On the 8th of July Muriel Aichberger visited us with his thoughts and reflections on “progressive masculinities“. As a known speaker and coach in all things gender, he tries to argue beyond the strict gender binary. His starting point were concepts of toxic and critical masculinities that were critically examined and showed challenges in society that arise with these.Muriel then led the audience into queer territory to show how masculinity is performed within the queer community. Queer perspectives on masculinity can help to overcome the strict limitations of binary gender thinking. With these aspects Aichberger theorizes a progressive queer masculinity (PQM). In this context progressive masculinity goes hand in hand with intersectional perspectives as Athena D. Mutua already mentioned in his conception of progressive black masculinities:
“[…] I propose a definition of progressive black masculinities as the unique and innovative performances of the masculine self that, on the one hand, personally eschew and ethically and actively stand against social structures of domination. And, on the other hand, they validate and empower black humanity, in all its variety, as part of the diverse and multicultural humanity of others in the global family. I argue that this definition is grounded in the twin concepts of progressive blackness and progressive masculinities.“
Mutua, Athena D. (2006): Theorizing Progressive Black Masculinities. In: Athena D. Mutua (Hrsg.): Progressive Black Masculinities. New York p. 3-42. (p.4)
Aichberger “propose[s] to define progressive queer masculinities based on their deviation from streamlined traditional masculine traits. PQM are therefore all kinds of masculinities – also including of course the multiple intersecting dimensions of social organisation – of their behaviours appearances and traditions that deviate from binary notions and heternormative patterns of constantly reassuring oneself and others about the validity of ones masculinitiy. […] Additionally PQM validate and empower deviation and difference and understand ‚real masculinity‘ as a diverse concept amongst many other equally valid ways of being in a global family“.
For all listeners, CRC scientists and guest alike, Muriel Aichberger’s reflections were inspiring and sparked a fruitful discussion. The discussed gender issues were in the context of future studies and current research projects but also ethics in field work.