive.
It's sickening behaviour, and one that the young men of this generation need to learn cannot happen without consequence. We're starting to see that, with important conversations bubbling to the surface and men who deserve to be outed for the pigs that they truly are being named and shamed.
So do we need a men's movement?
We do indeed. One that teaches the younger generation what is and isn't acceptable in today's society. It's not about being a "snowflake" or being "offended by everything"; it's instead about building a world that you wish you had the priviledge to live in, for our future generations.
We must also continue to tell young men that it is good to talk about their emotions and feelings. We must help bring down suicide rights amongst young men, or we risk prolonging the epidemic for the foreseeable future.
As a society, we have the chance to change the world, so let's come together and work on being that change.