International Men's Day
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'Kansas Stream' 1993-94

International Men's Day was again observed successfully in Kansas 2003 with numbers attending approximately 40 (media version) or 80 persons (attendees version). Here are a few items related to the 2003 event:


The Kansas City Star
Page: C2

Around Kansas City

KC CONFERENCE Issues facing men to be focus An International Men's Day Celebration is today through Saturday at the Westin Crown Center hotel. Conference topics will range from men's health and men in literature to "divorce realities" for men and harassment of men on television. "These are community issues that some people call men's issues," said Tom Oaster, conference coordinator and sponsor. "A lot of it is just educating people. " Oaster is director and founder of the Missouri Center for Men's Studies and an associate professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The keynote address, "The Silent Tragedy of Men's Health," will be given at 9 a.m. Friday by author Ian R.G.T. Wilson.

LANDFILL HEARINGS Testimony to resume today Hearings are to resume today on a proposed landfill east of Holt in Clay County. Questions remain over potential risks to ground water and whether East Coast trash would be banned.

After several days of testimony last week, Clay County Planning and Zoning Commissioner Gene Knisley admonished City Management Corp. for not providing enough financial information.

An attorney for the Detroit-based landfill company said it would furnish any financial information the commission wanted. City Management wants a permit to build a 300-acre landfill within a 660-acre environmental complex at Northeast 196th Street and Cameron Road.

Knisley also pressed City Management officials for guarantees they would not accept out-of-state trash.


T-shirt made for the 1993 IMD. This image kindly donated by Richard Doyle an attendee at the Kansas event.


Kansas City Star

The Kansas City Star

February 6, 1993


Finally, men get their day


Tom Oaster got the idea for an International Men's Day when he and some others were sitting around after a men's group meeting, nursing male grievances.

Prominent was the feeling that men are unappreciated. We ought to go on strike, someone said. Then maybe people would take notice of the work men do.

Oaster softened the strike concept to a men's day off.

Eventually he dropped that word, but the idea germinated. It came to fruition with the Men's Day celebration that began Friday at the Westin Crown Center hotel.

An associate professor at UMKC, Oaster was first attracted to the men's movement by an intellectual interest. But he soon felt persecuted for his association with a subject that's politically incorrect.

"I got beat up, slammed," he said. "People said, `What - do you hate women? ' The more I got beat up, the more I got drawn in. My Teutonic background took over. " Oaster dug in. He becam! e a male advocate with polemical, provocative views.

Men and women have been involved in a warlike "dance" since the beginning of time, he said. He concedes that women have legitimate grievances. But men are "bleeding in their boots, too. " Oaster turns the idea of "male domination" on its head.

"I personally believe we live in a world where the dangerous jobs are foisted upon men," he said. "Women aren't really trying to dig down to the mud floor jobs. My experience is that they won't change the tire, even if your back is hurt. They will not go downstairs and check to see what's going on. " Men change the tires and then get called "bums" because they don't get all the grease off their fingers in time for supper, he said.

Some statistics suggest that men aren't significantly more violent than women in domestic situations, according to Oaster. He gets his worst beatings when he tries to point out that there are two sides to these is! sues, he said.

"Guys are changing," he said. "They're ! learning to sit down in groups and talk about what it means to be a man and a father. What some men were getting from the Elks, the Eagles and all that kind of jazz isn't happening any more. " In contrast to the women's movement, which he sees as outwardly directed to the world of affairs, men need to journey inward and get in touch with themselves.

But there also are "tons of problems involved with the lack of a clearly defined and appropriately reinforced male role in society," Oaster said.

Pieces of the men's movement pie include father's rights, men's rights, recovery and personal growth groups, mythopoetic activities. The International Men's Day Celebration offers lectures and discussions about men's health, male myths, men in literature and subjects like man bashing.

"You don't get points in men's groups for flexing your ego," Oaster said. "But I'd like it to be known that Kansas City has become the hometown of International Men's Day becau! se a hometown boy got that thing rolling. " The event was thinly attended, perhaps suggesting that large numbers of men were embarrassed to show up or that men's problems aren't so great.

Women who change diapers and get beat up during the Super Bowl may find some of Oaster's arguments unpersuasive. My wife, who was at her ironing board, was less than dazzled when I put my own masculine stature to the test.

"Unless someone starts showing me some respect around here, I'm walking out," I announced. She gestured at the trash.

"Take that out with you when you go. "

Copyright 1993, 1996 The Kansas City Star Co.
Record Number: 145112


The Kansas City Star
Page: C3

Men have their say at weekend forum `We want the bashing to stop,' speakers say, insisting masculinity deserves equal respect.

