A PANEL discussion on the pros and cons of modern manhood is to take place in Southend.


I think we've all heard of International Women's Day, when the females of the species rally together and celebrate feminism, femininity, Goddesses, suffragettes, equality, women in our history, and so forth.

Women are great at grouping together and honouring. On this day, social media platforms become a campaign en masse, a scrolling celebration and stage for individuals' mini crusades, event flyers, memes, poems, photos, songs and more to mark the occasion.

Anyone who is an avid social media user may have also come across scores of men piping up on such posts, asking when they get their day.

It is along this train of thought that Leigh based writer Sean Groth, together with fellow Southenders Mark Lancaster and Andy Tanner-Smith, formed The Men's Auxiliary.

Sean explains: "The Men’s Auxiliary was formed in response to that cry which regularly goes up on social media on International Women’s Day: 'When’s International Men’s Day? Why don’t we get one?'

"Well we do. It’s on November 19.

"'Well why doesn’t someone organise something for that?'

"'Good question! Why don’t you? Why don’t we?' So we did.

"It takes place on Monday November 19, at the Railway Hotel on Clifftown Road, when we’ll be hosting a panel discussion with audience participation, posing the question ‘Is Masculinity Toxic?’

"Are expectations of what it means to be a proper man contributing factors to ill health, to disproportionate rates of incarceration and suicide; to violent crime and domestic abuse; to harm and self harm? Is it possible to preserve those sound and noble aspects of masculinity while binning those that are destructive?

"And in the age of #Metoo, with ever more exposure of sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood and the media; in the workplace generally, what historical privileges men, particularly powerful men, have long enjoyed will no longer be tolerated in years to come?

"These and other questions will be addressed by a panel of experts, and audience members are invited to bring their own."

The Men's Auxiliary Presents - 'Is Masculinity Toxic?' takes place at 7:30pm in the upstairs bar at the Railway Hotel, Clifftown Road, Southend.

Guests include Dan Turpin from Southend Pride, Yoga and Pilates teacher Nikki Nicholas, Cllr Laurie Burton (Southend West Labour Party), Lee Tearrell, business life coach and improvisor from The Laughter Academy and actor and director Sarah Mayhew.

Tunes will be spun by special guest Curly Dan.

Admission is free.