DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Sunday, November 19, marks International Men's Day, a day "for men to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care while highlighting the discrimination against them," reads the official website.
Initiated on February 7, 1992, the yearly event is celebrated in more than 60 countries, with festivals, conferences, fundraisers and rallies to raise awareness of men's issues. British Prime Minister Theresa May acknowledged the event last year in an official statement: "I recognize the important issues that this event seeks to highlight, including men's health, male suicide rates and the underperformance of boys in schools; these are serious issues that must be addressed in a considered way."
This year's theme is "celebrate men and boys." Cassie Jaye, producer of The Red Pill, a documentary on the men's rights movement, is being featured in this year's celebration. Jaye left the feminist movement after her examination of men's rights activism opened her eyes to the injustice that men often face in the legal system and in society.
"For one year, I traveled North America meeting the leaders and followers of the men's rights movement," Jaye explained at a talk in October. During that time and after, her thoughts on men's rights and feminism changed.
"After years of researching and fact checking what the men's rights activists were telling me," she said, "there is no denying there are many human right's issues that uniquely or disproportionately affect men."
Jaye, who had considered herself a feminist for 10 years and had produced multiple documentaries advancing women's issues, decided to leave the feminist movement after The Red Pill. "It wasn't until I met men's rights activists that I finally started to consider the other side of the gender equality equation," she explained.
After the film was released, she faced intense backlash: "Rather than debating the merit of the issues addressed in the film, I became the target of a smear campaign, and people who had never seen the movie protested outside the theater doors chanting that it was harmful to women."
Like Jaye's documentary, International Men's Day seeks to highlight, among other things, men's suffering, often not recognized or talked about. For instance, depression has been called the "silent killer" in men because it often goes unnoticed and untreated, leading to premature death.
"Little boys from the time they're small are asked to suck it up, be brave, take the offensive, not suffer injury passively and are discouraged from discussing or complaining about pain or their feelings," said Dr. Marianne Legato in a 2014 interview on the Forward Boldly radio program. "It's not always easy for them to say, 'Well, yes I am very sad.'"
"And I think therefore that we, because of the lack of ability of men to feel legitimate about talking about feeling sad or feeling inadequate, we minimize the frequency of depression in men," she continued.
This depression will often lead to suicide, called a "silent epidemic" among men: Male suicide rates are on average four times higher than that of women. White males make up 70 percent of suicides, the highest incidence taking place among the middle-aged.
"Men notoriously don't seek help," said Julie Cerel, president of the American Association of Suicidology. "And as people are aging and at a place in their lives where the world isn't looking the way they want, men especially don't know how to reach out and get help or express that they’re feeling pain."
Men also suffer in the abortion wars, deprived of any say over what happens to their child.
"Up until now, men's views and feelings on this issue have been absolutely inadmissible," says Neil Lyndon, author of No More Sex War, "and where any man has tried to raise his voice he will have been denounced — as I have been — as an enemy of 'a woman's inalienable right to choose.'"
He explains the backlash he received from feminists after he publicly mourned the loss of two children through abortions over which he had no say: "Nineteen out of 20 of those correspondents furiously told me that, as a man, I had no right to express any opinion on abortion and I could keep my feelings of loss to myself."
In an article titled "Remembering Thomas," Phil McCombs, staff writer at the Washington Post, recounts the pain he experienced over his aborted son.
I still grieve for little Thomas. It is an ocean of grief. From somewhere in the distant past I remember the phrase from Shakespeare, the multitudinous seas, "incarnadine."
When I go up to the river on vacation this summer, he won't be going boating with me on the lovely old wooden runabout that I can't really afford to put in the water but can't bring myself to discard, either.
He won't be lying on the grass by the tent at night looking at the starry sky and saying, "What's that one called, Dad?"
Because there was no room on the Earth for Thomas.
According to Priests for Life, "Post-abortion counseling services are seeing an increasing number of men come forward, grieving their aborted children. Many of the same dynamics of post-abortion distress that we see in women are also present in men."
Men are also at a disadvantage in higher education. "Women have outnumbered men on college campuses in the US by a widening margin since the late 1970s, and the gap will continue to grow in coming years, according to some projections," The Boston Globe reports.
The Pew Research Center has tried to account for the difference, noting among other factors "the higher incidence of behavioral and school disciplinary problems among boys." But some claim such disciplinary problems are little more than boys being punished for being boys.
"Increasingly, our schools have little patience for what only a couple of decades ago would've been described as boyishness," remarks author Christina Hoff Summers in a video titled "War on Boys." "Compared with girls, boys earn lower grades, they win fewer honors, they're far less likely to go to college. Boys are languishing academically while girls are prospering. In an ever-more knowledge-based economy, this is not a recipe for a successful society."
Feminists have propagated the myth that, once men and women go on to join the work force, women suffer from lower pay for an equal amount of work, with leading politicians continuing to cite the canard that "women make 78 cents to every dollar earned by men."
"Using the statistic that women make 78 cents on the dollar as evidence of rampant discrimination has been debunked over and over again," writes Karen Agness Lips in Forbes. Quoting Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, she writes:
The official Bureau of Labor Department statistics show that the median earnings of full-time female workers is 77 percent of the median earnings of full-time male workers. But that is very different than "77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men." The latter gives the impression that a man and a woman standing next to each other doing the same job for the same number of hours get paid different salaries. That's not at all the case. "Full time" officially means 35 hours, but men work more hours than women. That's the first problem: We could be comparing men working 40 hours to women working 35.
International Men's Day seeks to raise awareness about these problems as well as highlight the positive role men play in family life, work and society. Among the ways men contribute is through a key trait of authentic manhood: sacrifice.
The ability to sacrifice your needs on behalf of others is fundamental to manhood, as is honor. Manhood rites of passage the world over recognize the importance of sacrifice in the development of Manhood.
Men make sacrifices every day in their place of work, in their role as husbands and fathers, for their families, for their friends, for their communities and for their nation. International Men's Day is an opportunity for people everywhere of goodwill to appreciate and celebrate the men in their lives and the contribution they make to society for the greater good of all.