Male Community – The Gentleman bulls turn 35 years old

Male Community – The Gentleman bulls turn 35 years old

Last week, the group celebrated its 35th anniversary, and Kropp & Själ got to participate. What has happened to the group during this time and to the members? How have they been able to keep it alive for so long?

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen men’s groups come and go. From the velor men of the 70s to the contemporary raw man. But what function does the men’s group actually fulfill and why does it arouse so much emotion? They are celebrated and they are mocked, as recently in the Svt documentary Tre pappar. Historian Helena Hill believes that this is nothing new.

– These men in the “Free the men’s movement” in the 70s changed the view of men and masculinity by talking about wanting to show themselves vulnerable and that they were close to emotions. They met in groups and at camps where they would be close both physically and relationally. This sparked debate and the men were ridiculed in the media. They were said to lose their masculinity

But what is it about male communion that seems so difficult and at the same time evokes so much emotion? Why does the need for the men’s group still seem to exist? Is it harder for men to find friends? Showing yourself vulnerable? Klara Godecke has researched specifically male friendship and believes that it is an under-researched area.

– Within feminist research, men’s friendship has been seen as dangerous, on the one hand. That men hold each other’s backs, that it is homophobic and sexist. On the other hand, it is seen as promising – men get to become something else and develop new ways of being close. But according to author Patrik Lundberg, it costs men to show themselves vulnerable.

– It is status among women to be a vulnerable man. But that among men they are seen as gender traitors.

In Body & Soul, we get to join in when the Gentleman Bulls celebrate their anniversary. It is about male community, about the masculinity crisis that has been going on since the 19th century side by side with the women’s movement’s equality project. How far have we come?

Guests in the studio, Klara Godecke, gender scientist who researched male friendship, at Stockholm University Gender Studies.
Helena Hill, associate professor in the history of ideas at Södertörn University who has researched the men’s movement in Sweden in the 1970s and 80s.
Patrik Lundberg, journalist and author.

Program manager: Stina Näslund
Producer: Shang Imam
Reporters: Mattias Lindgren and Ninos Chamoun meet the Gentlemen’s Bulls


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