Helps or hurts MGTOW men

Men in crisis - How should a man be today?

The other day on the train. In the compartment behind me sat a man without a mask. The inspector kindly reminded him of the mask requirement in public transport. The man refused.

Then a woman repeated the request. The man stayed tough. He would be happy to discuss. You can sit down with him. The woman didn't want to.

Did she know the facts? He asked. The fact is that mask requirements apply, said the woman. The man laughed and mumbled something about "dictatorship". Then he opened his notebook and started to work.

An amusing scene. In retrospect, of course, I asked myself: Should I have interfered?

But the question seemed much more interesting to me: Was the man's behavior "typically man"? Could you just as easily imagine the scene with a woman?

The problematic gender?

My observation is: There are more men than women at Corona demonstrations. For some, this may only be masculine defiance: "I don't let anyone tell me what to wear on my face!"

The surplus of men is also due to the many conspiracy theorists. Most of them are male.

The German historian Hedwig Richter even thinks that the boom in conspiracy theories has "a lot to do with the crisis of masculinity".

In addition to the conspiracy theorists, there are also many right-wing extremists at Corona demos. Here, too, as is well known, it is mainly men. But why actually?

Is masculinity toxic?

Why do men commit more crimes than women and why do they resort to violence much more often? Why are three quarters of all suicides in Switzerland committed by men?

Has that always been the case, or is it because of the alleged "man's crisis"? Maybe men create so many problems because they have so many problems?

For some time there has been talk of “toxic masculinity”. What is meant by this is that the traditional image of men is harmful, not only for women in the environment, but also for the men themselves.

According to the classic role model, men should be strong, courageous, successful, controlled and rational. They are supposed to be warriors, heroes, protectors, conquerors, machos.

We know the consequences of this: patriarchy, sexism, exploitation and discrimination against women. But also: violence, accidents, depression, alcoholism and suicides by men.

So what to do Reinvent the man? Make softies out of machos? Is that possible? Or is he just like that, the man?

Break up rigid role models

Men are taught to maintain a facade "that hides our real feelings and problems that we face from an early age". This is what the author and activist JJ Bola writes in his new book «Don't be a man! Why masculinity is a boy’s nightmare ».

The aim of the book, according to Bola, is "to expose the illusion of a rigid and limited masculinity that makes boys and men incapable of dealing with their feelings and makes them, unintentionally or not, aggressors and rulers of their fellow men."

Bola himself was born in the Congo and grew up in a London focal point. As a teenager, he had a formative experience in terms of masculinity: he walked through London with his Congolese uncle, as usual in the family, holding hands. When his pals saw him, he was mocked.

From one second to the next he lost all respect: “I looked tall and sporty. Thanks to early exposure to pushups and weightlifting, I looked intimidating enough. All the respect I had earned vanished into thin air in front of my eyes when I was seen walking hand in hand with a man. "

Two men holding hands: a taboo. Two men fighting each other: completely normal. Isn't that absurd, yes perverted? But how can we get rid of this problematic image of masculinity?

The modern man in constant balancing act

In everyday life I experience again and again how deeply anchored traditional gender concepts are. With women, with men, with myself.

For example, I myself like to stand at the grill with a beer, often sit with my legs apart, meet friends more often for sports than just talking, I rarely cry and never know exactly whether I should hug my father or not.

In addition, like so many men, I sometimes feel overwhelmed due to different role expectations: at work, at home with the children, with my wife, with friends, in sports. We men are supposed to be both: strong and weak.

The modern man doing the balancing act. Weeping solid as a rock.

“The expectations that are placed on young men today are almost inhuman,” says Swiss psychologist Allan Guggenbühl. «You still have to be successful, earn money, play a role in society. At the same time, they should be empathetic and take part in the household. "

Poor man? As if women didn't have the same problems reconciling work and family. But perhaps less attention is paid to the man's problems?

