We are the men WHOM YOU KNOW
The critical masculinity Datça initiative (CmDi) starts off!
We start off in order to take the load of questioning and transforming ourselves from the others whom we assume to be in equal relationships.
As stakeholders and accomplices of the masculine world, we know that we are called to account, that we have a “masculinity” fromwhich we have to emancipate ourselves and this emancipation will be first realized by means of confrontation and reckoning.
We do not have a claim in the form of complaining, whining, supposedly being correctly understood, supposedly not being painted with the same brush with usual men; on the contrary, we start off in order to question our own masculinity ourselves and to keep a distance between us and “ourselves” that will render accountability possible.
The critical masculinity Datça initiative (CmDi) starts off! But not as a rights movement!
Who are we:That who feels free and powerful when oppressing those who are not us;worker in the factory, the boss at home, the torturer at the police station, a father who shows his compassion through anger. We are the ones who worship power and try to be powerful by watching for an opportunity for oppressing, intimidating and harassing at home, at public transportation, in the dark of the night and at work in order to prove ourselves and feel strong.
We are those men whom you know!
We accept and declare that violence against women, LGBTI+s, children and living beings, animals being in the first place, is not a phenomenon that can be explained by a deviation from an implicitly assumed and legalized norm by means of words and phrases such as abnormal, unexpected, unacceptable, perversion, a state of disease, incidental, exceptional, impertinence, brutality, barbarism, lack of civilization, vulgarity, misbehaviour, a problem of education or awareness; on the contrary, that violence is the most fundamental manifestation of the basic masculine norm enabling the society in different forms and intensities since the elimination of egalitarian communities.
In this sense, we absolutely reject every kind of attempt of biologism and normalization arguing that what matters is humanity with the assumption that in the end “women are women, men are men”, supposedly claiming to be based on human as a species, and relating every wrongdoing of men to biological differences such as testosterone.
Masculinity is contagious; it passes from man to man and to everyone.
Today, in the country that we are living in, violence towards all living beings, women and children being in the first place, including men who are not considered as men by normative masculinity, is an obvious state of war, especially when it comes to women and LGBTI+s. This massacre against women is now an obvious gendercide! In this war declared against women as gendercide, in order to be forced to obey or to worthless statuses, the ones who are who are not killed are either harassed or raped or taken hostage by means of murder, harassment, rape, hunger, poverty or deprivation in all segments of the society.
Moreover, masculine perpetrators using public force and authority, military men security officers, policemen and watchmen at every level being in the first place, are unfortunately protected due to their masculine crimes at many levels of public authority, likewise, their accomplices are in no way subject to prosecution, and files regarding these perpetrators are closed or swept under the carpet as quickly as can be. Furthermore, the relatives of those who have died as a result of masculine crimes committed by these perpetrators or the ones who have survived but have to deal with big troubles are under heavy pressure by the same perpetrators and their accomplices while even their funerals are hijacked and taken away from their families, relatives, loved ones and the public. No matter with which phrases regarding people, politics and law they are tried to be explained, these events and phenomena can neither be legalized nor can be accepted by someone who considers oneself a human being.
While the legal system both ignores this violence that has turned into a gendercide war in many ways and takes sides with norm-masculinity by taking effective steps, the political system is not satisfied with this and tries to withdraw its own signature under the Istanbul Agreement that is acknowledged as relatively safeguarding women within certain limits.
The critical mascunility Datça initiative unconditionally embraces the Istanbul Agreement, defends it under any circumstances and takes sides with those who defend it! It demands the implementation of 6284 but is not satisfied with this; it is totally against the elimination of the features of the Article 103 of the Turkish Penal Code that is protecting children, and against the attempts of an amnesty for child abusers and the decrease of the childhood age which encourages the abusers. Moreover, our initiative defends positive discrimination for women and LGBTI+s at every political, economic, legal and social level.
