2023 white ribbon ride

Boys will be Boys

White Ribbon aims to flip the script of “boys will be boys” and focus on all the great qualities boys and men can demonstrate if that’s what they are taught.

This year we are encouraging dads, caregivers and mentors to speak to their children about these core issues – respectful relationships, consent and healthy masculinity. The reality is that boys become the men we teach them to be.

We can all play a part in teaching boys to be caring, supportive, ethical, respectful, friendly, generous, and awesome, and reduce the amount of family violence in our community.

You can find resources to help you do this on the ‘downloads‘ and ‘toolbox‘ tabs.

This White Ribbon Campaign we want to promote healthy masculinity through our new campaign Boys will be Boys. We’re taking back the phrase that excuses poor behaviour and flipping it on its head.

There are awesome things about being a boy that we need to celebrate.

  • Boys have heart – encourage them to show it, not just in being tough or brave or strong but in showing that they care.
  • Boys can and should cry – it’s part of being human and it serves a purpose, expressing your feelings allows you to work through them – bottling up emotions isn’t healthy.
  • Boys can play sport, be part of a team, like fast cars and still stand up and speak out when they hear others being abusive.
  • Boys are loyal friends and can call others in – have a quiet chat with a mate if he says something abusive or offensive about girls or women, don’t just let it go. Share your feelings, ask why they feel that way – you can help. Be the change you want to see in the world. Every person can make a difference.

It takes strength and bravery to stand up and speak out in a world that too often wants to limit you to stereotypical gender roles. We need to celebrate the good we see in our young men and change the script.

Men can be part of the solution. Talk to your son or the boys in the team you coach, or at your school about being a good human and what that looks like in your daily life. Be an ally and help them make good choices.

So many of the hyper masculine stereotypes hurt men as well as women. If we look at violence, not just against women, but also between men, incarceration rates, mental health struggles and suicide statistics, it is obvious these perceived rules of masculinity are broken and hurt men. We need to give our sons and all the boys in our lives the tools for a healthy violence-free life. Everyone feels angry, there is no shame in that – we just need to work on how we express these emotions in a way that helps not hurts us. Both men and women benefit from equality.

Check out the download section for new online resources including posters, Facebook and Instagram resources, videos, Toolboxes and other helpful campaign tools or here for the campaign outline.

Rob McCann
White Ribbon Manager















If we want change, we must encourage boys and men to recruit and educate other boys and men in ways that lift each other up. An effective way to do this is by ‘inviting’ men, rather than indicting them. This means not only modelling positive behaviour in front of each other, but also understanding that other men might be at a different part of their journey and still working it out for themselves. Find out more here.


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?