Theater of Cruelty

The offended man

The offended man: defending a discontinued model
Forfatter: Tobias Haberl
Forlag: Piper forlag, (Tyskland)
SEX / Here the male author asks: "How could I understand that I found myself in a culture that wants to identify with the very heroes that legitimize this culture's dominance?"


It is something that all people on earth relate to, care about and are blessed with. It is also something that no one escapes. It is one of the most personal topics between people. Sex.

Gender means identity, destiny, strife, sexuality and power. These elements move as if in an interactive web. Over time, a main pattern has formed which has been given the term 'gender roles'. In industrialized society, structures were formed that favored men in matters such as finances, education, position, prestige. The right to vote was long reserved for men, which gave him political supremacy.

It was here that the women's rebellion broke out in earnest. In Norway, women got the right to vote in 1913. Since then, the women's struggle in modern society has quickly achieved victories. Manone misses a similar development. After all – the 'soft' man was already a topic in the 1970s. We believe we have come a long way in Norway, the country where the (male) Prime Minister could, long ago, with the greatest of naturalness, close the door to the office at 16pm to pick up children from kindergarten. The egalitarian country. Not to compare with countries like Chile. March 8 is a big day of struggle – on the streets and in the media. But in countries we otherwise have a lot in common with, like Germany?

IA-Libertà-©Marco De Angelis (Italy)

Striking balance

A dazed man stands there with his ID card in hand, wondering what happened, asking "who am I?". He must see his privileges permanently revoked, such as he did not even know were privileges. On top of it all, he has become the target of women's accumulated resentment. He sees that the pattern is unraveling, and that he must reorient himself.

One such man is Tobias Haberl, a writer in his 40s from Munich. He has the sympathetic quality that he wants to test his own masculinity and meet women halfway. He knows where to start – with himself. That meant many thresholds of consciousness for an over-protected boy child, with one paterfamilias who cultivated his medical profession to perfection, who took responsibility for all the family's financial and organizational needs, until one day he retired and for the first time in his life set foot in a supermarket. Here it stopped. Tobias' mother had taken care of all that – the home, the children, the education. It was a good, caring and particularly out-of-date home.

In the female/male ratio as of 2023, Tobias is 100 percent self-taught. As such, he has come a long way, for example when he asks: "How could I understand that I had not noticed the female voice because it had been overheard and ignored or silenced in a male-dominated society? How could I understand that I found myself in a culture that wants to identify with the very heroes that legitimize this culture's domination?”

Thus, it is about balance. The longing for a masculinity that does not deny itself, but which also does not strive for the alpha male ideal. It is stressful. For now, it seems to Tobias that most men fall under the category of 'old white man' – regardless of age. A bunch of discontinued models. The kind you can say anything about, just nothing good. The author Haberl, for his part, cannot portray a well-known feminist, with a well-founded assessment of good and bad, without meeting a veritable shitstorm in social media. He has landed in the zeitgeist, the one that basically gives the woman right and the man wrong. He asks: “What does it mean to be a man today when you don't want to run through life like a commander, but also not like a flagship feminist – when you consider yourself critically but don't want to be thrown away like an old shirt? »

Tobias initially answers the question by quoting Virginia Woolf in her essay A Room of One's Own from 1929. She describes an imaginary sister of William Shakespeare in the 16th century: “Of course she also wanted to write and travel the world, but she was prevented and married off to a rich man; she probably did her 'duty' for a while before running away to London to make her dreams come true, but there she was rejected by all the theaters and sooner or later had children. In the end, she probably killed herself.”

Tobias Haberl

A stable position

The page has turned. Now the man must be careful. If he stands up for a woman on the bus or holds the door for her, he risks being scolded. When, a couple of years ago, German Playboy ditched bare chests in favor of advice on taking care of nature and consistently said goodbye to the traditional man, it was clear to Haberl that an era was coming to an end. He began to miss men who bet everything, without thinking likes and consequences, which took the step towards elegance, generosity, spontaneity, risk-taking and excess. He thought of men who were likable enough, but at the same time clumsy, heavy-handed and confused because so much had changed that they no longer understood either the world or themselves. He thought of right-wing extremists and Islamists – all violated men who suffered from inferiority complexes og magnanimous madness. Men who were so used to privilege that equality felt like oppression.

He has landed in the zeitgeist, the one that basically gives the woman right and the man wrong.

Tobias Haberl eventually found a stable position that opened up for mature thoughts about a bigger picture: "In a mixture of rage, anxiety and helplessness, many men choose populists like Trump, Erdoğan or Orbán, those who openly confess their misogyny and knows how to use these men's frustration by whispering in their ear that their status can be preserved, that everything can be as it once was – 'a life without climate change, refugees, streaming services and generation Greta, who block the streets with posters and sneakers '."

The violence statistics say something about how far we still have to go. Every tenth woman in Europe has experienced being raped. It applies to both – all – sexes to step over their own shadow. Find your way to each other, not from each other. – And according to Friedrich , etzsche#'s advice: "Don't throw away the hero in your soul."

Ranveig Eckhoff
Ranveig Eckhoff
Eckhoff is a regular reviewer for Ny Tid.

You may also like