Prospect talks to festival organiser Ted Hodgkinson about Trump, sheds—and why this year's festival is truly for all menby Prospect Team / November 13, 2017 / Leave a comment
So, Being a Man (BAM) is returning to the South Bank for its fourth year. What is the festival about this time?
The 2017 theme is “what makes a man?” looking at how male identities are constructed from material as diverse as films and families. Our contributors will examine inherited ideas about manhood giving rise to some of the most serious issues we currently face.
That’s quite a claim! Can you unpack those ideas a bit?
What underpins all these things are cultural beliefs that being a man means not showing some types of emotion unless you want to be seen as weak.
So, in the pub we can rage at our team losing but not express confusion about our career and not get the support we need. On a global level, we are watching hyper-masculine leaders US President and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in a classic “boys and their toys” face-off rather than negotiating with the risk of war at between 25 and 50% depending on which expert you ask. (We will be talking about Trump and Trudeau on Sunday.)
Understanding what happens when we can’t express emotions helps explain why domestic violence is mostly carried out by men, as well—why so many young men are killing themselves and why most terrorists are men, too.
Trump is one (arguably) bad example of masculinity. Another is Harvey Weinstein and other abusers in the “corridors of power.” Do you think these revelations have made it harder or easier for men to change?
It’s a seismic shift and is examples of what I call “infernal inequality.” I think the doings of Weinstein and others make these types of conversations more necessary; it forces us to talk about things like misogyny, abuse and bullying.
So, I think it’s unquestionably a good thing these terrible instances are finally coming to light.
Now, some men will certainly feel threatened or on trial, but we need to hear those voices as well. We don’t want this to be a space where there is just “one” view.
But won’t it just be “new men”—the same old Guardian readers—attending the event, when perhaps the people who might benefit most won’t hear about it or bother to come?
Our programme appeals to people beyond the “liberal bubble.” We have amazing comedians…