The men's movement swept into Kansas City on Friday, invading the Westin Crown Center hotel like a small, self-actualized army. About 40 men (and a few women) from as far away as England and Australia attended the event, titled - take a breath - the First International Men's and Gender Conference, Education Forum and Culture Exchange and International Men's Day Celebration.

They came to listen, learn, talk, share, grow, whine, dine and bond. They paid $95 to hear speakers beat the drums on topics ranging from the "silent tragedy of men's health" to "man bashing. " Why?

Ask Tom Oaster, University of Missouri-Kansas City associate professor of education and coordinator of the conference, which concludes Sunday. "Because we want a serious response to what men are saying," Oaster said. "We want the bashing to stop. It's not a request. It's a statement. We want it to stop! To give you an example, a woman walked through here and saw the material and said, `You've got to be kidding. You're not seriously going to have a men's day, are you? ' " No joke. These guys were serious.

Move over feminism. Here comes "masculism. " Want to talk about "Iron John" and getting in touch with your inner feelings about your own masculinity by beating drums in the wilderness? Right this way to Edward R. Barton, adjunct curator of the Changing Men Collection at Michigan State University. Want to talk about the trials of divorced fathers in American courts? Over here to Bennett Stark of Madison, Wis. Concerned about the declining state of men's health? Give a listen to Ian Wilson, Australian chronicler of such statistics. (Men die much earlier from heart attacks than women, and researchers spend eight times as much on breast cancer as they do on prostate cancer.) Roy Schenk, a member of the National Coalition of Free Men from Madison, Wis., wanted to talk about the different ways society treats boys and girls. "Girls are sugar and spice and everything nice. So what are boys? They're all the un-nice gunky stuff! " Schenk said.

Organizers had hoped for 200 persons at the conference. In the end, it drew precious few not involved in the men's movement already. Count Bobby Turner, a Cincinnati electrical contractor, among those who wanted no part of the conference. "It's not that I don't care about all that men stuff," he said as he walked past the registration table. "It's just that, all in all, I'd rather be bowling. "


The Kansas City Star
Section: STYLE
Page: E1

Men, not monsters Conference participants discuss ways to reverse a 'demonizing' trend

Ed Barton has heard it all before - the cracks, the jokes, the snickers and snide remarks: "Hey, Ed, where's your drum? " "Hey, Ed, found your inner wild man yet? " Jest if you must. The Michigan State University professor says the men's movement, with its drum beating and "mythopoetic" symbolism, has helped him find "inner peace. " Barton was one of 40 men and women who attended an international men's and gender conference in Kansas City over the weekend. Some came from as far as England and France. Why did they come?

For some it was a way to connect with soul mates who shared their belief that men are "devalued" and wrongly demonized. For others it was part of a journey to better understand themselves or the opposite sex. For Barton it was another chance to heal his wounds with friends who he knew would understand his pain.

Barton became involved with the men's movement after a difficult separation from his wife. "It left me feeling lost, depressed and alone," he said. "And that led me to start searching for some answers. I didn't know what I was searching for. All I knew was I needed help. These groups gave me an opportunity to share my pains in a group of men who would not be judgmental and condemning in my need to share or ask for support. " The men's movement - at least the branch of it he embraces - is totally misunderstood, Barton said. "People make fun of it. That's because most men don't want to ask for support. It's just not macho. A macho man grins and bears it - then he gets a gun and goes out and shoots someone.

"My involvement is what is called `mythopoetic,' represented by the popular books Iron John by Robert Bly and Fire in the Belly by Sam Keen," he said. "It's more of an introspective search into ourselves to find our true identities - what it means to be a man. " Those books, especially Iron John: A Book About Men, lit the fuse on an explosive movement devoted to men and their feelings. In it Bly combined lessons of mythology with discussions of the "wild man. " Bly has conducted "wild man' retreats in the woods for more than 10 years. Barton found those retreats helpful. "There's something about that drumming, that percussion that gets a man in touch with his emotional core so he can let down some of that armor," Barton said.

But the men's movement of Bly and Barton was only one component of the diverse conference, which was conceived and organized by Tom Oaster, a University of Missouri-Kansas City associate professor of education. Oaster organized the men's conference to coincide with an International Men's Day celebration. A woman who ridiculed the very idea of a men's conference is reason why one is needed, Oaster said. "We want the bashing to stop," he said. "We're tired of it. It's not a request. It's a statement. " Ian Wilson, an Australian astronomer now working in Baltimore with the Hubble Space Telescope, came to the conference to speak about the silent tragedy in men's health. During his talk he presented charts showing that the death rate of men (dying prematurely) was dramatically higher than that of women, and that, furthermore, the statistics were getting worse. People usually pooh-pooh such statistics, believing men have been privileged.

