At the latest check on Richard Herring’s Just Giving page, clicked immediately prior to hitting publish on this post, he has raised a total of £148,209 for Refuge. Some of you may have missed this rather silly and undeniably gargantuan fundraising effort but it warrants cake and I’m here to fill you in.
Wednesday 8th March is celebrated as International Women’s Day and every year, without fail, Twitter is inundated with men asking when International Men’s Day is. How very clever and witty of these tweeters to ask this intentionally rhetorical question, tongue firmly in outraged cheek, knowing that there could never be a day set aside to celebrate the male of the species.
Enter Richard Herring, who for the last few years has dedicated his time on IWD to notifying the offended gentlemen (and some women) that there is an International Men’s Day and it is on 19th November each year. Last week, this bally hero decided to make some good come from all of this silliness and ask his followers to donate to Refuge – a charity who provide support to around 6,000 women (take this number in, six thousand; that’s six thousand women reaching out for help) who have been victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, genital mutilation, who live in fear of a partner or relative, who have been trafficked to this country to work in modern slavery, who are being stalked, who are scared.
You can click here or on any of the pictures in this post to donate to Richard Herring’s Just Giving page or to read his story in full. This is an excerpt in which Richard explains his confusion when confronted with the affronted…
“Weirdly most of them only seem to care about this on International Women’s Day and when November 19th comes along they do nothing. I think some of them think that there wouldn’t be an International Men’s Day. But there is one. It’s on November 19th.
I do this so that everyone else can get on with celebrating International Women’s Day and using it to raise awareness of the issues that affect women. And trying to achieve equality.
Just like the men who ask when International Men’s Day is could do on International Men’s Day for men, but generally don’t.
I am not denigrating the people who use IMD to raise awareness. I can’t think of anyone who does more to inform people that this day exists. On November 19th.
But if you think about it equality works both ways. So if you think men don’t get equality in some areas, then striving for equality will help them too.”
If you are one of the lucky women who sincerely believe that International Women’s Day is no longer needed in this golden age of equality, I am happy for you. Go and ask your male co-worker what he earns and just do a little comparison. If you can honestly tell me that you have never ever walked a short distance after dark with your keys held in your hand in case you needed to use them as a make-shift knuckle-duster, I will hold you aloft for your bravery. Liar.
International Women’s Day is not only a wonderful conversation starter and a spotlight to shine on areas in which women are not being treated equally but it reminds us of the inspirational women AND fantastic men that we are lucky enough to know. A man like Richard Herring is worth his weight in gold because he does not spend IWD whinging like a child who hasn’t been given a present at someone else’s birthday party. Men DO have a day. It’s on 19th November.
The ongoing quest for equality does not mean that feminists want to squash men. I am a feminist and I love men. I am even married to one. He is beyond awesome. Because I love him and my male friends, I want true equality in cancer screening to become a thing; every three years, I get called in for a smear test, which is not my favourite appointment ever but I treat it as a blessing that will catch any nasty ‘lady cancer’ early enough to treat it. In a few years, I’ll join my older sisters on the breast cancer screening programme which involves having each boob squashed in what looks to be some giant Breville sandwich maker. I’m not looking forward to that either but I’ll go.
True equality would be the introduction of a screening programme for ‘boy cancers’ too. It may be a badge of honour to have not darkened the GP’s door for years because you are a big strong man but survival rates for testicular and prostate cancers are good when caught early so, rather than leave it to you, let’s get you called in regularly. If we can cope with having our cervixes scraped out by what feels like a travel toothbrush, you can cope with a little prodding and poking and, guess what… you’ll have to fail a blood test first before anyone is sticking a finger up your bum.
Enough about bottoms and back to cake… I would like Richard Herring to get all the cake today. Not only did he thoroughly entertain so many all day on IWD with his trolling of the hard-done by boys and privileged girls, but he has raised an awful lot of money for a very good cause.
For every amazing man that you know, please spare a thought for a sister of yours who might have an asshole boss, an abusive partner, or who may not have had a safe walk back in the dark.