Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pelle Billing - Men’s Network Launched in Sweden

Pelle Billing has created a new men's network in Swedon, based on the idea that men need representation and protection just as much as women, or maybe more in some instances where men are clearly discriminated against.

I'm sure many women and communal stage men will find this laughable - after all, men control the world and still dominate women in many ways. But it's not either/or, it's both/and. Men DO still dominate and control women in many ways, BUT we are also discriminated against and largely ignored in some ways.

And of course, this is only about post-industrial countries, and not about places such as the Middle East or South America where women are still treated as possessions and have no rights at all.

I'm not sure I agree with all of what Pelle is proposing here, but I think this is an important idea that we need to be be discussing as men, and as a country.

Men’s Network Launched in Sweden

December 15th, 2009 by Pelle Billing

For quite a while I’ve been thinking about starting a Men’s Rights organization in Sweden. The rationale for wanting to do this is quite straightforward: Sweden has at least 50 well established Women’s Rights organizations, but the only men’s organizations we have are a few small fathers’ rights groups. Since I believe that gender equality goes both ways, and that men’s and women’s issues are just as important, it’s been natural for me to want to correct the current imbalance.

What’s been stopping me, and a couple of other men’s rights activists in Sweden, is that we simply don’t have time to set up a new organization. Between writing, lecturing and having day jobs we already have our hands full. However, the other day I got an idea of how to break the deadlock. Why not start a men’s network on Facebook, as a simple way to have a central gathering place for people in Sweden who are interested in men’s rights.

Said and done, the Men’s Network (Mansnätverket) was launched yesterday, and we are already approaching 200 members. If you want to support the men’s rights movement in Sweden, then please consider joining the network. You don’t need to be Swedish to join, you simply need to believe that men’s rights deserve the same attention as women’s rights. To enable you to make an informed decision of whether to join, I’m translating our 15 point platform below:

  1. Gender equality - in other words equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for men and women - is at the core of all work on gender issues.
  2. Men’s issues are important and need to get full recognition from society.
  3. Gender neutral legislation is a basic principle of ours. Currently, men are the only group who are discriminated in Swedish law.
  4. Men are traditionally viewed as expendable by society. Dangerous jobs are performed by men, the ones fighting in wars are men and men are expected to sacrifice themselves for women when danger arises. How is this compatible with the theory of male power?
  5. Men’s voices should be considered equally important to women’s voices in discussions about gender equality and gender roles.
  6. Homeless people. 75 percent are men.
  7. Suicides. 70 percent are committed by men.
  8. Education. Soon we will have a situation where only one third of university and college degrees are obtained by men, and in schools boys are falling behind. Why?
  9. Equally shared child allowance needs to be implemented as soon as possible (a monthly allowance is given by the state to all children in Sweden, currently the mother receives all of it). It is nothing but male discrimination to automatically give this allowance to the mother.
  10. Legally established paternity should automatically result in shared custody, even for parents who are not married. It’s a sign of gender inequality that the mother needs to approve shared custody even when paternity has been established.
  11. Fair custody battles. Mothers and fathers should be treated as equals in custody battles, both in legislation and in practise.
  12. Women’s violence towards men needs to be made visible. Women are violent just as often as men in intimate relationships. The consequences are not as serious as when men use violence, but all violence is equally wrong.
  13. Circumcision of boys under the age of 18 must be made illegal. Men’s are also entitled to full bodily integrity.
  14. Rule of law needs to be upheld in rape trials.
  15. Surrogate motherhood should be legal, along the same lines as insemination.

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