"My grandfather died of war wounds," Wilson said. "My father spent most of his life in the Army and Navy and Air Force, my uncle died prematurely as a prisoner of war, my other uncle was crushed to death in an industrial accident, and another uncle dropped dead of a heart attack at 40. I look at the male side of my family and I see devastation. And yet society tells me these men were privileged. Well, how were they privileged? All the female relatives are still alive. And I don't think my story is all that unusual. " Wilson said the men's movement is in its infancy and will soon take root as the woman's movement did decades ago.

"Most men know they are hurting badly," Wilson said. "And they know that (contrary to popular belief) that society devalues them in a number of ways. It puts unbelievable pressure on them, it expects them to succeed and to define themselves in terms of their job. It excludes them from bonding to their children and leads to such inner tension that it has gotten to crisis proportions. "Men got their status in society by being providers and protectors, but now they are living at the end of a century where at least 200 million men have been killed in wars - the point being that their role as protector has been devastating. And now their role as provider is being destroyed because half of all marriages end in divorce and more than 95 percent of the children end up in the custody of women. We don't deny that women, too, are hurting in this society. You'd have to be a blithering idiot not to see that. All we're asking is men and women each understand that each of our genders is hurting, just in different ways. " In fact, he said, men today are being demonized as monsters.

Why? Blame the stereotypical gender roles that we place on children from birth. Wilson cited a California study of 450 men and women. Participants were asked to watch a film of a one-year-old child throwing a tantrum. "Most of the men and women interpreted the emotion as anger when told it was a boy and as fear when told it was a girl," Wilson said. "When they told them it was a boy, they were actually showing them a girl, and (vice versa). " To Wilson, a member of the National Coalition of Free Men, a "masculist" organization, it demonstrates society's inclination to treat women automatically as victims and men as victimizers.

Further testament to the diversity of the conference came from the presence of Peter Bresnick of Madison, Wis. Bresnick, publisher of Changing Men magazine, is a "pro-feminist. " A pro-feminist is a man who is "committed to ending sexism, violence and creating a new vision for masculinity." "There is a strain of anti-feminism here," Bresnick said. "It's an anger at women and to some extent a blaming of women, which I chose not to engage in. "

Why did he come? "I think we're all here to understand how men are going to help each other out of this," he said. "The key to all of this is men's isolation from other men. You see that in discussions of the importance of a father in the family, which is something we all agree on. "

CAPTION: Tom Oaster, organizer of the international men's and gender conference in Kansas City last weekend, addresses a session.

Men from as far away as Europe attended the conference.

                      IMD - 1994

International Men's Day 1994 was referred to as the second annual IMD, which saw independent observations in USA, France (possibly), Canada, Australia, and Malta:

Oaster's IMD push reached Britain, where it was mentioned in MALE VIEW magazine, and in
The Guardian-Bulletin.

The following is an account of the 1994 Kansas event by an attending representative of the Australian Indigenous community named 'Macca':

International Men's Day in Australia was organised by Graham North in Sydney:

Both articles below mention a Canadian IMD held on February 12. which date aligns with Oaster's February 7-12 observation. The small Canadian gesture was likely influenced by the Kansas IMD movement.

                      IMD - 1995

After the success of his first two International Men's day events Oaster tells that he became increasingly persecuted by women's groups at his university because, he stated,  they disliked his involvment in IMD and men's issues generally. As a result Oaster decided to hold his next IMD away from his local area and aimed to hold a conference in Toronto, Canada in 1995. Unfortunately the event was hastily organised and the weather in Toronto was cold, which led to a failure of attendees to turn up. This was an embarrassment to Oaster, who decided to discontinue his involvment in the event. This led to an immediate decline of IMD, with all world organizations ceasing to observe the event except for a Canadian group who (according to anecdote) held thier last recorded observation in 1996, and the Maltese AMR which became the single remaining organisation to continue observing the event. The following are closing accounts of the failed Canada event:  


NewsBank Article Listing

Australia's Newspapers

Men's conference in Canada is a flop

St. Petersburg Times - Friday, February 10, 1995
Author: Reuters

Canada's first international men's conference flopped when only five people turned up, the Canadian Press news agency reported Thursday.

"It's a grave embarrassment,'' said one of the participants, David Shackleton, slumped in a chair in a conference room for 200 people.

More than 100 hotel rooms had been set aside for the International Men's Day convention.

