With our new show Mimeomia debuting in London this summer, we felt that it was important to start a discussion about the role of masculinity within our society and how it affects us. As young theatre makers we are intrigued and passionate about how our society shifts and grows – growing to become more accepting, braver and courageous.
Katie was the first to raise issues concerning masculinity to the company, encouraging a discussion in which all members could state their opinions. This discussion was present in the early stages of Mimeomia (at the time called #Two or #SonderPt2) and has continued throughout the process. All the boys in Broken Chair have accepted we aren’t the most boisterous guys in the world – some would say we are probably all to close for comfort (and have seen things that mates should never see!) – BUT we wouldn’t say that we aren’t masculine. It’s a shame we have to define ourselves as masculine or not, but does it really matter if we are?
At the start of Mimeomia, AKA #SonderPt2 (It’s Not Pt2 BTW) Katie split us into groups and asked us to watch this video, which shows male public figures talk about their emotions and how they are expressed. The video itself is insightful, exposing masculinity at its barest form. As a company we were interested in how we’ve experienced masculinity and it was apparent that we we’re used to ignoring our emotions and not wanting to cry. Throughout the process we’ve discovered a lot about ourselves, how we deal with our emotions, our relationship with masculinity and who we are as humans in todays society.
12.5% of men in the UK suffer from common mental health disorders at some point in their lives, which is 7.8 million people. And that’s only the people who seek help. There’s a thin line in todays’ society between talking about your issues and being seen as ‘too emotional’, and there are times when its deemed acceptable for a man to cry and there are times when it is not. Why has this been allowed to be the ‘norm’ for so long? As a generation, a society and as human beings we have grown away from many traditional social constructs; only 2% of young men in the UK feel they are deemed masculine. For decades we followed the traditional masculine figure, of a man having a toned body, a deep voice, wearing a suit to work, offering stability to others, etc. We would all love a toned body, with a six-pack which isn’t beer, but that alone does not define you as being masculine. I believe, we are a part of a society that no longer follows the traditional forms and trends; we walk into life with an open mind and a supportive attitude. Masculinity and femininity have many traits and many of us have a handful of both, I know I do but that doesn’t make me any less of a man than Carl or Ben, or my boss or the stranger on the tube.
It’s amazing to notice how many people have a volatile relationship with masculinity and therefore as a society we naturally want to support one another and create awareness. I know as individuals and as a company, myself, Ben, Victoria, Katie and Carl look forward to performing Mimeomia over the next year, but also doing what we can do to raise awareness when off stage.
Let’s support one another, love one another, and cry with one another. Lets #BeOkay