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Australian Brand Working to Promote Positive Masculinity

Australian Brand Working to Promote Positive Masculinity

Australian brand MADE FOR MAN™ has recently created the MADE FOR MAN™ Foundation to support initiatives that provide Australian men with tools to take care of their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

 

Australian men have faced extreme societal expectations to look and behave in a “traditionally masculine” way for a long time. Expressing emotion or asking for help was seen as a weakness and not considered “manly.”

 

Essentially, any “traditionally feminine” quality was seen as a negative attribute and would face ridicule. For example, “you throw like a girl” in the case of physical weakness, or “don’t cry like a little girl” in the case of showing emotion, or if a man had a higher pitch or softer voice, they might be ostracised.

 

Many Australian men have developed a hard masculine shell and have grown up believing masculinity is superior. They have been taught that the best way to gain respect from others is through presenting in a masculine way. This has led to the development of toxic masculinity, which can be detrimental to everyone in the community, especially to Australian men’s mental and emotional health.

 

However, in recent years, mental health organisations have become focused on tackling toxic masculinity in our communities. The MADE FOR MAN™ Foundation is dedicated to helping these initiatives through the promotion of positive masculinity.

 

Positive masculinity works to combat the large-scale issues that toxic masculinity can lead to, such as domestic violence, violence against the LGBTQ+ community, suicide, bullying, substance abuse and the general neglect of men’s physical health.

 

Defining Masculinity

 

At its essence, masculinity is defined as the set of attributes, behaviours, and roles traditionally attributed to men and boys. However, this set of characteristics constantly changing depending on multiple factors such as time period or culture. For example, it is very common for male friends in Arab cultures to hold hands and be very affectionate. However, in contemporary white-Australian culture, this may be seen as emasculating.

 

Also, what we consider as masculine norms in the present day, are very different to 100 or even 500 years ago. Therefore, it becomes clear that our idea of masculinity is socially constructed. We can see how toxic masculinity can lead to other serious social issues such as racism and xenophobia with these examples in mind.

 

Many argue that some inherent traits are ‘biologically’ masculine. Although we can recognise generalised biological differences between men and women, this line of thought has been damaging in the past. It promotes the idea that there is a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ way to be a man, leading to toxic masculinity.

 

What Is Toxic Masculinity?

 

Toxic masculinity manifests in many different ways. Ultimately, it stems from the pressure put on men to act in a certain manner, to be seen as a “valid” male within their society.

 

The research surrounding toxic masculinity is relatively new, in the context of how long humans have been studying ideas of gender and gender difference. However, researchers have agreed that the core aspects of toxic masculinity include:

 

  • Power: Men feel to gain the respect of others, they must work toward achieving power and status in their careers and social life. Often there is also pressure to be seen as holding power in romantic relationships, be the one that “wears the pants in the relationship”, and be the provider.

 

  • Anti-Femininity: Men feel pressured to reject what are seen to be feminine behaviours such as showing emotion, empathy or accepting help.

 

  • Toughness: Men feel they need to be physically strong, distant from their emotions, and aggressive in their behaviour to be perceived as ideally masculine.

 

  • Glorification of Unhealthy Habits: Men feel pressure to push themselves to physical limits, perform dangerous activities, and abuse substances to impress their peers.

 

What is Positive Masculinity?

 

Positive masculinity is all about rejecting the narrow-minded view of what it means to be a man. It encourages emotional vulnerability, moral fortitude and empathy. Positive masculinity boosts men’s confidence in taking care of themselves, and behaving naturally rather than feeling they have to stick to gender expectations.

 

A large component of positive masculinity, as stated by author and contributor to The Good Man Project, Maeve Allen, is not being ashamed to embrace traditionally feminine qualities. This includes self-care, expressing emotions, talking about how they are feeling, and taking the time to listen and empathise with their friends and family (especially their male peers).

 

Positive masculinity aids not only mental and emotional health but also physical wellbeing. Australian men are more likely to get sick from serious health issues than Australian women; men visit the doctor less frequently, have shorter visits, and tend to seek medical advice for illnesses at a much later stage.

 

In general, men have the same access to health care services as women, yet they are utilising them far less. Why is this the case?

 

This is largely due to the definition of masculinity in Australia leaning on “strength and silence.” The ‘you’ll be right’ attitude bred amongst Australian men, the idealisation of being ‘tough’, and the rejection of seeking help as a feminine action leads to many men neglecting their physical health. Positive masculinity helps to encourage men to look after themselves and not see it as a weakness or an embarrassment to address their health problems.

 

This is an essential component of positive masculinity, as a recent health survey found that men die in greater numbers than women from almost all non-sex-specific or non-domestic-violence related health problems.

 

Supporting Positive Masculinity is Essential to The Future of Australian Communities

 

The next generations of Australian men deserve to grow up in a world that rewards positive masculinity and rejects conforming to the impossible standards of toxic masculinity.

 

The MADE FOR MAN™ Foundation is making every effort to work towards this future. The foundation receives 5% of every sale of MADE FOR MAN™ products to support organisations and initiatives in the community making a positive difference.

 

To learn more and to support the MADE FOR MAN™ Foundation, please visit our MFM Foundation webpage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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