Today is International Men’s Day. It’s purpose is to highlight men’s health issues and it is hard to argue against taking a special day to say this when you look at male causes of death and find suicide is the leading cause in some age groups.
The differences between men and women has always been a fruitful subject for comedy, drama and pop psychology. For a writer, this is a gift of a subject to feature in books as there are so many examples. A further topic for earnest debate is whether these differences are genetic or brought on by social conditioning. Campaigns like Let Toys be Toys have sprung up to remove these differences in books and toys. Their theory is that the gap in the number of female engineers starts when little girls are handed a doll rather than a construction set.
There is also increasing awareness that gender is not a binary question. Unfortunately, this is an area where debate tends to get irrational fairly quickly and courts are being asked to make decisions in the most personal areas of people’s lives. It’s worth pointing out that the exhibition of David Bowie’s gender-defying costumes was the most popular show ever at the V&A Museum while in October, a four year-old boy was told by a delivery driver he shouldn’t wear a sparkly fairy costume because he should be a superhero.
How to resolve this? Simple – treat everyone with respect and dignity. Giving people space to make choices may not mean the best choices but it means they have a better chance to live happy, fulfilled lives…