Organizer Tom Oaster left without paying the bill. ""I needed my blood pressure medication. . . . I'll call to settle the bill,'' he said

Edition: CITY
Page: 2A
Dateline: TORONTO
Record Number: 010

End gender wars, men's group urges

The Spectator - Hamilton, Ont.

Date: Feb 13, 1995 Start Page: B.6 Section: Metro

They don't get no respect. But braving frigid temperatures and crowds of Winterlude revellers, a handful of men gathered in an Ottawa park yesterday to mark International Men's Day.

Organizers distributed pamphlets calling upon men and women to "break the silence" surrounding negative stereotypes of men, which they say result in a loss of the kind of respect and support given to women.

"It's not a backlash against feminism," said Glenn Cheriton. Rather, he says the group is calling for an end to "gender wars" and a reconciliation between men and women.

The group wants:

*Funding for men's health and support services.

*An end to the shaming and ridicule of friendships between men.

*Legal and political reforms to improve a divorced father's access to his children.

"If you treat men like animals you don't encourage the courts to give equal access," said Jason Bouchard, a divorced father who has joint custody of his two boys.

The gathering in Ottawa came on the heels of a Toronto convention planned for 200 participants that flopped after only five showed up.

The poor turnout yesterday points to the difficulty men have facing their own needs, said Mr. Cheriton.

"It's difficult to get men to be concerned about men's health," he said.


In Britain a second IMD was planned for April 2005. It is not known where it was held or how many attended. No records of the event being observed after 1995 in Britain have been found. 

Below is a formal complaint lodged with the CBSC by a Glenn Cheriton of Canada, and the broadcaster's response. The ignored "International Men's Day" to which Mr. Cheriton refers was in fact a men's conference, not a decentralised International Men's Day held simultaneously in many parts of the world, as in the case of Oaster's and Teelucksingh's efforts. Cheriton's event therefore does not meet the criteria of a decentralised IMD observed in more than one international location, the latter being the formal criteria used by this website for differentiating a truely 'International Men's day' from a strictly localised 'International Men's Conference'. The date of Mr. Cheriton's conference was July in 1995  (NB. Oaster's event was held in February).
CBSC: Decisions Documents



CFRA-AM re: "International Men's Day" ignored

(CBSC Decision 95/96-0157) Decided October 21, 1996

A. MacKay (Chair), R. Stanbury (Vice-Chair), P. Fockler, T. Gupta, M. Hogarth, M. Ziniak


On March 14, 1996, CFRA-AM (Ottawa) broadcast a story on its 5 pm newscast concerning International Women's Day. The text of the news item was as follows:
It's not a statutory holiday yet but today is International Women's Day and, as Angela Hicks tells us, women are patting themselves on the back. If you go by the numbers, you might still say every day is International Men's Day. Stats Canada reports women spend almost twice as much time taking care of the house and kids as men do. And for full time work outside the home, we earn an average of 72 cents on their dollar. Well, the YMCA-YWCA of Ottawa-Carleton thinks it's time to recognize the overlooked among us.

The Letter of Complaint

The complainant's letter was received by the CRTC on March 19:
The news story commented on "International Women's Day/Week" making the claim that women earn 70 cents for a dollar that men earn, so every other day (364 days) were International Men's Days.

I have organized International Men's Day in Ottawa for the past three years and I find this comment offensive. If we apply the ratio of media coverage of men's and women's issues on CFRA to the division of "days" I could reasonably argue CFRA allocates 364+ days to women and less than a day to men. CFRA did not report on our International Men's Day (Feb. 12). Government funding for "International Women's Day" and (years and weeks) is 100% to women only and CFRA used this news broadcast to jeer at an unfunded grassroots day organized by men to portray positive images of masculinity.

The Broadcaster's Response

The General Manager of the station replied by stating that he had reviewed the broadcast and found that it had contained only factual information.

The listener not unsatisfied with this response requested, on May 31, that the CBSC refer the matter to the appropriate Regional Council for adjudication.


The CBSC's Regional Council members reviewed the program and concluded that the broadcaster did not breach either Clause 2(c) of the Sex Role Portrayal Code or Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics. The fact that CFRA-AM did not report on International Men's Day does not enter into this discussion [as] not every special "Day" is reported on in the news and it would not be reasonable or possible for every broadcaster to report on every such day. International Women's Day may generally attract more press whereas International Men's Day may not yet have a following at all. As to whether International Men's Day receives the Government funding which it deserves is not a matter for this Council to consider and whether the absence of such governmental recognition contributes to the unfamiliarity of the Day is also beyond the CBSC's concern. The complainant does not, however, have an entitlement to complain about any lack of balance in the treatment of men's and women's issues on the simple basis of the comparison of between the treatment of the respective International Days.

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