We need International Men's Day about as much as white history month, or able body action day

I commend Philip Davies for changing the thrust of the debate to focus on male suicide  but in and of itself this day serves no useful function

I'm not in Parliament today to attend the International Men's day debate. There are a number of reasons. I thought it best to let it have its moment, without mine and Conservative MP Philip Davies' fall-out being the leading line. But more importantly I had to look after my kids and I'm not very well either. Before you all rush in, I know men have to look after their kids and get sick too. Even a big, fat, thick feminazi like me knows that.  

I want to commend Philip Davies for changing the thrust of the debate from an international men's day event to a debate about the significant and important issue of male suicide. It is a subject that deserves debate all by itself without being hitched to the idea of men's day. He showed me a courtesy in amending the title and I doff my cap (or lady bonnet) to him graciously.

I am, however, still dubious about the need for an international men's day in and of itself. For me it is up there with needing a white history month, or able body action day. Men are celebrated, elevated and awarded every day of the week on every day of the year. Being a man is its own reward. You hit the jackpot when you are born a boy child. Yes within your group things are tough for all sorts of reasons. None of them are because you are a man. You might be a poor man, a sick man, a marginalised minority ethnic man. Brother, I'm with you. I'll carry your banner, sing your song of freedom, I'll even carry your coats and make the sandwiches. 

I know society is guilty of pushing a masculine agenda on to men. This must make them feel like they must all act one way. I wish it didn't for all our sakes. Men should be able to cry publicly without shame, show weakness and expect kindness back. I agree with all of that. If that is the society we want, and I want it, let's make it happen. Men, you have the power to change it. You are the bosses of advertising companies, media agencies, film companies. Make the change. Instead of a man masterfully wielding a bat and ball on the Gillette advert, let's see a man doing normal everyday men stuff, like loading the dishwasher. Instead of the powerful protagonist in every action film, let's see Ironman and Thor grabbing a coffee and talking about how it's been really tough because Mrs Ironman is struggling to conceive. 

I want an equal society and if having a special day makes men feel like they have equality then I am fine with that. Just as long as when I come with my demands for equality you don't roll your eyes and say, “playing the gender card again.” Deal? Wonderful, well have a great International men's day from me.

Jess Phillips is Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley 

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