That’s right—it exists—November 19 is International Men’s Day! International Men’s Day was inaugurated on February 7, 1992, by Thomas Oaster. Its objectives include focusing on men’s and boys’ health, promoting gender equality, improving gender relations, and highlighting male role models. Since its inception, International Men’s Day has been an opportunity to promote positive expressions of masculinity and celebrate all men. International Men’s Day is also an opportunity to recognize men who don’t fall into traditional manifestations of masculinity, such as gay and bisexual men, transmen, or masculine non-binary people. So this International Men’s Day, celebrate the men in your life with us, in whatever shape they come!
International Men’s Day Activities
1. Donate to a men’s charity
There are lots of charities dedicated to helping men live better lives. The Gay Men’s Health Crisis helps to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and to help those who are afflicted with HIV improve their health and independence. (Despite the name, it also provides assistance to straight men). The Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation helps to raise awareness of testicular cancer and highlight the importance of self-examination. And the ManKind Initiative is dedicated to helping men escape and recover from domestic violence and abuse.
2. Learn more about influential men—and not the ones who are well-known
Consider picking up a book or watching a movie about an exceptional man whose life and work is still making an impact on the world today. The Black American Experience tells the story of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, the second man in history (and the first black man) to perform a successful open-heart surgery. The Imitation Game is a moving and dramatic portrait of Alan Turing, the man who invented modern computing and helped end World War Two. Which influential men would you like to learn more about?
3. Check in with the men in your life
Building positive relationships with men is a lofty goal, but it does have humble beginnings. Check in with your male family members and friends, and see how they’re doing. If we’re happy at home, that’s half the battle.
Why We Love International Men’s Day
A. It’s a day to celebrate all men
The common line that “every day is International Men’s Day” may bear some truth, but the fact is, that not all men are celebrated to the same degree. When we celebrate men on any other day, we're usually celebrating presidents and athletes—people who fit the mold of a "classic man." But International Men’s Day reminds us that there are lots of different kinds of men in the world, and they all deserve a voice.
B. It’s a day for helping people
Men face a lot of pressure in society—for example, they're forced to be providers, and to refrain from asking for help or sharing their feelings. International Men’s Day is all about addressing these problems and many others.
C. It’s All About Gender Equality
Gender equality is always a worthy goal, and International Men’s Day helps us achieve it on several levels. On the pettiest of levels, its existence allows you to shut down the annoying guy in your office who asks why there isn’t an International Men’s Day every day. (We recommend gently setting him straight, baking him a cake on November 19, and watching his face morph into confusion because he has forgotten to remember his own special day.) And on the most high-toned, well-intentioned of levels, it reminds us to make a special effort to strive for gender equality and positive relations across the entire gender spectrum.