[fyeg_gen-l] Some Green Men published a Manifesto for the New Man
franza.drechsel at gruene-jugend.de
Thu Apr 29 00:21:46 CEST 2010
within the Greens and the YG this manifesto is discussed quite
Maybe you find it interesting - this is an article in English, so you might
understand it better. ;) The actual Manifesto is only available in German, I
think (I am sorry!).
Green Party Unveils a 'New Man' Manifesto
By Florian Gathmann <Florian_Gathmann at spiegel.de>
*A new manifesto from the German Green Party aims to banish macho men for
good. It has stirred debate among men, even if a number of female Green
politicians remain unconvinced.*
The German Green Party has made a name for itself at the cutting edge of
women's rights. It was the first party to have a 50 percent quota for women
in list-based elections -- and they always put a woman at the top of the
list. At Green Party conferences men and women give speeches in strict
alternation. No other German party takes the equality issue so seriously,
and this weekend the Greens, once again, are holding a two-day National
Women's Conference in the city of Bonn.
Even if some male party members think the Greens tend to exaggerate a bit on
this issue, they do not dare say so publicly. Instead a new group of young
party members has come up with an even stronger gender message, this time
shining the spotlight on men: "We no longer need to be macho!" is the title
of their manifesto which deals with "equality and male feminism."
The signatories include several Green politicians from the European
parliament, the German Bundestag as well as local Green leaders. "We no
longer want to be macho," it declares, "we want to be people. You are not
born a man, you are turned into one."
The men's manifesto makes two main points. First, men need to break out of
their traditional gender roles. "We need a new awareness of a new
masculinity," write its co-authors Sven Lehmann and Jan Philipp Albrecht.
Second, they argue that their fellow men need to realize that real equality
will not happen without their participation.
"We want to live differently!" writes Lehmann, a senior member of the North
Rhine-Westphalia branch of the party, and the European parliamentarian
Albrecht. They appeal for a slower pace of life, less focus on profit and
more health consciousness. They want to start holding "Boys' Days and
gender-sensitive career-guidance sessions."
"Interest in mechanical engineering is not something we are born with," they
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the manifesto, which has recently been posted
online, has sparked all sorts of angry responses. Co-author Albrecht says he
was expecting the flood of insults like "bloody homos." But less expected
were comments like: "What's this subject got to do with you?"
For Albrecht that was exactly the point, because "women are ahead in this
issue -- now men have to take the lead," he says. Or, as co-author Lehmann
puts it: "Where are men in the equal rights debate?"
The manifesto is signed by politicians from both the left and the center of
the party, both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Even the party's co-chief Cem
Özdemir has welcomed the initiative. "Gender justice has been a key concern
for the Green Party since it was founded," he says. "Therefore, it is also
an issue for men." The problems described by the smooth-talking Özdemir
match the tenor of the feminist debate: "We are witnessing a public
discussion by men about men, even though some men feel a bit uncomfortable
about the deconstruction of the male role."
The Green co-leader himself has experience toying with stereotypes.
Following the birth of his second child he took a few weeks off from party
leadership, making a name for himself as the nappy-changing politician of
the moment. But even that is not enough for the anti-macho manifesto
writers: Are men really becoming "new fathers"? they ask. "Or it is actually
a 'mirage' which merely allows fathers a prolonged break from their jobs?"
This could be read as a critique of the nappy-changing party leader, one
signatory admitted, but went on to stress that a party leader is not in a
position to take a prolonged stint off work, like many other fathers.
*Green Women Want More*
So what do female members of the Green Party make of this? Astrid
Rothe-Beinlich, the Green spokesperson for women's issues, welcomes the new
manifesto. "The Greens have always been a progressive party," she says,
adding it was high time "that men also take responsibility for the issue of
equality." But their party colleagues should not simply applaud the
manifesto, she says. The question now, in her words, is, "How can it be
Franza Drechsel, Green Youth spokesperson for gender and political affairs,
also praised the new manifesto in principle. "It is good that men
participate in the debate," she says, adding "this is far from enough ...
the authors remain stuck in the rut of talking about two sexes." Above all,
the debate is not just about men, she argues: "In the long term we can only
be in this together."
But Green Party women are not exactly cooperative either, because this
weekend they are keeping to themselves. The speakers at the National Women's
Congress in Bonn are exclusively female. So the question remains: When will
the Green anti-macho men hold their first national meeting?
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