2nd edition of the Meeting MinD: New Masculinities Alternatives deny myths: Romantic love DON’T KILL

Last 4th of June, the second edition of the Meeting Homes en Diàleg (Men in Dialogue) was held at the Pati Llimona community centre gathering a hundred of participants who completely fulfilled the room.

While the first edition celebrated last year involved masculinity and attractiveness, we wanted this time to deal with romantic love and dismantle those beliefs that say it’s the cause for gender violence, with absolute certainty that none research of international relevance link romantic love with violence but quite the opposite: it generates a preventive context for gender violence.

The first table, entitled “New alternative masculinities: Romantic love doesn’t kill”, was informed by Dr. Aitor Gómez, lecturer from Rovira i Virgili University, and Marcos Castro, a high school teacher. Their talk showed us the link between New Alternative Masculinities, which combines attractiveness with no violence, with the romantic love model, that is, the one that combines friendship and passion. The earlier part of the talk called into attention the scientific evidence that show that there is no direct correlation between gender violence and romantic love and, what’s more, those romantic love values can be useful for preventing relations based on attraction to violence.

That talk also guided us into the analysis of other relationship models that are introduced as romantic love stories while they are actually based on violence and humiliation, what confuses what romantic love really is. Accordingly, it has been revealed that gender violence is based on the masculinity model chosen rather than romantic love: if that model is Traditional Dominant Masculinity, that relation might end becoming violent.

The second part of the meeting was used to break some stereotypes about other cultures and its supposed inherent sexism or gender violence. The focus were Roma and Romanian communities. On the first, we had the participation of Fernando Macías, who brought evidence about how the Roma not only does not promote gender violence but generate prevention mechanisms against it. All the same way, Liviu Mara provided examples of how sexist stereotypes about Romanian culture are completely false and, as well as in our culture, creating romantic love-based relationships prevent gender violence. The last was a practical and participative part that consisted in viewing and debate of some clips from two films. The first clip was taken from the film “Three steps above heaven”, which is auto-defined as a romantic-love story but actually shows a relationship based on violence and humiliation. Another clip played was from “Coyote Ugly”, where you can see a romantic love relationship where a permanent devotion from the protagonists to fight for each other happiness at the same time that there is a great feeling of mutual attraction.

The discussion generated by this films was enriching and clarifying as long as most of the speeches showed that there is a great confusion about romantic love and how a false romanticism justify actions of gender violence. Also clarified how romantic love-based relationships crave that ideal where involved persons can reach their full development.

Last, but not least, the symposium was concluded by Mrs. Ivet Castaño, Institut Català de les Dones (Catalan Institute for Women) territorial coordinator in Barcelona, who emphasized the importance of fighting gender violence together, men and women, and showed satisfied with the diverse age, gender or culture of the attendees.

After the meeting, from Homes en Diàleg, we want to manifest our satisfaction with the high quality of the talks and the great attendance reached, what encourages us to keep working on future editions to have a real impact that contributes to gender violence eradication.