People should be able to live lives of their own choosing, regardless of gender. This is true for boys, men, and fathers too, but they have not really started their own journey of liberating themselves from the outdated requirements of masculinity yet. We encourage them to do so and support them in their struggle. We believe that equal opportunities and just distribution of rights and responsibilities within our society require a fundamental redesign of gender relations. The best part: everybody is poised to gain something from this change. As men, we know all too well: supposed privileges may come in handy once in a while; but, generally speaking, competitive behavior, perfomance-oriented thinking, and the pursuit of power and money primarily makes people sick and turns them into hollow shells.
männer.ch/masculinities.ch works to frame the concerns, abilities, and vulnerabilities of boys, men, and fathers in Switzerland and advocates on their behalf. We believe men’s perspectives on gender issues and gender equality matter—and we work to incorporate the myriad issues of boys, men, and fathers into the political arena and the public conversation concerning gender. We are confident in our work and we value cooperation. männer.ch/masculinities.ch acknowledges that discrimination (e.g. unequal pay) against women is real and that measures need to be implemented to eliminate those inequities. Men too face discrimination, both with regards to the law (e.g. military duty and retirement age) and normative social requirements (e.g. poor health outcomes associated with traditional models of manhood). We do not believe it is fruitful to tally the disadvantages and determine a winner and loser. After all, how do we decide which is “better”: earning eight percent less or dying five years younger? männer.ch/masculinities.ch is much more interested in serving as a partner within a larger joint struggle for social and political conditions that afford all people the opportunity to pursue their dreams and their innermost calling in life. For us, gender justice is about more than equal opportunity for individuals: we support the dismantling of the patriarchal system that normalizes the exploitation of self and others. This is intimately connected to our demand for just distribution of rights, responsibiliites, and resources as well as a fundamental redesign of gender relations.
In advancing its mission, männer.ch/masculinities.ch sees itself both as an umbrella organization and as a professional association. Our position statements translate insights from research and practice into political demands. Here, you can explore which issues we address within core topics of work, family, sexuality, and education. Afterward, we explain the conceptual foundation of our political work.
Triple advocacy signifies the idea that we are neither just a men’s lobby nor solely exist to support the women’s movement. männer.ch/masculinities.ch and its members are taking on the following roles (at the same time and with equal regard for each role):
- Interceders: bringing attention to men’s vulnerabilities, their concerns, and their potential
- Allies supporting women’s concerns and rights, and partners cooperating with women’s organizations
- Confederates who are party to an alliance advocating for gender diversity and social justice
Relational Politics of Gender Equality
To regard boys, men, and fathers as part of the solution when it comes to gender issues—instead of viewing them only as part of the problem—requires us to adopt an expanded, relational understanding of the politics of gender equality and gender mainstreaming. Such a framework would have to be cabable of bringing together disparate strategies specific to women or men as well as overarching strategies under the same roof.
The Triangle of Men’s Politics/Politics of Masculinities
In the course of our work, we must never forget: there is no such thing as all men and all women. As U.S. sociologist Michael Messner asserted in the 1990s, specific privileges and costs are associated with each gender, and there are vast differences between people who fall into each gender grouping. We need to keep all three elements—privileges, costs, and intra-group differences—in mind.