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The Man Box (2024)

The 2024 study, The Man Box 2024: Re-examining what it means to be a man in Australia, was released in February 2024 in partnership with Respect Victoria. The Man Box 2024 asked more than 3,500 Australian men aged 18 to 45 about whether they men perceive social messages that a “real man” thinks and acts a certain way and whether they personally agreed with these messages. It also explored the association between their views on masculinity and a range of behaviours and life outcomes.

“The Man Box 2024” 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 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.

*compared with the men who least strongly agreed with the Man Box rules.

This study was completed in partnership with Respect Victoria.

For the full report, fact sheets, and other resources, click the link below.

Unpacking the Man Box

How attitudes to manhood predict behaviour among young Australian men

The Unpacking the Man Box report (published 2019) builds on the findings of The Man Box report, and uncovers how attitudes towards masculinity impacts behaviour. Unpacking the Man Box is based on a survey of 1000 young Australian men aged 18 to 30.

Download the full report

Unpacking the Man Box finds adherence with Man Box beliefs has a stronger impact on whether young men will use violence, sexually harass women, or experience mental ill-health than other factors including their education levels, where they live, or their cultural heritage.

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.

The Adolescent Man Box

Key findings

The Adolescent Man Box extends The Man Box research to a younger age group, assessing the level of societal messaging about Man Box rules towards adolescents, as well as the extent to which adolescent boys accept or endorse these rules.

The report found four pillars of masculinity (the Adolescent Man Box rules), reflecting the following values:

  • Constant efforts to be manly: the norm that boys must maintain a strong and confident persona in order to appear manly.
  • Emotional restriction: assumptions about masculinity involving the hiding of emotions and remaining emotionally invulnerable.
  • Heterosexism: representing traditional ideas around masculinity as being in opposition to behaviours traditionally considered feminine.
  • Social teasing: attitudes around the proposal that to be masculine boys must be able to tease their friends and stand up to such teasing when it is directed at them.

The Man Box (2018)

The Man Box 2018 was the first comprehensive study focusing on the attitudes to manhood and the behaviours of young Australian men aged 18 to 30.

Key findings
  • The majority of young men surveyed agree there are social pressures on them to act a certain way because of their gender.
  • The majority of young men surveyed disagreed with the Man Box beliefs, but there is still a large number who agree with some of the beliefs that make up the Man Box.
  • Young men who most strongly agree with these rules report poorer levels of mental health, engage in risky drinking, are more likely to be in car accidents, and are more likely to report committing acts of violence, online bullying and sexual harassment.
  • Living up to the pressures of being a ‘real man’ causes harm to young men and those around them, particularly women.
  • We need action in the form of new programs to improve men’s health, wellbeing and safety and benefit the whole community.
Learn more about The Men’s Project’s programs and workshops for schools, organisations, and workplaces.