Daily Bulletin


News

  • Written by Michael Flood, Associate Professor, Queensland University of Technology

Among men in Australia, why do some use violence? Why do other men drink to excess and feel hopeless or suicidal, while many men do not?

A national survey of Australian men aged 18 to 30, completed by The Men’s Project at Jesuit Social Services with funding from VicHealth, finds men’s support for stereotypical ideas about what it means to be a man is a key influence. In fact, it has a greater influence on negative behaviour than other factors, including men’s education, occupation, ethnicity or where they live.

Belief in stereotypical masculine norms among men is around 20 times more important than demographic variables in predicting the use of physical violence, sexual harassment and online bullying. Endorsement of these masculine norms is also 11 times more influential than other factors in predicting binge drinking and ten times more influential in predicting negative mood.

The survey asked men in Australia about their endorsement of a series of statements linked to seven stereotypical masculine qualities: self-sufficiency, toughness, physical attractiveness, rigid gender roles, heterosexuality and homophobia, hypersexuality, and aggression and control. The survey also gathered data about various aspects of men’s behaviour and well-being.

An earlier report by The Men’s Project on the same data documented the influence of overall conformity to masculinity. But this report examines how influential conforming to masculine ideals is in men’s behaviour – and the answer is, profoundly so.

Read more: Forceful and dominant: men with sexist ideas of masculinity are more likely to abuse women

This new report’s first finding is that men’s endorsement of stereotypical masculine norms has a powerful influence on a large number of harmful attitudes and behaviours. In fact, it dwarfed other possible influences such as education, occupation and ethnicity.

Shutterstock Some masculine stereotypes are particularly corrosive to men and those around them.

This first finding is striking. It should be a wake-up call to policymakers and advocates addressing social problems, such as violence, suicide, risky drinking and poor mental health, to pay attention to masculinity.

The report also had two further findings, complicating simplistic claims about the impact of traditional masculine norms.

The second finding is that some elements of traditional masculinity are more harmful than others, and other elements of masculinity may play a protective role.

Some elements of traditional masculinity have far stronger relationships than others with negative outcomes such as violent behaviour, suicidal thoughts and not seeking help. We found that “rigid gender roles” and “aggression and control” were the strongest predictors of negative outcomes, particularly of violence against women and other men.

However, some elements of traditional masculinity can have associations with positive outcomes – they are protective of men’s health. For example, although further research is needed, those men who agree that men should “act tough” were less likely to report experiencing thoughts of suicide. This accords with three recent examinations of men’s health that found particular masculine norms can have positive or negative associations with men’s health.

So, it matters which norms men endorse. But it also matters which outcome is the object of concern.

The third finding in the report is that particular unhealthy outcomes and behaviours are shaped more by some masculine norms than others.

The perpetration of violence against women or other men, for example, was associated most strongly with men’s conformity to “rigid gender roles” and “aggression and control”. That is, men were more likely than other men to have used violence when they agreed more with statements such as:

If a guy has a girlfriend or wife, he deserves to know where she is all the time.

Men should use violence to get respect if necessary.

It is not good for a boy to be taught how to cook, sew, clean the house or take care of younger children.

Suicidal thoughts were associated most strongly with men’s conformity to “hypersexuality”“ and "self-sufficiency”, as well as to other elements of traditional masculinity.

That is, men were more likely to have had suicidal thoughts in the past fortnight if they endorsed statements such as:

A real man should have as many sexual partners as he can.

Men should figure out their personal problems on their own without asking others for help.

These survey findings have important implications for our understandings of men and ideas of masculinity.

We must encourage community conversations about healthy and unhealthy models of manhood. The key tasks here are to highlight the harms of elements of traditional masculinity, weaken its cultural grip and promote healthy and ethical alternatives.

There is substantial diversity in men’s actual agreement with traditional masculine norms. Some men and boys actively resist these norms and their peers’ routine policing of them.

Read more: Australian study reveals the dangers of 'toxic masculinity' to men and those around them

Policymakers, educators and others seeking to address violence, mental health, suicide, alcohol abuse and other issues will need to pay attention to the role of masculine norms.

We must step up the work of improving gender relations in Australia: adopting “gender-transformative” approaches, scaling up effective initiatives to engage men and boys, and incorporating attention to masculinity in existing health promotion efforts.

To make progress, we must also explore how best to shift unhealthy masculine norms and to foster positive alternatives. Attitudes and norms are not the only target of change, as they are bound up with wider institutions and social conditions. Let us support current and future generations of men, alongside women, to lead healthy, equitable and positive lives.

Authors: Michael Flood, Associate Professor, Queensland University of Technology

Read more https://theconversation.com/inside-the-man-box-how-rigid-ideas-of-manning-up-harm-young-men-and-those-around-them-143081

Writers Wanted

Heading back to the playground? 10 tips to keep your family and others COVID-safe

arrow_forward

Qatar expresses 'regrets' for 'any distress' to women invasively searched in baby incident

arrow_forward

Education & More – Family Tips on How to Settle in Bangkok

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Business News

AppDynamics Solves Visibility Gap Between Traditional Infrastructure and Cloud Environments

New Full Stack Observability Platform, Integration With Cisco Intersight Workload Optimizer and Cloud Native Visualisation Features Provide Cross Domain Insights and Analytics of Business Perfor...

Hotwire Global - avatar Hotwire Global

Why Your Small Business Should Bulk Buy Hand Sanitiser

As a small business owner, employee and customer safety is at the very top of your priority list. From risk assessments to health and safety officers, appropriate signage and proper briefing...

News Co - avatar News Co

How Phone Number Search In Sydney Can Help Your Business

To run a successful business, keeping track of your company and competitors are the major factors. With a lot of tools, available businesses have options to stay current. One way in which busine...

News Co - avatar News Co



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion