[Every year on International Women’s Day, people ask: when’s our big day? Well, anti-sexist warriors, I hope you’re celebrating now]
By Richard Herring
‘It’s the impulse that drives your kids on Mother’s Dayto whine:
‘When will there be a Children’s Day? Though at least they have
the excuse of being children.’ Photograph: Alamy
International Women’s Day is on 8 March: 24 hours (of the 8,760 annually available) set aside to celebrate women and all of their achievements. And people get furious about it.
Surely, you might think, you could only be cross about it because that definitely isn’t enough time to celebrate the achievements of over than 50% of the population. But no.
On Twitter, at least, every 8 March thousands of men (and the occasional woman) tweet something along the lines of: “International Women’s Day? So when’s International Men’s Day?”
This churlish response is supposed to make us consider the massive inequality and sexism of there being a whole day dedicated to women, because there would never be a day like that to venerate men. It wouldn’t be allowed. Because of political correctness gone mad. You’d be laughed off the planet if you dared to suggest such a thing in this day and age. So you can see why these anti-sexist warriors are up in arms …
Except there is an International Men’s Day. It’s today. I hope that answers your question, guys.
I love the fact that the kind of cheese-helmets who feel the need to question the concept of International Women’s Day don’t even know there is already a day for men (an official one, rather than the regular days where they get more pay and power and privilege). I love it when people try to manufacture an injustice out of a position of clear superiority.
It’s all so transparently self-centred. It’s the impulse that drives your kids on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day to whine: “When will there be a Children’s Day?” Though at least the children have the excuse of being children and thus naturally self-obsessed and unable to spot that the world pretty much revolves around them already. But delightfully (and to keep this analogy spot on), there actually is an International Children’s Day. It’s on 1 June.
That won’t assuage your complaining spawn, of course. Because, like the grownups questioning International Women’s Day, they are probably asking: “When will I get someone to wait on me and bring me breakfast in bed and let me put my feet up and watch the telly? When will that happen? You know, apart from every single fucking day.” These people must be furious every day that isn’t their own birthday. “Why aren’t I getting any presents?”
So for the last two International Women’s Days I have tried to highlight this stupidity. I have got up early, logged on to Twitter and searched for the phrase “International Men’s Day”, found every single person who has tweeted the question and responded to them all individually: “It’s 19 November.”
There are thousands to get through. It goes on relentlessly, for hours and hours, but I try to get to them all because to see the same moronic question asked over and over again by people (who don’t even think just to check Google to make sure they’re not making an arse of themselves) is very funny, and shows exactly why an International Women’s Day is necessary.
Incidentally, nobody tweets me back to say “Oh thanks for the information. I was wondering when it was.” Almost like they don’t want to know the answer to their own question.
My hope is that if I can spend a day a year dealing with this issue, then that means that everyone else can get on with making International Women’s Day about celebrating women and not complaining about the supposed raw deal men get. So I let men know that they do have a day if they want to celebrate themselves. Though not many of them do when it comes along, weirdly.
Of course, on 19 November my timeline is now full of people jokingly asking me when International Women’s Day is and it seems only fair for me to promote women on men’s day, so I let them know it’s 8 March. But this year I am going to celebrate men as well, by helping to promote Target Ovarian Cancer who, for one day, want to give a shout out of gratitude to the men who support the women in their lives who are affected by this disease.
Every year 7,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 4,300 lose their lives. So this International Men’s Day, Target Ovarian Cancer are highlighting that men matter too and saying thank you to those husbands, fathers, brothers, partners and friends who have also been affected by ovarian cancer.
And I am fully expecting to have to deal with a bunch of idiots asking “when’s Ovarian Cancer Day”? Because those blinkers work really well and block out all sense of irony or shame. Well don’t worry: World Ovarian Cancer Day is 8 May.
People can find more information about ovarian cancer on the Target Ovarian Cancer website. And people can find more information on the date of International Men’s Day by browsing through my Twitter feed on 8 March.