Unpacking the Man Box

A report that builds on the findings of The Men’s Project’s 2018 report 'The Man Box'.


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Published in 2019, Unpacking the Man Box surveyed 1,000 young Australian men aged 18 to 30 to find adherence with Man Box beliefs has a stronger impact than other surveyed factors on young men’s use of violence and experience of ill mental health.

The initial Man Box report found that young Australian men who believe in outdated masculine stereotypes were themselves at higher risk of using violence, online bullying and sexual harassment, engaging in risky drinking and reporting poorer levels of mental health.

The new study finds young Australian men’s belief in rigid masculine stereotypes has a stronger impact on whether they will use violence, sexually harass women, or experience mental ill-health themselves, than other factors including their education levels, where they live or their cultural heritage.

Unpacking the Man Box finds men’s adherence to outdated attitudes to gender is over:

  • 25 times more accurate than a range of demographic variables in predicting the use of physical violence, sexual harassment, verbal bullying and cyber bullying
  • 22 times more accurate in predicting the experience of physical violence, verbal bullying and cyber bullying
  • 11 times more accurate than demographics at predicting very risky drinking; and
  • 10 times more accurate than demographics at predicting negative feelings and emotions

The report includes a range of recommendations to support young men to break free of the man box, live healthy lives and be their best selves.

Unpacking the Man Box is produced by Jesuit Social Services’ The Men’s Project and Dr Michael Flood, Associate Professor at Queensland University of Technology, with funding from VicHealth.