We know that none of us is born as “man” but we become men! The CmDi does not fight for the woman problem but against masculinities and men as a problem! Within this framework, although we mention the women’s movement and LGBTI+ movement together at every level, we reject to reduce them to each other, to perceive them in a way that one absorbs the other and to deny their specifities. Certainly, we do not consider ourselves as a very belated imitation or copy of these two movement groups although we know that we are in need of learning many things from them.
We, as the men who are the constituents of this initiative, assume the role of dreaming about the possibility of an equal life with women and all the others of the heterosexist, heteronormative system.
We ask ourselves the following questions: How do we attach to hegemonic masculinity, the myth of powerfulness, heterosexism and heteronormativity; how do we become integrated with all these; how do be become a part of the masculine power network; in short, how and why can we be turned into obedient slaves of this masculine system?
The critical masculinity Datça initiative is a civil initiative that is open to the voluntary, individual participation of all variety of men who, regardless of their biological gender architecture, feel themselves a part of the male/masculine world and a stakeholder of the masculine system, and who would like to develop and create awareness on violence against women, children and LGBTI+s and to fight against this violence.
Participation in the initiative is individual. Participants in the name or as a representative of a political or non-political organization, group, entity, movement, thought are by no means admitted to the initiative.
The participants of the initative are considered to have accepted masculinity as the principal perpetrator and focal point of the masculine, heterosexist, heteronormative system which we are forced to live in. Based on this principle, it is excepted from all the constituents of the initiative that they consider it as a basic mission to confront their own states of masculinity.
It is essential that in all the processes regarding the initiative and at all levels of life outside of the initative, the participants of the initiative develop an attitude against the reproduction and circulation of gynophobic, heterosexist, homophobic, transphobic, biphobic, militarist, chauvinist, racist, speciesist and biologist etc. statements no matter what the reason or occcasion is.
The CmDi conducts completely peaceful activities and pays regard to base all of its activities on peaceful methods and tools.
The participants of the initiative considers the catchword “the private / private space is political” valid not only for women but also for men. Accordingly, if it occurs that any of the participants shows an attitude or behaviour radically against the fundamental principals expressed in this manifesto, and verbally, symbolically or practically uses any violence, the initiative bases its opinion on the statement of the one who has been subject to violence and takes necessary steps within the framework of the same document.
“LET US PROCEED BACKWARDS, BROTHERS”
We want to free ourselves from being products of the masculine system that robs the right of each of us of being unique beings /men with our particular originalities, makes us fixed with a masculine mission destroying all possibilities of originality, renders us stakeholders of all crimes against women and forms of existence outside of the norm by means of this continuous, fixed mission that we carry as shackles in our minds, as chains on our feet and as stamps on our skins.
“All together” we are ashamed of being men! Each of us demands to exist individually with our own particularities instead of being “a man” within “all the same”! There is nothing for us to lose than being “a man”.
Our call is to men who have this dream and who want to have it: Not to build a new masculinity, not for a new integrity, but to destroy the integrity in which we are suffocating, the wall that integrates us and takes our breath away, and to be born on our own, with all our potentials of originality, as a being with all nakedness.
The critical masculinity Datça initiative is a call for dispersing, not for coming together! It is a call for losing together as men, not for winning “all together”!
We know that each loss of our masculinity and men is the gain of those who are outside of the norm!
We call to you:
Give up your militarist policies at home and abroad turning this country into a desert of men!
Give up popularizing individual armament by means of the state!
Give up lingual armament, the language of threat that now dominates every level of society and language!
Give up turning the man’s body into a weapon!
Disarm men! Men, disarm!
Our call is to all men / masculine structures, public force being in the first place: Slowly put down the arms in your hand, in your tongue, in your pocket, in your body!
Our call starting from Datça is to all men:
One step back! More back! Losing makes one free!
CRITICAL masculinity DATÇA initiative
(This manifesto has been prepared within the scope of the basic policy document of the Critical masculinity Datça initiative. The formation process of the initiative continues with the discussion process of the basic policy document.)