Today the United Nations declared that October 11th, would now be considered “International Day of The Girl”, bringing awareness to the fact that 1 in 4 girls world-wide will become married before the age of 14. Girls are also more likely to end up as sex trafficking slaves than boys are. Girls are also subject to genital mutilation in developing countries like Sudan, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia.
As these girls turn into women, 1 in 4 of them will end up in an abusive relationship. Being a girl/woman, in human society is rife with challenges that should never be ignored or marginalized. However, as a gender studies enthusiast, I noticed that there is no international day of the “boy”. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. According to studies, “Fathers Day” generates 1/4 of the income from sales as compared to “Mothers Day”. If Fathers are being ignored in their importance, then why not their sons too? Makes sense….
We must recognize that boys/men face unique challenges that girls/women do not. For example, According to “Child-soldier.org”, in the last 10 years, over two million child soldiers ranging from the ages of 4-15 years old, have been killed in combat. In places where child soldiers are used, more than 95% of the time, the soldiers will be boys. In fact, the military draft, including the United States, only targets men. In most countries, women are not required to sign up for conscription.
As far as genital mutilation is concerned, over 70% of newborn male babies are circumcised. A process that is not medically necessary and causes extreme pain and disfigurement to the male reproductive organs. The foreskin that is removed contains thousands of nerve-endings, once removed, many pleasure sensing nerves and self-cleaning organisms are removed in the process. After the operation is complete, the hospitals keep the foreskins and use them for other medical procedures. Essentially, they are harvesting free organs, mainly because this sort of mutilation is socially acceptable. However, when we discuss “Female Circumcisions”, then suddenly it becomes a human rights issue.
Boys who will later turn in men are subject to many shocking statistics. Men live up to 3-5 years less than women. Men are 3 times more likely to commit suicide. Twice as likely to file for Bankruptcy due to societies demands on them to be “bread-winners”, and 1 in 7 men will end up in a relationship with an abusive woman. While many governments sponsor domestic violence shelters for women, none exist for the male counter-parts.
Men who fight for legal custody of their children will only win 7% of the time, and only after spending upwards to $30K on lawyer fees. Men are often alienated from their children in family law courts. While the courts have created agencies that enforce child-support and tend to favor custody towards women, the struggles of fathers and having enforced access to their children and/or receiving financial assistance from the government is almost unheard of; hence why there is a Child Support Enforcement Agency but there is no Child Visitation Enforcement Agency. This alienation not only causes severe depression in fathers who are alienated from their sons, but also for the children being alienated. Men are almost always the targets in cases where one parent is alienating the child from the other parent because custody is rarely granted to men to begin with. Boys who grow up with fathers are much more likely to end up as criminals,sexual deviants, and/or less successful in their jobs.
Men’s contributions are also ignored in the professional field.
Men are also more likely to take on higher-paying but also higher-risk jobs such as demolitions, military, law enforcement, construction, high-rise window cleaners, public sanitation, and oil-rig operators. Jobs that come with many health-risks. While women do exist in these fields, their numbers are very low.
Girls face unique challenges, especially in sexually charged situations. Girls also face workplace discrimination because employers fear that once they become mothers, they will not devote time to their work, thus they sometimes avoid hiring them. Is this fair? Absolutely not! In no way, shape, or form am I marginalizing the struggles that girls and women face. They are real!
But, have we gotten so focused on developing the rights of girls and women that boys and men have been chopped down in the process? This is why Nalini-Global prefers the term of “Universal Human Rights” instead of women’s rights, men’s rights, immigrants rights, ect…
The bottom line is, “HUMANS” have rights! If we are only capable of fighting for the rights of those people who look and feel as we do, then we inadvertently become discriminatory ourselves. For the misogynists who claims that “women should get back in the kitchen”, and for the misandry Feminists who calm that “Men are nothing more than sperm donors to us.” , are both proponents of extremism.
Instead of having a Women’s Rights March or a “Men’s Rights March”, why not have a “Gender Equality” march that addresses the grievances of both men and women? Because there is a bias! It is easy to fight for the rights of those who look like us. But, if we truly believe in equality, we must also ask that our sisters support their brothers, and our brothers support their sisters.
Should we celebrate mothers, girls, and women in general for the contributions that they give to our society and to our homes? Absolutely!
Should we celebrate fathers, boys, and men in general for the contributions that they give to our society and to our homes? Absolutely!
I don’t want to live in a gender neutral society. There are differences between men and women. We are not biologically equal. Both sexes contain physical and mental advantages and disadvantages. Let us start by celebrating the things that make women and men unique, and start talking about the things that negatively impact women and men. We may be separate in our biology, but in our spirits, and our claim to human rights, we are absolutely equal!
So to our boys who will someday become men…
Thank you for being strong, masculine, and determined. We celebrate your masculinity and we fathers will also love and support you. We will help you become strong leaders, loyal husbands, hard workers, and diligent advocates for social change. Keep up the good work.
-Randell D Stroud
Dedicated to Eli Ross Sayson.