Thursday, 21 November 2013
Men, semen and toilets
This could all slip under the radar as hardly any one took note or made noise or even cared because men are involved. When men are in the mix, hardly anyone gives a shit. This is why we should pay more attention to November 19.
Since 1999, it has been marked as International Men’s Day. Initially inaugurated in Trinidad and Tobago, it is now celebrated in about 60 countries including our neighbours, Tanzania, and not-so-far-away Burundi. The official mumbo jumbo is that it is to “focus on men's and boy's health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.”
Then, more clearly, it adds…“It is an occasion for men to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care while highlighting the discrimination against them.” In all, what caught my eye are these words—contribution and achievement. I will explain later.
International Men’s Day also falls on the same date as World Toilet Day. The latter is much bigger and, though started in 2001 by World Toilet Organisation, it has received UN recognition this year. The aim is to highlight sanitation as a development priority.
Besides the seriousness of these two “days” marked on the same day, on the flip side, this coincidence was bound to attract double entendre, puns and sarcasm. So, you can imagine my reaction when a female colleague remarked, “Men are toilets, anyway, they are full of crap” when this came into the conversation.
No, I was not angry about that remark like these feminists are wont to do at real or imagined sexism. In fact, I felt it was the most sexist compliment I have heard and did not even attempt to argue with her. I had cause to smile as the first UN recognised World Toilet Day was focused on women and girls.
Consider this: “Every hour, 70 women and girls will needlessly die from diseases directly linked to a lack of an adequate toilet and safe drinking water.” So, toilets are equally important to women just like men are, if men are toilets anyway. They are full of crap because everyone needs somewhere to put theirs.
But one billion people around the world do not have toilets and are at risk of disease and death. Similarly, there are women without men, which is not good for their mental health. It is men also produce semen, which ends up in women through ejaculation or disposed of, in a toilet, may be—if a condom was used.
A study by State University of New York found that women who had regular “unprotected” monogamous sex are less depressed and worked better because semen contains mood-altering chemicals. Along with spermatozoa, there is cortisol, known to increase affection, estrone and oxytocin, which elevate mood, and at least three anti-depressants
Therefore, to celebrate our contributions and achievements, just like semen and toilets, men are very important to not only women but to the whole of society.