International Men’s Day 2019

A couple of years ago I made a list of 51 reasons why I love men. Some of the things I wrote there now seem a bit childish (although written in good faith and with positive intentions), but many of them are still true.

It’s International Men’s Day today and I want to take the time to celebrate all the men that mean something in my life. It’s a day when I want to encourage other people to be happy about themselves and to take a moment to think of all the things that make them who they are and why they are amazing. It’s also a good occasion to say „Thank you!” to the men who have supported me and who make my life nicer.

This year International Men’s Day has Positive Role Models for Boys and Men as the main theme. It got me thinking about what I’d like to see in men and what sort of behaviour I’d like them to adopt for the sake of their well-being and that of those around them.

So this one is for the most important guy in my life, my brother, for my friends who always offer me support and provide me with good conversations, for my colleagues at work whom I’m learning from every day, for my buddies in the office, who keep me entertained and make my days brighter, for the guys I don’t meet too often anymore, but who have passed through my life at one point, for the assholes who broke my heart thinking my feelings matter less than theirs, for the men that teach us and the men that lead us, for those that make our lives possible or easier in ways we don’t even know, these are my humble thoughts and feelings:

It’s ok to feel good about being a man and not accepting that other people try to blame you for things you haven’t done. I wouldn’t want anyone to tell me it’s not right for me to celebrate my femininity, either.

Please don’t feel afraid of women, because we’re not all out there to catch you red-handed and to make your life miserable. Many women don’t pretend to be fighting for equality when all they want is a new order where they command and you execute. Many of us still cherish you and hope for cooperation instead of gender fighting.

You don’t have to always „man up” or „grow a pair”, especially with your close ones. You’re already a man and you already have the pair. When you’re with your dear ones, it’s ok to just be yourself and if someone cannot accept that a guy might also have fears or worries, get them out of your life and move on.

If you think it’s your responsibility to make sure the family is provided for, it’s not. If you think it’s your responsibility to make the relationship work, it’s not. If you think you’re always supposed to make everything work, it’s not. Most of the time it’s someone else’s responsibility, too. You’re only entirely responsible for what you alone can control, for your actions and your words. Don’t put more pressure on yourself than is necessary.

Please understand that other people’s feelings matter, too. More than your ego. Don’t think only about what you want here and now, think about what it’ll feel like afterwards for someone else. You can make the difference between the two. You’re an adult, not a child.

If you have a child and you’re spending time creating memories for him or her, you’re awesome. This, teaching them how to trust themselves and make the right decisions are the best things you could give your kid. And love. Lots and lots of fatherly love.

You are not simple creatures and I do not understand what you want. I am certainly not a mind reader, so please try to articulate your needs and feelings.

If you’ve hurt me and you know this is of your doing, have the courage to apologize and try to explain why it didn’t work. Don’t hope my pain and frustration will go away, don’t try to make me sound like a crazy bitch. You certainly didn’t think that when you first started flirting with me, so what has changed in the meantime?

And lastly, but not least, you’re awesome in ways that I cannot be awesome. I am awesome in my own way. Let’s not fight against each other, let’s work with each other and try to make our worlds awesome!


International Men’s Day

Do you know what special day is today? Today is International Men’s Day and if you are one of the people wondering if we really need an International Men’s Day the answer is “YES”.

Celebrating IMD means celebrating half of the globe’s population and it certainly does not reinforce white straight male privilege, neither does it diminish the importance of women’s issues to talk about the problems men all over the world are facing in 2016.

Celebrating IMD means becoming aware of men’s health issues, or remembering that not all men are having it all that easy, appreciating the positive role a male has had in your life or simply encouraging men to stay true to themselves, to lean a bit more towards their inner selves and to even express openly their joy or their anxiety.

A truly open-minded feminist could never question the importance of celebrating this day, because being a feminist does not mean one has to try and prove one gender is superior to the other, but that one should strive for equal rights for both men and women. Society does not get better and our lives do not get easier if we try to push everyone into a strict role with clearly-defined possibilities and duties. Life gets easier when men and women are encouraged to collaborate, to understand their differences and celebrate them as what makes them unique, to try and complete each other. Do we, as women, want to get what is good for us and what would be rightfully ours as well or do we want to become the next oppressors? Do we want loving and respectful men around us or do we want rivals and so-called partners who look at us in suspicion and lack of trust? Do we want our boys to put a strong, impenetrable front just to be weak and frightened on the inside?

Striving to offer women and girls a better life, better opportunities to fulfill themselves sometimes tends to put men and boys in a corner and treating them like they have it all, like there are no more problems of theirs to be solved, like they have all the privileges. And IMD is here to remind us of the higher male suicide rates, of the fact that they too can be victims of violence or sexual harassment, that they too can feel uncomfortable in their skin because of a certain physical image associated with male success, of the fact that they too can feel alienated because they are not encouraged to openly discuss their fears, their anxieties, their mental health issues.

Even if asked about this international awareness day and its importance, a lot of men might try to laugh it off, to joke about it and say they don’t really need this, as if trying to discharge themselves of such a silly pretention. Men don’t moan about their problems, men suck it up and are men about it. I actually asked myself how many men that I know have admitted to being depressed and of all guys I have ever talked to I can remember only one who told me that. So of all the men I have met, only one had serious issues.

Under these circumstances International Men’s Day seems like a good opportunity to appreciate men for their contribution to society, to celebrate them in their diversity, to try and challenge the stereotypes they are confronted with, to thank those men who made our lives better and to encourage them to stay true to themselves and not follow the false models the media might offer.

A big and special thanks to the most important man in my life, Bogdan, to Ani, Steve, Mircea, Gabriel, Jean-Pierre, my professors at uni and my colleagues at work, and all the other men who have taught me great things. Thank you!