I always imagined it like this: Harvey Weinstein, Dietl, or whatever all their names are, is sitting, legs wide apart, on the rehearsal stage. Some classic in front of them, where determined men start ramming spears into each other’s breastplates. The best being Hermannsschlacht by Kleist, or Faust. The bodies wallow, winding themselves for female affection, plunging one’s self into ventures, which, in the end, are all meant for the vagina (Thusneldas, Gretchens, or what all their names may be).
These are tiptoeing around in my imagination just waiting to be emancipated by the word corset of Schillers and Shakespeares, across the stage, by showing the accepted standards a lot of skin and little shame (this would become the canteen spot if one were to say no to any kind of nonsense). After the rehearsal then, still, a bit dizzy from the rush, to be able to spread one’s ideas wildly around the room and armor-clad by the heroic men’s figures. Is the star director then looking to talk in private: “Madam, could you please stay here a second?” (People are on a first name basis in the theatre, a little rascal whoever dares to think something bad). The role is quite nicely fulfilled, just a few spots are still rough around the edges… while this should be discussed over a nice glass of wine… (We all know the rest from TV and Radio)
I know a University professor, who shouted at his students: “Something like this is way over the line of punishment, boys and girls. Stop playing your victim card by clicking through #metoo articles, go to the police and report those pigs.” The room went silent and then chatter here and there. The thrust: That would have been a little too much. While flirting, men sometimes do lose their empowerment temporarily. A slap in the face would do. But the whole thing is much more complicated. I know a Syrian family, where the woman really wants to wear a headscarf, while the man complains about the burden he carries in the role of the provider. A columnist in the Süddeutsche Zeitung analyses that the entire #MeToo debate fades away, leaving both genders without having had an actual conversation. And that also means that an opposition is created, a trench warfare, where it is actually so very important that also the female traits of biological males (compassion, being able to listen, talking about your feelings, but wait, what about this all is genuinely female?!?) are given a chance to unfold themselves. This is in everyone’s best interest.
The good news: there are suggestions on how to blur role models a bit, so that freedom, niches are created, which the individual can occupy: I’m thinking about the main character in the movie The Square. A mostly overwhelmed and fretful C Man, who, when he plays a gangster, only becomes softer. The unmatched highlight of this iconographic sweeping blow is the scene, where he begs his One-Night-Stand for the used condom, afraid she could leave him stuck with a kid. Could it be any more original and humorous than to let the narrative of the monolithic maker dude thwart, who with an unaffected hunter routine, squirts an entire load of sperm in his opposite’s face? (We know the videos.) I say, no.
Fragile masculinity is becoming more and more trendy. Worn openly, it sometimes seems to carry a seal of approval in certain spheres (especially those students of the liberal arts and other left-wing communities). Along the lines of: he can also get paternity leave or someone, who can listen. Smoothies are the new protein shakes; gender awareness is the new dance class.
This leaves us to hope that the whole thing won’t end up in an absurd iconoclasm (“man during yoga with Maxi Cosi”) like with one of my acquaintances, who I follow on Instagram. Let’s hope, in other words, that men don’t need to wear the double burden that women do at the moment. Rather, let’s hope for fluid concepts of coexistence. Let’s hope for mutual understanding. With a single word: let’s hope for freedom!
Text: Janik Hauser
Editors: Claire Oehninger, Karim Coppola
Photography: Lina Ying
Make Up: Ornella Assalone
Model: Guillaume Gronnier
In exclusive for: The Flow House