For decades, I’ve been involved men’s work and with male-female issues with a focus on partnership, sexuality and gender identity. Lately I see more a widespread confusion, disorientation, helplessness often in men in relation to their manhood. I was most worried because many men do not radiate dignity and hardly have an unbroken pro-life form of male pride.
Well, I can understand that. In the 70s and 80s of the last century, women initiated a movement that threw hitherto existing certainties for men and women to the ground. Before it was clear what the role of a man and what was that of a woman. The new enemy was the patriarchy. In men’s work, several directions emerged have. So some men defiantly want the previous image and defended it resolutely fagainst the tides of feminism. Others turned increasingly to their feelings. Several groups met at the drums and wild dances in the forest.Those who called themselves feminists, sat down for the rights of women and equality with men. Since women have gained more external power, there were increasing men who want to work together in partnership with women. And in recent years the number of those who deal with issues of fathers increased, working so that men receive opportunities from their employers to have more presence in their children’s lives.
In the beginning I experienced men’s work as a marginal phenomenon: sometimes we were seen as pioneers, and, on the other hand, sometimes seen as people with a particular for problem. In recent years it has become a broad mainstream movement with involvement in various areas. The role models for both men and women of the mid-20th century have disappeared or so shacken up that now the space for something new is released. There are lots of ideas. They are by no means uniform. I think, the contribution of men at this moment is to develop design for the future, and it needs the involvement of as many different streams from as many countries. The world is a global village with refreshing local and national differences.
Those of us on this website want to create a European platform for creative exploration and inspiration. Already it begins with the blog and comments on on the web and from 23-26 May 2013 we are holding our International Symposium for Men and the Future near Frankfurt, a central location in Europe. The main topics are sex, authentictity and power. These are key words for manhood. How we do sex? How do we live sexual love? Are we genuine and authentic, or do we have a role and make expectations of others? How do we handle our power in a pro-life way? How do we relate to other men? How do we make relationship and partnership with women? What position do we take to children, to our sons and daughters? How do we use our power in a pro-life and responsible way?
This platform is for the moment bilingual, English and German, and we to signal our position that different language speaking participants are welcome, even if we do not the resources to handle more languages at the moment.
Robert Fischer, 2013