Nov. 19: International Men's Day & World Toilet day; just a coincidence I'm sure!

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Nov. 19: International Men's Day & World Toilet day; just a coincidence I'm sure!

Nov. 19: International Men's Day & World Toilet day; just a coincidence I'm sure!

Brian Fernandes   ¦    Nov 19, 2019 03:12:15 PM (IST)

Nov. 19: International Men\'s Day & World Toilet day; just a coincidence I\'m sure!-1

Women will laugh all the way to the toilet today. Today is International Men's day and coincidentally, it is also celebrated as World Toilet Day. But there's no need to rush just yet. Read the whole article.

Men have been a part of Women for ages, ever since the English language found a way to spell out the difference. But Women always say they want real men! not just good men or gentlemen! So is there more than one way of being a man? That may be news to all our men out there, those that consider themselves real men and don't care about the other two avatars...

International Men's Day
International Men's Day, according to IMD's website, encourages men and women to teach the boys in their lives the values, character, and responsibilities of being a man... a real man. The theme for International Men’s Day 2019 is “Making a Difference for Men and Boys”. It focuses on the need to value men and boys and to help people who make practical improvements in the health and well-being of men and boys globally. Inaugurated on February 7, 1992, by Thomas Oaster, International Men's Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on 19 November - 8 months after International Women's Day.

IMD is celebrated in over 70 countries across the world, recognizing the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities and there are plenty of positives. There are negatives too, but then that can be said about women too; that would be politically incorrect now, wouldn't it? Incidentally, the Indian celebration of the International Men's day can be credited to a woman - Indian men's advocate and mother of two, Uma Challa. Almost single-handedly, Challa pioneered the celebration of IMD in India in 2007, not knowing where the date had actually come from, but believing in the celebration as a way to expose the shocking abuse that men suffer in the anti-male legal system, claims the IMD website. Uma Challa is the founder of a number of organizations including the famed Save the Indian Family Foundation, a non-profit based in Bangalore.

World Toilet Day
World Toilet Day, on the other hand, is a UN initiative because it is believed by modern civilization that toilets save lives - human waste spreads killer diseases. The 2019 Theme: Leaving no one behind; I would add, leaving no one's behind exposed! A toilet is not just a toilet. According to the UN, it’s a life-saver, dignity-protector, and opportunity-maker. I am bewildered by the last one as must you! Sanitation is your human right, and yet, today, according to the UN, 4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation. How can anyone lift themselves out of poverty without sanitation is a question some ask. I say you need money to sanitize your life;  therefore its the classic chicken and egg situation.

Nov. 19: International Men\'s Day & World Toilet day; just a coincidence I\'m sure!-2

Nevertheless, its objective is noble. World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which promises sanitation for all by 2030. India is at the forefront of that fight, building toilets at a ferocious pace, but most of the toilets I believe, face a drought-like situation and are therefore monuments to be worshipped on World Toilet Day. And interestingly in India, the men are real men, they don't need a toilet to live stream! So there is really no coincidence involved in that men share their best day with a toilet! And no shame, given the noble objectives of both the celebrations!

Real Men - Who are they?
How would you like to be described at your funeral? A real man, a good man or a gentleman? Most would say, that they would love to be described as a real man - a real man often believes he is physically either Adonis or Hercules or a combination, which may or may not be the fault of the mirror he has at home. He is one who has been variously described as one who takes charge, who is authoritative, takes risks, is at the forefront of fights for self-respect and causes, earns the bread the family eats, walks and talks like a man - with control and swag, and suppresses any kind of weakness like moist eyes, soft words, and admission of mistakes and apologies. That's how we men have been brought up, and it is how we will bring up our sons, for we all emulate what we see. This is perhaps our makeup, our mask. It's difficult to wear it all the time, but it is naturally ingrained in our psyche and cradles us from the womb to the tomb.

Is there a good man and / or a gentleman lurking within? A good man? Who or what is that? Often described as caring, putting other's needs before their own, honest and emotional to the point of being able to cry in public! he is one who believes in sharing the chores, including changing diapers, and cleaning utensils in the kitchen, and often defers to the forces in the family - the compromiser, the collaborator, the conflict resolver (at the cost of his own self-esteem perhaps). A good man is not, however, a doormat to be stepped on always. The tipping point between a good man and a real man, as society wants him to be is often near at hand. He can never be, for all men have some part of the 'Real Man' in them.

Nov. 19: International Men\'s Day & World Toilet day; just a coincidence I\'m sure!-3

“There is a Pentagon document,” said Dr. Kimmel - the founder and director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York system, which will soon start the first master’s degree program in “masculinities studies - “in which Lyndon B. Johnson is quoted saying he didn’t want to pull out of Vietnam because he wouldn’t be viewed as manly. “This is the president of the United States proving his masculinity.” It's happening in India too if you notice! But contrast this what Nelson Mandela said of being a man, "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear".

The dictionary describes a gentleman as a polite or formal way of referring to a man. But it also says a gentleman is a chivalrous, courteous, or honorable man. The word has much to do with how a man behaves, rather than how he thinks. How he thinks will make him a good man... or a bad man that can cause havoc in families and society and in the Indian context everywhere. Swami Vivekananda: "We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far." How well he covers up what he really thinks, is perhaps what makes him a real man, the one we revere so much and when he commits his follies, revile so much.

The loaded dice!
Today the dice are loaded in favor of the woman, by way of the law and political correctness, but she still often loses the game, either because she wrongfully grabs the dice and throws it out of turn, or because man controls how the game is played and who throws the dice. Yet, current research by the IMD throws up some interesting facts: Men have a suicide rate three times higher than women. Not surprising because one in three men are victims of domestic violence - you don't know because they suffer silently like 'Real Men'!. Naturally, men on an average die four to five years before women - but maybe that is because they cannot survive without women for long; men are nearly twice as likely to suffer from lung cancer than women, and men are nearly twice as likely to suffer from heart diseases than women. Is it because of themselves or because of the women in their lives? More research is needed.

So is it time for changing the dice - making it 2 sided rather than 6? There is a Women's Commission, is it time for a men's Commission? There are chairs in Women's studies, none in Men's. There is empathy and sympathy for women, while for men their only hope for either is by being a good 'pathy'. In custody battles, the man loses out, but there is hope yet. The Chennai Chapter of All India Men's Welfare Association (AIMWA) also submitted a memorandum to the government on International Men's Day 2014 demanding setting-up a Men's Welfare Ministry, National Commission for Men, and making all laws gender-neutral. Oh, that will be the day!

For me, a real man is best described by Rudyard Kipling in his poem "IF"
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!