Dr. George Simons, founder and editor-in-chief of diversophy®, was the featured discussion leader at the online SIETAR Europa Cross-Cultural Coffee Break for January 2019, a session moderated by Joanna Sell.
This CCC-Break focused on the question of how we can change and reinvent male roles in today’s diverse generational cultures. Dr. Simons launched the discussion highlighting current men’s issues and shared a brief overview of his experiences of continuous activity in men’s work spanning from the 1970’s to this day. Most recently he has produced the Manhood diversophy® game to address current issues of masculinity.
In opening he noted that the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year 2018 was toxic, and how this word is often paired with masculinity. Rigid interpretation of the traditional male roles of protector and provider have led to a sense of masculine identity that is both too narrow and a cause of serious damage in today’s society. Men largely remain the disposable sex, trapped in their “man box” identity, while women, supported by the solidarity of the women’s movement, are redefining themselves, riding on the strength of newly acquired aspirations and possibilities. Participants offered comments and insights on these matters and brought to the fore the need for dialogue between men and women, but as well as the need for dialogue among men themselves, where they can learn to care for each other and explore and embrace fresh possibilities for wider identities. With the sole exception of Dr. Simons, the session was attended by women only, who were both eager to hear and valued the male perspectives on these issues. The discussion concluded that interculturalists have many ways of supporting those they work with towards filling the identity void they find in themselves. They can make evident the vast range of options available for both men and women to identify with for themselves in their current and new environments. Fear on both sides of the gender rift slows down productive dialogue. Both women and men need to forge their new realities in collaboration.
Save the date for the upcoming CCC-Breaks