On Jun. 2, General Santos City declared the month of June as Men’s Month, with every first Monday of the month as Men’s Day. It’s “in recognition of the importance of having men as partners in promoting gender equality and equity and in the implementation of gender sensitive programs, projects, and activities.”
I don’t even know where to begin.
First off, June is internationally recognized as Pride Month. While we’re not saying that you can’t have other events this month (Father’s Day is on June 16, after all), sectioning off a whole month to celebrate men when it’s already been claimed by a marginalized group is—pardon my French—all shades of shitty.
And if you’re coming here to tell me that queer people aren’t oppressed or deserve to have a whole month to ourselves—No. You can’t in good faith deny that queer people have been and continue to be discriminated against and even killed because of who we are. Just a few weeks ago, Ebeng Mayor, a trans man, was brutally raped and killed in a hate crime.
The Philippines, which is known to be the most gay-friendly country in Asia, doesn’t even have provisions that would allow us to fight against hate crimes with the SOGIE bill continuing to languish in the Senate. This means that people are, strictly speaking, still legally permitted to discriminate against us, with employers still allowed to fire us for being gay or schools can still force us into dressing up as our assigned gender no matter how much that affects our mental health. We have senators who think that people in same-sex relationships are worse than animals. We can’t even legally marry, or adopt as a couple.
So no, I won’t take that.
It’s not as if Pride doesn’t celebrate men in some way. Pride is also for cis gay men and trans men.
Secondly, why the fuck—ah, my French is acting up again—are they doing a Men’s Month and a Men’s Day? You can recognize that men need to be good allies—which is basically what it means to promote gender equality and implement gender sensitivity as a person of privilege—without having to give them a whole month. GenSan’s Men’s Month and Men’s Day even has the gall to appropriate UN Women’s “He For She” campaign with its hashtag #heforshe. UN Women’s “He For She” is a call for men to join in solidarity with women, not a celebration of men for being allies. Why applaud people for doing the bare minimum?
You might point out Women’s Month and question why it’s okay to have a month for women and not for men. But Women’s Month, like Pride Month, exists because of discrimination. It’s a celebration, yes, but one done in acknowledgment that the world is not made for them. They’re not done to pat them on the back for existing.
A Men’s Month not needing to exist is so basic that you can explain it with a “Baby Looney Tunes” episode. In season 1, episode nine, the tykes learn about Mother’s Day, and Daffy (because of course it’d be Daffy) asks Granny why there’s a Mother’s Day and not a Kid’s Day. She replies, “Why, everyday is Kid’s Day, of course!”
The reason why we don’t need a Men’s Month is because every month is a Men’s Month. Our overwhelmingly patriarchal society is—surprise, surprise—made for men. If you’re a man, especially an able-bodied straight cis man with a good economic background, you can get away with a lot of things that people who aren’t able-bodied, straight, or cis in your position won’t be able to.
GenSan’s Men’s Month and Men’s Day is insulting, and it shows a complete misunderstanding of why these observances exist in the first place.
…And that’s without mentioning that there’s already an International Men’s Day.
Featured photo by Papaioannou Kostas on Unsplash
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