The idea for the new “man-free” festival was created by comedian Emma Knyckare. Photo: Kitty Lingmerth/Statement Festival
The organizers behind Sweden’s Statement Festival are facing questions over how they will define and enforce their “man free” policy.
Earlier this week fresh information was revealed about the event created by comedian Emma Knyckare in response to reported sexual offences at music festivals, including its name, and that it will take place over two days in summer 2018.
It was also explained that the “man free” policy would be defined as keeping the event free from cisgender men. Cisgender is a term for a person whose gender identity corresponds to their sex at birth.
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That has provoked questions about some of the details however. On Instagram, user emma.bkstrm asked “why only cis men and not just men? Are transgender men less male?”.
The festival’s organizers replied that “of course they are equally male” and “we are taking the criticism on board and will discuss it internally next week to see if a revision is needed”.
A different user noted that “you have previously argued that transgender men know how it is to be vulnerable and oppressed, just like women, and should therefore be welcomed. What do you do with the rest of the men who are vulnerable and oppressed, then? Homosexual men, non-white men? Are they welcome? I don’t buy your logic. Men are men, full stop”.
“That’s an argument we’ll take on during the coming days and the project group will discuss it during a meeting next week to see if the decision needs to be reconsidered or not,” the festival replied.
Knyckare explained to The Local earlier this week that the plan is for Statement Festival to be staffed 100 percent by women and feature only female artists. She defended the idea of a gender-segregated festival as necessary:
“All men are not rapists, but almost all rapes are carried out by men. We want to create a free space, a cool festival where women can be without feeling worried. A festival is not the solution, but a reaction to the problem. The goal with the festival is that there shouldn’t need to be separatist events.”
The festival is being crowdfunded and has reached around half of its 500,000 kronor ($62,800) funding goal.