Thursday, 19 November 2015

26 Ways to Celebrate International Men's Day

Today is International Men’s day and, I have to confess, I’m scheduling this post in advance. Partly because I’ll be working on academic writing today, but also because I sometimes write vaguely feminist things on the internet. Because I was involved in an open letter to my university. And, because of these two things, I’m expecting a backlash. 

To be fair, I have no means of knowing that I’ll be harassed today. But I’ve been on social media for long enough to know that International Men’s Day is only second to International Women’s Day for producing a huge, misogynistic, anti-feminist backlash. 

I could use this post to outline how frustrated I am by the way International Men’s Day is promoted and how it's appropriated by misogynists.  About which men it speaks for. About the men it leaves out. About the way it fails to distinguish individual disadvantage (something that happens to a man) and structural advantage (the power held by men as a group). And about the way that it does very little to concretely benefit actual people. 

But I won’t. Most likely, these sorts of articles will be published today. More to the point, both this article and (as ever) Rachel Moss’ post make the case more eloquently than I can. So instead, here is a list. If you’re reading this, and you really want to make men's lives better, here are 26 ways that you can actually ‘celebrate’ International Men’s Day by making a difference in someone’s life. 

This list isn’t complete – these are just the organisations (and issues) that I know of, and those that work in the UK. If there are any organisations or charities you think you should be added, or men who I've overlooked, let me know.


If you're concerned about the prevalence of suicide/mental health issues in men:
1)  Donate to [or volunteer for] the Samaritans
2) Help the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) by volunteering, and get more events running across the country
3) Volunteer for Nightline (if you're a university student)
4)  Write to your MP to ask what they are doing to support men
If you want to help homeless men:
5) Volunteer [or fundraise] for your homeless shelter
6) Donate to Shelter
7) Donate to the Salvation Army.
If you care about men who are victims of domestic violence:
10) Write to your MP to ask about the provision in your area, and lobby for better provision.
11) Donate to, or volunteer for Broken Rainbows
If you want to support gay and/or trans men:
12) Donate to Broken Rainbows, a domestic violence support service for LGBT men
13) Donate to Mermaids, which supports young people with gender dysphoria
14) Support Stonewall
If you care about the well-being of ex-service staff (who are disproportionately more likely to be men)
15) Support Help for Heroes
16) Support Blesma to rehabilitate veterans
17) Donate to Combat Stress to support ex-servicemen's menatal health
If you care about the well-being of asylum seekers (who make up 3 out of 4 applications for UK asylum)
18) Support Refugee Action through giving, campaigning, or fundraising
19) Support Asylum Aid to provide legal representation for asylum seekers.
20) Support the Red Cross' work with asylum seekers (donate, volunteer, fundraise)
If you care about the educational attainment of boys:*
21) Fundraise for the National Literacy Trust
22)  If you're eligible, apply to be a school governor
23) Get involved in Widening Participation initiatives [if you're a university student]
 If you care about prisoners (who are disproportionately men)
24) Support PACT, which offers support and advice to prisoners and their families
25) Volunteer to befriend a prisoner
26) Volunteer with the Prisoner's Education Trust
* Although there is still a lot of discussion about what factors influence differences in boys' and girls' educational attainment, but I don't think it's ever a bad thing to improve education. (Source)

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