This is the third study featuring Jesuit Social Services’ The Men’s Project’s research into the consequences of Man Box pressures, first published in 2018 and modelled on Equimundo’s The Man Box study. The new study was made possible by the support of Respect Victoria.
“Our Man Box research sheds new light on what Australian men believe about what a “real man” thinks, feels and does, and the negative impacts of believing in outdated ideas of masculinity,” says Matt Tyler, Executive Director – Community and Systems Impact at Jesuit Social Services.
“These Man Box pressures tell men to be tough, fight back, never say no to sex and avoid household chores. It boxes men in and limits their potential. Our research finds that when men believe these rules, the results can be devastating for people in their lives, particularly women, as well as for men themselves.”
Respect Victoria, the state agency focusing on preventing violence against women and family violence, supported Jesuit Social Services in the development of the report.
“To prevent violence against women and family violence we need to understand the harmful forms of masculinity that can drive it. This research is critical to understanding how we prevent men’s violence, and how men can be supported to challenge dangerous ideas about what it means to be a man,” says Respect Victoria Chair Kate Fitz-Gibbon.
“While some of the findings are concerning, the research does reflect that a majority of men in Australia don’t personally believe in the damaging ideas contained within the Man Box. A strong focus on primary prevention efforts will continue to shift the dial on men’s attitudes towards themselves and others.”
The study found:
- 37 per cent of men aged 18-45 felt social pressure to follow the Man Box rules
- 25 per cent of men aged 18-45 personally believed in the Man Box rules
- The men who most strongly agreed with the Man Box rules compared with the men who least strongly agreed with them were:
- 31 times more likely to believe domestic violence should be handled privately
- 17 times more likely to have hit their partner
- 9 times more likely to blame a woman for making a man hit her
- 8 times more likely have thoughts of suicide nearly every day
- 6 times for likely to have forced a partner to do something sexual that is degrading or humiliating
- 6 times more likely to exhibit signs of problem gambling (in fact, more than half of the men who most strongly agreed with Man Box rules met the criteria for problem gambling); and
- Twice as likely to binge drink.