This coming Saturday, Nov. 19, more than half of the world’s countries will celebrate men. Some will throw parties, others have even given males the day off from work in recognition of something known as International Men’s Day.
The overwhelming sentiment these days—to the extent of my experience—is an emphasis on women and their endless struggle to gain equal footing with men; in the workplace, in freedom, in life. Yet, with equal footing comes similar instability. While possessing a Y-chromosome may give you a leg-up in the working world—some would argue the world in general—it is also irrefutably tied to a multitude of unsavory statistics and situations that are seldom recognized.
It turns out men are number one in more than just privilege.
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, U.S. Census (Crime, Education), National Center for Education Statistics, or any credible source of population analysis, nearly every male privilege gained has a counterbalancing pitfall.
Accounting for 92 percent of workplace fatalities men also set the bar for most suicides and more prone to mental illness. The largest perpetrators and victims of crime happen to be men—encompassing everything from murder to online harassment. The staggering difference that can be seen when these same rates are juxtaposed with those experienced by women can make one wonder why we are so passive in their perpetuation.
A seven-year study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that men are twice as likely to be victims of serious violent crime in college than women, despite only comprising 44 percent of degree earning adults as of 2012—an ever shrinking percentage.
Simply looking beyond common narratives is quite simple and enriching for your opinion. As such, I encourage you to look into custody-assignment, combat deaths, sentencing/incarceration, domestic abuse and sexual misconduct rates/ resources, inclination to cancer, and whatever else comes to the surface.
Unfortunately, a celebration of everything wrong with being born as a man is a discussion that—given current stigmas and social climates—feels like a risk to bring up even on International Men’s Day. If you think I am sexist or misguided for even presenting these facts, I implore you to dissect why you feel that way, send me an email, I am more than happy to have a rational discussion.
With so many terrible happenings in the world, valuing the bigger (bad with the good) picture will invariably lead to more change for the better. This is to say—we can all solve the problems we individually and systemically face by exhaustively bringing all the problems to light. None of this is to say that women and others face no adversity in fact, quite the opposite. I submit that we all face real, scary problems—just different ones. This Saturday, I urge you to look beyond the “privilege” of manhood and delve into what comes with the package.
Regardless, we can only play with what we are dealt in this world; hate me, love me, bake me a cake, I want you to do it because I am me not because I am a man.
-Chris Salsbury, Copy Chief