Gather Up, Man Up

 

"Gather Up, Man Up" is the founding event of a new Men's Movement: Movement of contemporary Manliness, short: MOM.

The MOM Natives gather with their novices and investigate the rhetoric and practices of current, mostly right-wing masculinity in an offline meeting: the tears of the Sad Boys, the ghost status of the Men Going Their Own Way (mgtow.com) and the radical potential of Herbivore Men. MOM questions: What has to be given up, what has to be reclaimed?

How can understandings of masculinity beyond biological identity and heteronormativity be established? How can masculinity be a tool for change? How can we become MOM?

Within the frame of the Bloom up Residency THE AGENCY and their collaborators Nile Koetting (sound designer, performer), Taro Inamura (dramaturg, research Japan) and Kanako Azuma (video artist) from Tokyo were able to face the challenge of designing a New Men*s Movement that operates beyond identity politics in the current climate and offers positive potential for identification.

Pic: Franz Kimmel

"Gather Up, Man Up" developed as the first fragment of THE AGENCY´s cycle of works New Men's Movement as part of the Bloom up Residency of the Rodeo Festival Munich.

Supported by Rodeo Festival Munich, Goethe Institut Munich and Saison Foundation Tokyo.

with

Nile Koetting, Fabian Stumm, Kanako Azuma, Dorian Fabini, Taro Inamura, THE AGENCY

Part of the series MOVEMENTS

New Men*s Movement

 

“New Men*s Movement” is a cycle, which is dedicated to the connection between masculinity and far-right thinking in the post-digital age. The identity of the white, heterosexual male is said to be in a “crisis”: he is unsettled and angry at the increasing questioning of his privileges. At the same time, we are not only experiencing the strengthening of far-right ideas in Europe and the USA, but the spread of it which is mainly organized by men in online forums and analogously in movements and parties. If we assume with the US sociologist and masculinity researcher Michael Kimmel that "a certain understanding of masculinity creates certain political attitudes." (Kimmel, Angry White Men, 2013) - could new understandings of masculinity also create new political attitudes? From the analysis of these relationships, THE AGENCY created  the productions Man up, Gather up (2018), Boys Space (2019) and Take it like a Man (2019), which occupy the digital and the analog space in order to design a countermovement: A New Men*s Movement.

RESEARCH IN JAPAN

Our research in Japan in May/June 2018 and in Munich in September/October 2018, made possible by the scholarship Bloom up from the Rodeo Festival, has revolved around the phenomenon "Herbivore Men". The sociologist Maki Fukasawa used this term to describe heterosexual men in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties who do not pursue a typical career, do not play the role of breadwinner and husband, and - very present in the Western media - perhaps even have less or no sex. Herbivore (= plant-eating) is associated with Buddhism and is associated with descriptions such as "peace-loving", "noble" and "reaching a higher spiritual level". Soon the term became an insult to a generation of men among Japanese politicians, who were blamed for the low birth rate and the economic decline of the Japanese state: These men did not fulfill their duties, they were not men, it was said. This phenomenon, which takes place very quietly, is our starting point: What happens when men move away from the roles attributed to them by neoliberalism and patriarchy? And what would happen if this phenomenon were to develop into a movement beyond Japan?

RESEARCH IN USA

The strongest contrast to the herbivore men of Japan are probably the American Angry White Men, with whom THE AGENCY dealt with in a research trip in March/April 2019 as part of the work grant from the City of Munich. The Angry White Men include various phenomena such as the so-called Incels (Involuntary Celibats), whose demand for a male right to sex also includes the legalization of rape, or the anti-feminist group “Men going their own way”, which are characterized by aiming to achieve their “sexodus” to liberate themselves from women and a world which they feel dominated by women. In interviews with Michael Kimmel (Angry White Men, 2013 or Healing from Hate, 2018) and Arlie Russel Hochschild (Strangers in their own Land, 2016) THE AGENCY investigated the complex of male entitlements, a supposed loss of privileges and outdated hero characters.

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