Challenging norms

MÄN’s work focuses on men, men’s actions and masculinity norms. Many stereotypical gender norms that primarily young men adhere to are related to increased risk of using violence. Examining and understanding stereotypical notions of masculinity – how they are nurtured and how they are maintained – is important in the fight against violence and for women’s rights.

Through our work, we aim to stimulate curiosity and contribute knowledge and methods that make it possible to challenge traditional gender norms and broaden the confines of what it means to grow up and be a man.

A gender-transformative tool kit

Machofabriken (“The Macho Factory”) is an audiovisual material for teachers, youth leaders and other professionals working with youth. It is designed for young men aged 13–25. Machofabriken takes a critical look at social norms on masculinity, gender and sexuality. Through short videos, interactive exercises and discussions, participants have the opportunity to reflect on topics such as friendship and relationships, sexual harassment, consent, violence and the vulnerability of young people online. The tool kit enables young people to start questioning restrictive and destructive norms. Machofabriken is co-owned by MÄN and Unizon, which represents 130 women’s shelters and support services in Sweden.

Still photo from one of the videos in the training program for Machofabriken.
Still photo from one of the videos in the training program for Machofabriken.

An intersectional approach

Masculinity norms and the connection to violence impact all of us, but in different ways. Boys and men have different living conditions and space for action, and varying amounts of power. In a recent project, Mannen Myten (“The Man the Myth”), an intersectional approach was used to connect the challenges of masculinity to ethnicity and class with the aim of reaching young men who have not previously been involved in feminist discussions. A card game called “In someone else’s shoes” launched within that framework. The game is primarily intended for people aged 16–25 and aims to get participants to explore how different power structures influence their opportunities to act.

Video: Real change starts with small talks. Follow Nils during talks #aftermetoo, a project aimed to engage men in soul-searching talks with other men regarding the #metoo.