14. Talk with a man in your life about healthy masculinity

Have a conversation with a male friend, family member or colleague about healthy masculinity and being ‘a man’.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Watch Tony Porter’s TED Talk ‘A call to men‘ together, and discuss what resonates with you.
  • Discuss how the media is dominated with images/stories of the ideal man as someone who is rewarded for fighting by getting the girl as a prize. Reflect on how this might affect the health and wellbeing of both men and women.
  • Identify men who you think demonstrate healthy and alternative forms of masculinity. These might be men who express emotions, are nurturing, are active fathers, take on non-traditional roles or tasks, and have healthy sex lives that are based on consent and mutual enjoyment. Discuss why you admire these men.

How does it help?

Men and boys are bombarded with messages that to be a ‘man’ or ‘manly’ they need to be physically strong, tough or aggressive; be dominant and in charge; show no emotions (particularly fear, hurt or pain); and achieve sexual conquest over women.

Research demonstrates that “levels of violence against women are significantly and consistently higher in societies, communities and relationships where there are more rigid distinctions between the roles of men and women” and that “men who hold traditional, hierarchical views about gender roles and relationships are more likely to perpetrate violence against women. (Our Watch, 2015: 25).

Promoting healthy, alternative and diverse masculinities is an important part of preventing men’s violence against women.

Keep going!

Keep the conversation going about healthy masculinity with the men in your life:

  • Watch the film ‘The Mask You Live In’ about harmful masculinity and gender stereotypes for men, and share this with male friends, family members of colleagues.
  • Call out statements from men that support harmful, aggressive or controlling ideas about masculinity.

Please note that these clips/articles contain information regarding the topics of sexism, gender inequality and violence against women. If you find the information distressing, please click through for information and support on self care. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, please visit the our help section for further information and support.