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It's International Men's Day, so let's give men a break

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11236100/Its-International-Mens-Day-so-lets-give-men-a-break.html

To mark International Men's Day, Glen Poole says it's time to acknowledge that not all men feel powerful and privileged, nor are they all woman-haters or street-harrassers

Men are everywhere. We’re the politicians, the church leaders, the business owners and the sports stars.

Pick up a paper and the media’s full of us, we’re the murderers, the rapists, the scandal makers and the crooks.

Tune into a random radio phone-in and you’ll soon find out what we think about football or politics.

You’ll see us in the cinema; we’re the goodies and the baddies in almost every major film – the protectors and the perpetrators, the cowards and the clowns.

So why do we need an International Men’s Day? Are 364 days of patriarchal power and privilege not enough for us?

Well, we may always have a point of view about the world outside – and we may still occupy most of the senior positions in the outside world – but what’s happening inside men?

Twelve of us men will kill ourselves today, in the UK alone, and for each man who dies there will probably be an external factor we can point to, such as a divorce, drug addiction, debt or unemployment.

But what’s happening inside the dozens of men who die from suicide each week, when the internal pain of living another day becomes greater than the fear of killing yourself?

And what’s happening inside the rest of us men, those of us who aren’t suicidal but still face challenges in life: the overweight, the unemployed, the lonely and the sick? The fathers struggling to connect with their kids, the partners in unhappy or abusive relationships, the stressed-out workers with not enough life in their work-life balance and the low-paid and unemployed men who face the emasculating shame of being a man who can’t provide?

On the surface men have it all – the jobs, the money, the cars, the clothes, the power, the authority and the free time to play golf, watch football and laugh at Jeremy Clarkson. On the outside men are always acting out – drinking to excess, harassing women in the streets, grooming kids for sex and keeping the police and prison service busy.

But what’s happening inside men?

From the day we are born, we are fed a story that there are only two types of men in the world. Men are either heroes or villains, we’re either strong or weak and there is no shade or colour between the black or white choice of being a good man or a bad man.

What’s it like for men, living within these narrow confines, between a heroic rock and a villainous hard place?

Take the daily onslaught of social media campaigns repeatedly telling the world how awful men are to women. How is the average man expected to respond?

We have two choices – pick a box – hero or villain.

Either we step into the protector role, like a good little man and speak out against the bad men ruining the world for our womenfolk – or we’re a villain.

Men’s expected role in the gender war – as in every other war – is to choose a side; goodies or baddies. You either wear the “this is what a feminist looks like t-shirt” or you’re a woman-hater; you either fight against the Germans or you’re a traitor; you either support Emma Watson’s #HeForShe campaign or you’re a misogynist or a rape apologist.

What’s it like for men to have such limited choices – and if men have all the power, why don’t we just give ourselves more choice?

The challenge we face as men, is that these rigid masculine roles have been locked in place by a silent conspiracy between the socially conservative and progressively liberal.

The sexist rallying cry of traditionalists has long been “women and children first”; for the liberal feminists, their sexist motto is “women and girls first”. Can you see who’s missing from both of those slogans? It’s the invisible gender in both his forms – the good man and bad man.

Who puts women and children first? It’s the good man. Who do women and girls need protecting from? It’s the bad man.

When William Hague was still Foreign Secretary, he made an official announcement that “all men” should feel shame about war crimes against women – and to fail to do so was “unmanly”.

That’s right male citizens – you’re either a good man feeling shame or bad “unmanly” man – pick a box.

So what’s happening inside of the nation’s men when we are repeatedly called upon to pick a box? Goodie or Baddie? Hero or Villain? Perpetrator or Protector?

The truth is, most of us are neither good nor bad. Most men are somewhere in the middle of the statistical bell curve that defines the male population.

Most men are not murderers, rapists, wife beaters or street harassers. Most men are not politicians, church leaders, business owners and sports starts. Most of us don’t feel powerful and privileged. Twelve of us will kill ourselves today. More of us will kill ourselves slowly with alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, poor diets, too much work and a lack of self-care.

What’s happening to men on the inside?

Do men spend so much time focussed on what’s on the outside – our job, our home, our bank balance, our football team, our political views – so we don’t have to stop and listen to the constant internal pressure to prove ourselves to be a “good man” in the eyes of whoever it is we seek approval from today?

What would life be like if we didn’t have to constantly prove our masculinity?

Statistically, most of us are fairly average. There’s no shame in that. So what if we accepted that most men are already good enough?

We keep the country running; we generate wealth; we provide for your families; we take care of our kids; we contribute to our local communities and we make our friends' lives a little richer. Isn’t that good enough?

Today is International Men’s Day, let’s make it the one day in the year when we give us average men a break!

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Today is International Men’s Day, let’s make it the one day in the year when we give us average men a break!

Thank god. I need it. I am hoping it turns into Mens Month.

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I don't need a break.

Breaks are for losers.

Really I am happy for you..

Thank god. I need it. I am hoping it turns into Mens Month.

I liked Steak and BJ day much better

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What would life be like if we didn’t have to constantly prove our masculinity?

Man….this would be like heaven.

Seems like everyday I have to bully someone around or threaten them somehow. Makes me sooooooo tired at the end of the day. Then after all that I get home and have to listen to my wife for 10 minutes. Where is the mute button when I need it?

One day just isn't enough!

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Take the daily onslaught of social media campaigns repeatedly telling the world how awful men are to women.

You know what's so ironic about this?

In the countries where women are the class of privilege, militant feminism (man hating) is rampant.

In countries where they are actually treated poorly, not a peep out of them. The cure for feminism is to ship them to the Islamic State. Then they can talk about how bad it was when they were here and could bad mouth men incessantly.

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BJ day is ok, but if that's the best you can do then you haven't made the gentlemen's club.

The gentleman has his mistress, a wife that keeps her in line, a good dog, and needs no day off.

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To the Gentleman, International Men's Day means one Filipina, another Filipina, one Latina, one Eastern European and one American. The American is the most important of all. She has to watch. For her, it is a re-education camp.

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