Emphasize the positive sides of the man

This may be. At least that's how many men's rights activists see it. They point to various disadvantages of men, for example in school or in the event of divorce. In addition, men are now perceived as a problematic gender, they say.

They are placed under general suspicion, for example in the polarizing commercial by Gillette from January 2019: The man as a potential perpetrator, as a grabber, as an insensitive alpha animal.

Gillette's spot received massive criticism, especially from men

On the other hand, one must emphasize again, so the men's rights activists: Men not only wage wars, but also win Nobel prizes and take care of the garbage collection.

The Swiss sociologist and men's researcher Walter Hollstein even believes that the daily functioning of our society depends on work “that men do and women don't want to do: garbage collection, disposal, civil engineering, rubber processing, street sweeping or sewage treatment”.

The same applies to women, by the way, let's just think of grooming or cleaning. However, Hollstein wants men to learn again to be proud of their gender and not just to be ashamed of them.

Anti-feminists rush on the net

But some men go further. Above all the anti-feminists and misogynists.

Many of them can be found online, in the so-called «Manosphere». These include groups such as the pick-up artists, the groups “Men Going Their Own Way” (MGTOW), “Return of Kings”, but also supporters of the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson.

The philosopher Philipp Hübl suspects that a large part of this anti-feminist hatred on the Internet can be traced back to a “double offense”: “On the one hand, men perceive it as a loss of their authority that nobody pays them any attention and at the same time they have to let women tell them something. »

In addition, women are often sexually unreachable for the offended men in public and, if they are also feminists, do not submit to their "natural" role. “From the point of view of the offended men, they are violating the principle of purity. In the trolls' comments, sexual interest and contempt mix into sexualized hateful comments, ”says Hübl.

Does misogyny motivate assassinations?

Part of the misogynist community are also the so-called “Incels”, an abbreviation for “involuntary celibates”. Men who cannot find women and do not have sex. They became known through Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old gunman from Isla Vista, an anti-feminist and self-proclaimed "Incel".

Incidentally, the two assassins from Halle and Hanau were also dedicated anti-feminists and misogynists. Likewise the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. So is there an alliance between right-wing extremist violence and misogyny?

The German cultural theorist Klaus Theweleit looked for connections in his cult book “Männerphantasien” from 1977 in an original way: Fascist men would buy “body armor” out of fear of the feminine, of loss of control, eroticism and their own weakness.

Similar thoughts can be found in Theodor W. Adorno, in his "Studies on Authoritarian Character" from 1950, but also in "Education after Auschwitz".

Adorno speaks of the authoritarian character's hatred of everything weak: “Anyone who is tough on himself buys the right to be tough on others and takes revenge for the pain, which he was not allowed to show, which he had to suppress . "

The suppression of pain, the suppression of one's own weakness, ultimately leads to hatred of everything weak. This applies to anti-feminism as well as to anti-Semitism.

The patriarch despises women

Unlike Adorno, the Australian philosopher Kate Manne understands “Down Girl. The logic of misogyny »misogyny is not primarily a psychological phenomenon. Misogyny is not a feeling, believes Kate Manne, but a means of maintaining patriarchy: “I take the view that misogyny is to be understood as a system that ensures that the submission of women is enforced and controlled within the patriarchal social order and that of men Rule is maintained. "

In patriarchal societies like ours, there would be "good" and "bad" women: good women serve, they are caring, have compassion and admiration for men. You give the man what he needs.

But woe, they don't. Then they become victims of misogyny. This is how the patriarchal system stabilizes.

What to do? Don't wait long!

Thats all right. But what do we do with it? How do we detoxify the man? My guess is: No matter what we do, we should start early. Very early.

Hence my request to all parents, uncles and grandmothers: give the boys dolls and put them in girls' clothes. After all, I also buy my two daughters diggers and clothes for boys. And who knows: Maybe then these annoying conspiracy theorists will also disappear. That alone would be worth it.

Broadcast: SRF1, Sternstunde Philosophie, September 20, 2020, 11:00 a.m.

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