People are rallying against toxic masculinity on International Men’s Day

Each year on International Women’s Day, without fail, scores of men whine about having a day to call their own. Unbeknownst to some, they do have one.

International Men’s Day falls on Nov. 19, just like it does any other year.

All jokes aside, International Men’s Day actually highlights some pretty important issues dealing with mental and physical health.

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For example, the day highlights that men are three to four times more likely to die by suicide than women. They are also more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol when suffering from mental issues and not seek out therapy or psychological help.

Toxic masculinity is a leading reason for this, according to mental health charity the Samaritans.

People are using International Men’s Day as an opportunity to push back against toxic masculinity.

“Remember boys: You don’t have to be over 6ft to be attractive, or have a six-figure salary to be successful,” Twitter user @nakanodrawing wrote. “It’s okay to talk about your problems–to cry, to ask for help. Being strong is being yourself.”

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Others are urging men to indulge in some self-care.

“Today marks 45 weeks on T and it’s also #InternationalMensDay. I’ve got my first singing lesson in years and I’m gonna eat a burger and also do a face mask and then do push ups. Masculinity means whatever the fuck you want it to. Don’t be afraid of softness. Kiss a mountain,” Twitter user @Nowacking wrote.

Men who have suffered from mental health problems are sharing their stories publicly to try and encourage other men who are suffering silently to do the same.

“I’ve previously sought help for my issues. Because of that, I know I’m bipolar, ADHD, and hypermetabolic. I’ve been suicidal, and had night terrors since four. More, too,” Twitter user @InsanityIsFree wrote. “It’s #InternationalMensDay. Know it’s okay to seek help, and be open. The more are open, the more we live.”

International Men’s Day is also here to highlight men’s physical health issues. Men are much less likely to go to the doctor than women, even when experiencing the same exact symptoms, according to the Guardian. A lot of men forgo having their testicles and prostates examined due to embarrassment or lack of awareness.

“I lost my father and my brother to #cancer. According to the CDC, the most common kinds among U.S. men: skin, prostate, lung and colorectal. Know the risks, get checked, stay healthy. #InternationalMensDay,” Twitter user @TomAckermanWx wrote.

So, on this International Men’s Day–and all year round–remember that it’s OK to go to the doctor, therapist, or simply open up about your feelings to a loved one. And always, always practice self-care; a good bubble bath never hurt anyone.

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Siobhan Ball

Siobhan Ball

Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org