New Barcelona centre teaches Spanish men to explore their masculinity | Stephen Burgen in Barcelona

It’s onerous work sustaining the macho picture of the Spanish man. However assistance is at hand in the form of Barcelona’s new Centre for Plural Masculinities, which affords men the possibility to forged off the machista straitjacket.

“This isn’t a spot for men to come and beat themselves up for being dangerous men,” says Laura Pérez, the Barcelona councillor for feminism and LGBTI, who has general accountability for the undertaking.

“It’s a spot to discuss sexuality, with out taboos, a spot to explore masculinity. It’s all to do with how boys are educated to be men. Men have to be heroes, they’re not allowed to be afraid, boys don’t cry. This doesn’t enable for the various completely different variations of masculinity which can be attainable.”

Whereas the centre goals to confront misogyny and homophobia, the emphasis is on encouraging men to explore different methods of being, past conventional function fashions. Spain, in spite of everything, is the nation that gave us the phrase “machismo”.

Whereas the centre’s employees of 10 prepare group and particular person discussions on the premises, maybe the organisation’s most essential perform would be the outreach work it does.

Via exhibitions and occasions in museums, libraries and different cultural establishments it hopes to increase the controversy about masculinity. It’s going to even be lively in the town’s quite a few sporting associations.

Pérez sees sport as being one of many final areas the place men can’t be open about their sexuality, a degree borne out by the media consideration given to Josh Cavallo, the younger Australian footballer who got here out as homosexual final month.

The centre will even try to fill the void of dialogue about gender roles and identification in faculty by involving dad and mom and lecturers. Pérez says there’s little intercourse training and virtually no dialogue of sexuality in the Catalan training system.

“We now have taboos about speaking about intercourse however, on the identical time, we’ve got entry through the web to each sort of sexual exercise,” she says. “The one entry younger folks have to intercourse training is through pornography and that is very harmful.”

Among the programmes pre-date the centre and probably the most profitable and common of them prepares fathers-to-be with discussions about fatherhood, childcare and sharing home chores.

A survey by the nationwide statistics institute exhibits that Spanish men spend a mean of 23 hours per week on childcare and 11 on family chores, in contrast with 38 and 20 hours respectively for girls.

On gender points, for a while Spain lagged behind different European international locations due to the legacy of Franco’s dictatorship, says Viviana Waisman, president of Ladies’s Hyperlink Worldwide, a not-for-profit organisation that makes use of the regulation to advance ladies’s rights.

“More and more, we see younger Spanish men and ladies understanding the necessity to break with gender stereotypes,” she says, however provides that among the nation’s establishments lag behind.

This was thrown into stark reduction in 2018 with the so-called la Manada [wolf pack] case when three judges acquitted 5 men of gang-raping an 18-year-old girl on the working of the bulls pageant in Pamplona on the grounds that the video the men recorded on their telephones confirmed the lady providing no resistance. One choose even mentioned they need to solely be discovered responsible of stealing the sufferer’s cellular.“The case marked a turning level in Spain, particularly as Trump was in energy, and when somebody is so blatantly misogynist it helps folks to perceive how legal guidelines and insurance policies are so anti-women,” says Waisman.

“Right here was a younger girl who was the sufferer of against the law and the judges’ focus was on her and never the defendants. She was being requested to clarify her behaviour though she was the sufferer. It broke the collective silence about how ladies expertise violence and discrimination in society.”

The sentence provoked an enormous outcry with tens of 1000’s of girls and men taking to the streets throughout Spain in protests that pressured the federal government to introduce new laws on consent.

'I'm a footballer and I'm gay': A-League player Josh Cavallo talks about his sexuality  – video
‘I am a footballer and I am homosexual’: A-League participant Josh Cavallo talks about his sexuality – video

Previous concepts stay entrenched, nonetheless, and have discovered their champion in Vox, the far-right celebration that espouses conventional household values and whose chief, Santiago Abascal, has a penchant for Putin-style picture ops on horseback and is a supporter of pursuits equivalent to looking and bullfighting. “The concepts about how ladies will be have superior so much. Not a lot in the case of men,” says Pérez.

“Gender stereotypes have an effect on us all,” says Waisman, who helps the Barcelona initiative. “If we solely concentrate on ladies being feminists and combating for equality and don’t do the identical for men, we’re leaving out half the inhabitants.”

Pérez agrees. “Barcelona has been selling feminist insurance policies since 2015, and it’s essential we consolidate the subject of masculinity inside these,” she says. “If not, it’s simply the sound of 1 hand clapping.”

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