Today boys and young men are still being taught unhelpful messages about what it is to be ‘Real Men™’: “Man up, Sit down, Chin up, Pipe down, Socks up, Don't cry, Drink up, Don't whine, Grow some balls”. As author Tim Winton beautifully argues, “boys and young men are so routinely expected to betray their better natures, to smother their consciences, to renounce the best of themselves and submit to something low and mean. As if there’s only one way of being a bloke, one valid interpretation of the part, the role, if you like.” That such rules – or roles – of masculinity have remained constant, despite an increasing awareness that such rules hurt everybody, points to just how ingrained and pervasive these expectations can feel as evidenced by White Ribbon’s own research in 2019.
This campaign we are asking men to speak up about the #Outdated ideas they hear and sometimes feel pressured to conform to. We’ve all heard these phrases and this November we want to highlight behaviour that exemplifies healthy masculinity, and in doing so we will challenge the #Outdated. Healthy masculinity is about being kind, empathetic, finding peaceful resolutions to problems. It is about boys and men being confident in who they are without feeling pressure to be a certain type of boy/man (See the section on Healthy Masculinity for more information). This campaign continues our focus on Respectful Relationships which are built on equality between women and men, the effective use of non-violent communication, flexible gender behaviour for men and women and respectful sexual relationships, which includes consent.