Today it is essential and urgent to rethink, both from a socio-political point of view and at a symbolic level, the category of “masculine”, as so far it has been associated with the concept of power, strength, domination. The “patriarchal” dimension of masculinity can give way to an identity modeled on the relationship with those who live next to man. We talked to Sister Marzia Ceschia about it.
Today we point out the need, which has now become indispensable and urgent, to rethink, both from a socio-political and symbolic point of view, the category of “masculine”, as it has been associated so far with the concept of power. , force, dominion.
The “patriarchal” dimension of masculinity can give way to an identity modeled on the relationship with those who live next to man: sharing, not discriminating, remaining masculine.
It is urgent, and evangelically necessary, that the Church also reflect on internal inequalities and activate processes of redefining masculinity and femininity, on a horizon of liberating and liberating reciprocity.
We talked about this with my sister Marzia Ceschiaprofessor at the Theological Faculty of Triveneto, who will take a course in the 2022/2023 academic year on line in the license cycle, entitled “Rethinking masculinity” (12 hours, Thursday evening from 19 to 21.15 h; dates: 3, 10, 17 and 24 November 2022; info and registration email@example.com) .
- Sr. Marzia, what is the dominant ideal of masculinity today?
The ideal of masculinity that has been consolidated throughout history, although expressed in different contexts, has always been associated with the dimension of power and self-affirmation corresponding to a hierarchical position of man that justifies his prominence, superiority and, therefore, female subordination. or confining women to areas of care but not decision-making.
The introjected symbols of virility have become criteria for “measuring” the masculine and from which the feminine is defined at the same time, with obvious cultural, political, ecclesial and educational consequences.
- Patriarchy has oppressed women – feminicides are the tip of the iceberg – but it has also harmed men, limiting them to stereotypes of domination. In what terms can we talk about the crisis of masculinity today?
In today’s society, the traditional symbols of the masculine are inadequate in terms of the consciousness acquired by women, their emancipation, their autonomy. The roles traditionally transmitted by patriarchy do not stand the test of history.
What reactions are then triggered in men? Frustration, the feeling of threat, loss, opposition, violence as an extreme attempt to control, rethink and seek another representation. Everything is a language, a symbolic system that is in crisis and, as a result, traditional reference models can no longer stand it.
- How to rethink a masculinity free from patriarchal readings of sexual difference?
This is the challenge posed by the proposed path, without the presumption of reaching exhaustive conclusions, but by opening up perspectives for reflection and reflection. I think it’s important to be aware of what male narratives are emerging in our time, capturing the resistances, the changes that are taking place, to investigate their criticalities, stereotypes, and opportunities.
It is also important to work, rather than on the concept of equality, that of difference in the values it expresses to be different. A difference that does not exclude but that creates spaces for inclusion: paradigmatic is, in this sense, the path of Jesus of Nazareth that accompanied women and in whose experience they were actively present, not at all marginal, until the extreme space of the cross ..
Also significant is the masculinity expressed by Joseph of Nazareth, free from any claim to power, devoted to the custody of his affections, hands and silences.
- The “question of masculinity” brings together identity, function and roles. What are the new models of masculinity?
Sharing, relationship and care: I think there are three key words that allow us to overcome models of masculine – and also feminine – reduced to functions qualified as those of the masculine or feminine.
In the common participation in the territories of sharing and caring, the masculine and the feminine can be narrated in relation, in a climate contrary to that of power and control, in a reciprocity in which it is impossible to say and give without l the other. .
Only the dynamics of reciprocity can transform – to give life to new models, then – because in continuous reworking, free of schematisms, fixisms, prejudices to defend, to immobilize, because open to the discovery of another / other inexhaustible and from time to time so much. time unique time.
- What direction could or should we take on gender relations in the Church?
One of the most recurring words today is “synodality”, a term that focuses on the principle of communion, the empowerment of each contribution in view of a common mission, which requires careful listening to the other, acceptance of his originality of vision, a shared discernment.
How is the style, the experience of faith, the practice of men and women expressed in a synodal way today? How do men and women get involved in this spiritual process?
It is not a question, first of all, of giving spaces based on purely human evaluations, but first of all of paying attention to the mutual attention to charisms and to the words that arise from charisms.
And listening also means obeying “what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2: 7). The resonance of this Word in men and women today challenges Christian communities, but to what extent is seeing and judging really preceded by listening?