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International Men’s Day

Many social media users encouraged men to be expressive and talk about their mental health issues on IMD. Photos from @FredTJoseph via Twitter.

November 19 was International Men’s Day, which celebrates “the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities,” according to their website. Even more so, the day provides global discussions about men’s and boy’s health, improve gender relations and equality, highlighting positive male role models and dismantle toxic masculinity.

The total post volume was 41,000 with 98.6 percent post came from Twitter. However the top five countries posting about IMD were: U.S. (29.3 percent), Unknown (29.1 percent), U.K. (10.3 percent), Nigeria (6.9 percent) and India (4.6 percent).

The sentiment surround IMD was 76.7 percent and 23.3 percent. Even though it was IMD, those who identify as female (11,356 posts) posted more than men (9,820 posts). Unfortunately, the only options for gender were female and male. Photos from the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center Social Media Studio.

Brief History
International Men’s Day was founded in 1999 by Jerome Teelucksingh, Ph.D., who is a lecturer in The Department of History at The University of the West Indies Trinidad Tobago. In the past, IMD struggled becoming more prominent during the early 1990s because focus shifted to women’s perspectives and International Women’s Day, which there is nothing wrong with that. However with this shift, issues such as men’s mental health, illnesses, sexuality and gender amongst men were being ignored. IMD was a response to how men and boys were being labelled globally during rise of feminist movements in the 1960s. IMD’s documentary discussed facts and issues men face on daily basis such suicide. The video stated men frequently suffer in silence because there is that idea that men needed to be constantly composed and not show emotion.

For example, the video discussed how suicides have increased within the male population. As stated in a previous article in September 2019, men aged 65 and older are amongst the highest to commit suicide. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the most frequently used weapon to commit suicide are firearms.

Toxic Masculinity & Awareness

The top words associated with IMD were “silence,” “voices,” “sexuality,” “happy,” “feelings,” “gender” and “toxic.” Photo from the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center Social Media Studio.

This goes into the idea of toxic masculinity and how to dismantle it. The New York Times stated toxic masculinity involves “behaviors and beliefs that include the following: suppressing emotions or masking distress, maintaining an appearance of hardness, violence as an indicator of power (think: ‘tough-guy’ behavior).” IMD helped increased awareness of toxic masculinity by discussing the idea of what is a man and redefining masculinity in order to be more inclusive of all genders and sexualities.