WHAT really makes a man strong? Are you less of a man if you cry? And what is the real measure of a bloke in 2015?
In the same way that Dove Women has started a global conversation around real beauty, the iconic brand has now turned their attention to men, with Dove men+Care launching a campaign partnership with The Wake Up Foundation to get men talking about the modern concept of masculinity.
And the results of their research are a real conversation starter.
The study of Aussie blokes found that while 91 per cent of men respect other men who show their emotions, 62 per cent say they feel uncomfortable crying in front of others for fear it will be viewed as a sign of weakness.
Furthermore, 86 per cent believe the concept of masculinity has changed since their father’s generation, yet nine in ten per cent believe this shift isn’t accurately depicted in the media.
Perhaps more alarmingly, compared to other countries surveyed, Australian men are less comfortable showing emotions or demonstrating caring behaviours that they think might be considered as ‘un-masculine’.
So why is it that nine out of ten men believe it is important to encourage the next generation of boys to express their feelings, yet struggle to be emotionally honest themselves?
Here, six prominent Australian men share their thoughts on what makes a man strong and why showing your emotion is more important than ever.
Paddy Ryan, Wallabies player
“The main thing that I’ve picked up over the last few years is about getting the balance right. You have to show passion and aggression on a rugby field, which is part of your identity and the way you make a living and define yourself, but you’ve also got to be able to express yourself emotionally where it counts with your partner, with your family and with your kids - and getting that balance is something that I’m striving to do.”
Dave Dennis — Wallabies captain
“The real measure of strength is a guy staying true to himself. No matter whether he’s in a contest in a rugby game or at home with his partner or he’s at the pub with someone he doesn’t know, the real measure of a man for me is staying true to himself in every situation. You’ll always get a better response.”
Cameron Clyne, ex NAB CEO
“True men in gender respect — they’re the ones that will stand out from the crowd in many ways, they’re the ones that won’t necessarily jump in on the bullying — will step back a bit and say I’m not going to be the participant in that, or I’m going to step in and help the boy that’s being bullied, I’m going to show genuine respect for women, and I’m not going to talk in a way or act in a way that degrades them. They’re the messages I’d certainly give to them (young men), because then you’re your own man, you’re free to make your own choices, you’re comfortable with talking about why you made those choices, and you’re comfortable about being the man that does the difficult thing which is sometimes step in against the crowd, and protect those that actually need protection or are more vulnerable.”
Michael Cheika, Wallabies coach
“I think that the only thing a man should be is true to what he believes. So if he believes something and that’s who he is then he should be that person and he shouldn’t be someone else because he read it in a magazine or he saw it on a TV show, or he saw it on a music video even, you know what I mean, or in a video game. And that’s what I think they should be, is true to themselves, and that could be anything.”
Michael Cheika talks #Realstrength
David Koch, Sunrise host
“My 27-year-old son even when he was in Year 12 at school would still kiss his grandfather when he came to watch him play rugby, so for a lot of families, (showing emotion) is natural, but for a lot of broken families where there’s not a male role model, a lot of young boys don’t know how to act as a bloke and I think that’s the big issue.”
Michael Usher, 60 Minutes reporter
“Isn’t this bizarre? I’ve actually found this hard to answer. What makes me strong? It’s not something men find easy to answer. I’ve actually had a lot of time to think about this in the past year, but I guess I just haven’t had to say it out loud, however I have to say honesty and humility makes me strong. I think. Sometimes life tests you, and you don’t know how strong you are until that happens. Making mistakes and admitting them has made me stronger, I hope. Asking for help, which can be so hard as a bloke, and appreciating great friends and family much better has certainly made me stronger. And I love that my kids have made me stronger. Nothing makes me happier or more confident than them. I feel like I’m a much stronger, content man now as a 44 year old than the 24 or 34 year old me who thought he was bulletproof. Emotional strength is so important - and not taking yourself too seriously which my kids definitely make sure doesn’t happen!”
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