The Man Box

The first comprehensive study that focuses on the attitudes to manhood and the behaviours of young Australian men aged 18 to 30.

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The Man Box

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

Overview

The Man Box report finds that the pressures relating to being a man are everywhere in society and are reinforced and influenced by young men’s closest relationships – families, partners and friends.

Across all levels of society there must be a focus on building awareness of the Man Box norms and their harmful impacts. Positive alternatives should be promoted.

Everyone can take action by talking about the pressures of the Man Box with the boys and men in their lives, and by modelling positive alternatives to the Man Box norms in front of boys and young men.

We recommend action across a range of levels, from government to business, to community and academia to develop and test new approaches to these issues with young men. We also recommend further research to understand these issues in more detail.


Key findings

  • The Man Box is alive and well in Australia today. The majority of young men agree there are social pressures on them to behave or 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, including being strong, not showing vulnerability, always being in control and men being the primary providers at home.
  • Living up to the pressures of being a ‘real man’ causes harm to young men and those around them, particularly women.
  • 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 to report committing acts of violence, online bullying and sexual harassment.
  • We need action across the community and in the form of new programs which will deliver benefits to society, as well as to the young men themselves in terms of health, wellbeing and safety.

Across all levels of society there must be a focus on building awareness of the Man Box norms and their harmful impacts. Positive alternatives should be promoted.

Everyone can take action by talking about the pressures of the Man Box with the boys and men in their lives, and by modelling positive alternatives to the Man Box norms in front of boys and young men.

We recommend action across a range of levels, from government to business, to community and academia to develop and test new approaches to these issues with young men. We also recommend further research to understand these issues in more detail.


Impact

The Man Box research continues to positively influence approaches to engaging men and boys. Groups across Victoria using the research in health promotion activities, including the following organisations:

  • Community organisations such as Women’s Health organisations and Men’s Behaviour Change programs
  • Government, including VicHealth’s Healthier Masculinities Frameworkand the Department of Education as part of curriculum delivery in schools
  • Our Watch – in the Men in Focus Report
  • The Domestic Violence Resource Centre in gender equality training workshops
  • Organisational settings, such as Yarra Ranges Council and Hobsons Bay Council

The Men’s Project is using The Man Box findings to inform the design of innovative services across family and adolescent violence programs as well as to engage at-risk boys in schools.

The Man Box research was also an input into The Men’s Project’s program for role models: Modelling Respect and Equality (MoRE). MoRE recruits, trains and supports male and female role models including teachers, social workers and sports coaches. These role models are supported to promote positive expressions of masculinity and promote respect and equality among boys and men.

2023 Annual Dinner

Please join us for our Annual Dinner on 25 March 2023.