THE GOOD LIFE: Celebrating International Men's Day

To assume in today’s world is to close yourself off to new understandings, and possibly open yourself up to an earful. I came realise this a lot this week, faced with several internal communications and rather external ones too.

The dreaded video roster was circulated this week for our Limerick Voice ( publication. It’s one module and, although I love working on it (my class is amazing), it sometimes feels like (another) part-time job, and thankfully I’m not one of the editors. In theory the roster is a great idea, developed by the social media manager. It encourages us all to go out and get video content and keeps consistency for videos on our social media channels.

In practice going out, making video content and editing in time for it to stay relevant can be difficult. With my name on the roster, I wanted to make something to mark International Men’s Day. I decided to do a Vox Pop. Although most people hate doing them, I really enjoy going out and basically harassing people nicely to speak to me. That’s exactly what I did.

The most interesting part are the reactions of those that do not want to speak to you. You learn so much about humanity. With some you learn how fluently people can lie; others less so. I got response of “I have a... a thing on now.”

“Yeah no bother, enjoy your thing,” I responded, while laughing.

Honestly people it’s okay to say 'no'. When I first started doing them, I used to be petrified. Now I enjoy this process just as much as chatting to people who do decide to stop. As always, it started off shaky. I got ignored by some, others said they wouldn’t be able to speak in front of a camera and some people were only to happy to chat away to me.

I approached one group of girls and explained what I was doing. My question was ‘Who is the most inspirational man in your life and why?’ I asked if any of them would be willing to be in the video.

“No, I hate men,” one of them piped up.

I don’t condone this phrase at all, and I do hear it thrown around quite loosely these days. However, she is of course entitled to her opinion and I was curious to see if she had a reason.

“Would you care to be in the video and explain why you hate men?” I asked.

Well, the look of utter disgust on her face.

“No,” she said blankly, returning to chatting with the rest in the group.

Her refusal in the video did not bother me in the slightest, yet her comment did. If she said yes, I don’t know if I would have included her answer. By not backing up her claim, she made the decision easy for me. On the one hand, who am I to exclude her opinion from the video? The purpose of my creation was to celebrate men and I don’t know how this would have contributed. I guess it would have depended on her answer. I had a discussion with the editors about if her feeling was the consensus among the other people I spoke with. In this case, no response was my answer.

Not one other person I spoke to shared her opinion. As always, once a couple of people participated, herd mentality kicked in and suddenly everyone wanted to be in the video. The answers varied from dads to brothers, with Zach de la Rocha getting a mention also. I had never heard of him but he sings with American rock band ‘Rage Against the Machine'. My favourite answer was one guy who said his little brother. He admitted that his brother didn’t do great in school and thought that “he wouldn’t do much” afterwards. He began a trade and just got nominated for Apprentice of the Year, which made the older brother extremely proud. Making the reel warmed my heart and did get me thinking about how much I appreciate all the men in my life.

Creating this video on the week of Jozef Puska’s sentencing was also on my mind. I don’t think any of us will ever forget Ashling Murphy, who was murdered brutally at the hands of a man. I thought on it for a while, would this be a sensitive topic for some people, understandably heightened this particular week? I caught myself on. Mr Puska’s sentencing doesn’t even begin to justify the loss Ashling's family have suffered for what he did. Yet, even at this devastating time when humanity has let us down, we must not make the mistake of painting everybody with the same brush. With this in mind, I decided to celebrate International Men’s Day to show appreciation for all the amazing men in this world.


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