Men’s violence towards women in our communities remains appallingly high and if we are to tackle this violence we need to focus on the attitudes that enable men to think violence is ok and that trap them in the man box.

We are asking men to speak up about the #Outdated ideas they hear and sometimes feel pressured to conform to which research links to violence. We’ve all heard these phrases like Be A Man, Harden Up, Kids Should Be Silent, Treat E’m Mean Keep E’m Keen, and Show Them Who’s The Boss. We want to highlight behaviour that supports healthy masculinity.

One way of doing that in a public manner, is to create a short video and post it on your own social media feed and tag it with #Outdated. In the video, tell people why you are challenging the #Outdated ideas associated with old school masculinity, and or, tell us how you role-model the principles of healthy masculinity. Everyone is encouraged to take part, not just men.

To find out more click here.

Healthy masculinity is about being kind, empathetic, finding peaceful resolutions to problems. It is about boys and men being confident in who they are without feeling pressure to be a certain type of boy/man. This campaign continues our focus on Respectful Relationships which are built on equality between women and men, the effective use of non-violent communication, flexible gender behaviour for men and women and respectful sexual relationships, which includes consent.

Today boys and young men are still being taught unhelpful messages about what it is to be ‘Real Men’. As Tim Winton argues “Boys and young men are so routinely expected to betray their better natures, to smother their consciences, to renounce the best of themselves and submit to something low and mean. As if there’s only one way of being a bloke(!)” That such rules – or roles – of masculinity have remained constant, despite an increasing awareness that such rules hurt everybody, points to just how ingrained and pervasive these expectations can feel as evidenced by White Ribbon’s own research in 2019.

Let’s challenge the #outdated and support healthy masculinity which is a protection against violence.




When we say things like “Show them who’s boss”, “Kids should keep quiet” or “Treat em mean, keep em keen” we’re putting limits on how kids interact with their world and how they develop their relationships. Many men have grown up hearing these things and end up copying these unhealthy attitudes and behaviours – even if they don’t like or agree with them.  At their worst, these attitudes and behaviours can lead to violence toward women. This violence affects our families, our communities, and our whole country.

So how do we change it? In all of our relationships – whānau, friends, colleagues, teammates – we can challenge the #outdated stereotypes of what it means to be a man. We can role model healthy relationships and focus on strength that comes from a kaupapa of respect and aroha. We can call each other out and encourage more kōrero about gender equality.

By challenging each other in constructive ways we become stronger, and support change for those who need it the most. It’s time to shake off the old and reveal the new.


What your organisation can do to support White Ribbon and help to reduce violence



COVID19 Response

In an unprecedented national emergency, everyone in New Zealand has found themselves cooped up inside for the COVID-19 lockdown period. In any household, “cabin fever” creates tension – but it becomes a huge risk for families with a history of domestic violence. Use these simple behaviours to create a safe and happy lockdown for everyone.




White Ribbon promotes Respectful Relationships to prevent domestic and sexual violence against women.

Respectful Relationships are based on:

  • Equality between men and women. Gender equity in personal relationships and all social spheres, reduces violence against women.
  • Flexible gender behaviour for all. Having men breaking out of the Man Box and choosing their own masculine identity prevents the use of violence.
  • Non-violent communication. Men being emotionally aware and expressive gives them alternatives to aggression.
  • Enthusiastic consent for all sexual activities. Having willing participation is crucial to preventing sexual violence.

Check out the information in Respectful Relationships in the Toolbox section.




Challenge the #Unspoken Rules

Unspoken Rules are the expectations that boys and young men inherit from society, based on outdated ideas of what a man is, how he acts, and how he should express himself.

Even if we don’t agree with them, these rules still exist silently in the background for far too many. Rules like, Be the Man, Toughen Up and Boys Don’t Cry reinforce unhelpful stereotypes about what it is to be a man.

These #unspoken rules put pressure on boys and young men to behave in certain ways and dismiss behaviours perceived as“unmanly”,  leading them to suppress their emotions and their individuality. This affects how our boys and young men feel about themselves, and how they treat others. It affects how they approach their relationships, and can lead them to act disrespectfully – even violently – toward their partners.

We have the opportunity to use our voices as parents, caregivers and influencers to speak up over the #unspoken. By saying out loud to our boys and young men that it’s ok for them to be who they are, we can encourage them to define themselves as men who have respectful relationships – protecting our whole community.

For more information about the #UnspokenRules Campaign click here.

We hear the #UnspokenRules when we are young and for many they become ingrained, negatively affecting our behaviour and our relationships. This year we will hear from students about their take on Respectful Relationships (which are a protection against violence).


To help ends men’s violence, check out these eight actions.

Talk to women about their experiences with men – and believe what they tell you

Ask myself how I’ve treated women, and how I can behave more respectfully

Disrupt other men when they disrespect or threaten women – Bystander Intervention

Treat women as equals in everything we do and have less stress and be happier.

Choose how I will be a man and how I will act. Holding to rigid ideas is unhealthy.

Talk with young man about ‘breaking out of the man box’ you must appear tough etc

Think about what I’m watching and the media I use. Use your ‘crap-detector’.

Talk with young men about respectful relationships and porn. If you don’t who will?