Should we celebrate men on International Women’s Day?

Well, of course we should! I would have thought that was the obvious considerate choice but unfortunately people feel strongly against this.

One of my absolute idols, Carrie Hope Fletcher, has spent the weekend justifying her Instagram post in which she thanked and offered appreciation and love to all of the men in her life.

Now, on any other day, I doubt the social media celebrity would have had any issues, however this was International Women’s Day weekend and people apparently had problems with her comments.

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Carrie recently starred in The Addams Family UK Tour and is releasing her third novel this year.

The British singer and writer acknowledged the achievement of women on Saturday 10th March by posting a collage of women who have supported her over the years, including her mother, sister-in-law and friends. The caption praised; “Here’s to all the women who constantly support me and lift me up to help me achieve heights I never could have imagined.”

As Carrie explained after the events via her Instagram story, the purpose of the post was to celebrate in a way that was very personal to her, as she wanted to thank and send love to all of the women in her life who have made an impact on her. This was the reason she didn’t discuss historical women or women’s rights activists.

Shortly after this photo was posted, Carrie posted again; this time praising all of her male family members and friends, linking the previous caption “…but then I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it wasn’t also for the incredible men (and boys!) in my life too.” The caption read alongside a similar collage showing Carrie’s father, brother, nephews and male friends.

This was where the trouble started as certain commentators criticised the celebration of men alongside International Women’s Day, suggesting the day should be reserved only for women and the achievement of women’s rights in order to fight against inequality.

The angry disagreements grew so intense that Carrie was forced to disable comments on both Instagram posts and has announced on Twitter that she will be taking a break from social media. She will also be attempting to interact less, stating “I get too engaged in these conversations,”

Carrie also deactivated messages on her Tumblr account and has stated she will be disabling more Instagram comments in the future, adding “I’m just bored of negativity and people tearing each other down, especially over things that have such a positive message,”

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On the day of the posts, Carrie spent sometime on her Instagram feed and Twitter account explaining the reason behind her actions, displaying real anger at the hateful messages she received.

Bravely, Carrie refused to apologise for celebrating the men in her life, stating it would not be equality if she could not discuss both the genders who have made an impact on her. She goes on to state feminism needs to work with men and women to grow and improve, and uses Emma Watson’s He For She campaign as an example of both genders acting side by side rather than acting separately and being divided.

The main message of Carrie’s post was inspired by International Women’s Day as Carrie felt the men who have influenced her throughout her life have shaped her into the strong and confident woman she is today. As stated in her Instagram post, without the men around her who have “always treated [her] with nothing but kindness and respect,” Carrie is given freedom and privilege. Additionally, women would still be unequal if it were not for the contribution and co-operation of men and male activists for feminism.

Carrie continues to support the “crazy” notion that men and women should be celebrated equally. Whilst women’s day is to praise achievements of women, we should not be banned from talking about the men who have made an impact on women. It may be hard for some feminists to believe, but men are just as important to women as women are to men.

I don’t agree with any International Women/Men day because it continues to encourage separating, dividing and alienating certain groups of people, however I completely admire Carrie’s comments and her strength and courage to speak out against the mob mentality that is feminism.

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For anyone who thinks celebrating men on International Women’s Day is completely wrong: Would celebrating all of the historical male activists who fought for women’s rights and are the reason we live in such a equal society today be wrong? As Carrie argues, she has learned respect and kindness not only from her mother but from her father too who has encouraged her to challenge herself and achieve success.

Whilst a lot of fans have reached out to agree with and support Carrie and her decisions, there are still tweets which suggest giving attention to anyone who is not an underprivileged woman this weekend is an act of evil.

@GracieSmithR on Twitter said: "You’re old enough- and have the resources to- know better. When it’s “Carrie Hope Fletcher day” we can all think about all the people who have made you who you are but for IWD let’s take our heads out of our arses and think about the women less fortunate than ourselves."

As Carrie has already acknowledged, the posts were not intended to force everyone to celebrate men, and individuals should celebrate International Women’s Day however they please. It also seems a bit silly stating Carrie has her “head in her arse” when she was originally giving appreciation and love to her friends and family.

@AmandaGetchell on Twitter said : The point of international women's day is to pay tribute to the systemic disadvantages women face. The point is to thank the female influences in your life, because they aren't given enough credit regularly, and they are automatically taken less seriously just because they are women...you can surely see why thanking 9 white middle class men, for their part in your upbringing is a little problematic."

There is a lot of arguments stating women need more representation and more attention for their achievements and yet there is no evidence to state women are under-represented in these areas or are victims to systemic laws meaning they are treated worse than men in today’s western society. I also feel stating Carrie’s male influences as purely “9 white middle class men” is just rude. I don’t feel it is anyone’s right to assume someone’s race or their social class; because how could we possibly know their background or upbringing from just one photo? What does Carrie’s male family and friend’s race and class have to do with International Women’s Day anyway?

@jazmin_leia on Twitter said: "Every time you do an Instagram story about your post it just upsets me because you are just refusing to acknowledge you might have made a mistake. Please stop hiding behind feminism, I’m a feminist and proud but this isn’t a feminist issue, it’s a you issue."

It appears some people do think Carrie has made an error in judgement and needs to apologise but these people lack consideration, compassion or any viable argument.

I hope this conversation is discussed further and more creators speak out against divisive means to separate society into groups and labels. I hope feminism is pulled back from attempting to overshadow men or cause certain groups to feel ignored or attacked.
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