Keith Quinn should be thanked for saying aloud what many men actually believe

Keith Quinn’s comments about ‘hardening up’ are outdated. But rather than pile on we should be thanking Keith for highlighting just one of the many aspects of #Outdated masculinity.

“Commentators in the media have rightly underlined the link between men’s mental health and #outdated masculinity,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “But what is missing from this conversation is the link to family violence.”

There’s a considerable amount of research that has moved family violence prevention towards targeting the drivers of that violence – men’s masculinity. For example, recent research suggests that rigid beliefs in gender roles and glorifying aggression and control are strong predictors of negative outcomes, especially in the case of violence against women and other men.

“We know that men continue to hold outdated views about sexuality, gender, and gendered violence,” says Mr McCann. “In New Zealand, Police data for the year to August shows that women make up 90% of those violently assaulted by a partner or ex, and 98.6% of those sexually assaulted by a partner or ex.

“The drivers behind this violence are the attitudes men have towards women, and their role within a relationship and family.

“Attitudes that while not seemingly violent, are part of an attitude where men are in charge, where men are dominant, when men are the primary breadwinner and decision maker.

“These are the same outdated ideas that Keith reached for when reacting to the tears of joy from Argentinian men. They were demonstrating what healthy masculinity looks like and showing real emotions.

“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.

“By adopting these traits, we are equipping young men to participate in real relationships with all their normal trials and tribulations. We are equipping young men with the tools to find solutions, rather than use violence (whether physical or non-physical) in a relationship.

“So let’s not shut down the Keith’s of this world. Let’s have those courageous conversations about what male masculinity should look like, and #challenge the outdated ideas that are unhealthy.”

Link to recent research


White Ribbon’s annual campaign asks men to Challenge the #Outdated.

White Ribbon Outdated Campaign (x3 messages) from White Ribbon on Vimeo.



Treat ‘Em Mean Keep ‘Em Keen Equal

The opposite of violence is showing respect. When kids hear old clichés like “treat em mean, keep em keen” they’re receiving a false idea about relationships. They’re hearing that negative behaviour has positive results, which is really dangerous. Respectful Relationships aren’t about manipulation and mind games – they require us to treat our partners as our equals by listening to each other and making decisions together.


Show Them Who’s Boss? You Love Them

When kids hear this outdated advice, they’re getting an idea of manhood as being in control of their partners, family, even their friends. This can lead to men mistaking fear and intimidation for love and respect. The strongest relationships are those that respect the people in our lives as their own people. Particularly, it means not assuming there are set roles or rules that give men power over women. Showing that you care creates better relationships and teaches the behaviour you want your children to learn.


Kids Should Keep Quiet Be Heard

When a kid asks a question, they’re reaching out to us to learn something. When a child engages in play, they are learning important skills that teach them how to behave in the world. When a child cries, they are asking for comfort. Kids ask us for attention because they are learning how to navigate the world and build relationships – they need to be able to speak and be heard, so they can learn and grow.


Healthy Masculinity

Our goal in preventing gendered violence as perpetrated by men is not the protection of victims, but to help men break out of some of the unhelpful stereotypes of being a man. Such a task requires a wider view of the attitudes and values that help to underpin, normalize, and lead to gendered violence. Our approach, and one that has been taken up in other countries as well, must be to find ways to help men open up to new ways of being a man. Part of that is stepping away from ideas of masculinity as dominant, violent, and overbearing, to embrace other possibilities for manhood: being kind, showing respect, and being open to change. If we want to break out of the man box, and model good behaviour for those around us, we don’t need to protect our loved ones, we need to show them that all men are capable expressing love, respect, and are open to challenging outdated stereotypes.


What healthy masculinity looks like

  • Healthy masculinity is rejecting unhelpful stereotypes and unspoken rules about what it is to be a boy or man.
  • Healthy masculinity is about being kind, empathetic, finding peaceful resolutions to problems.
  • Healthy masculinity is about boys and men being confident in who they are without feeling pressure to be a certain type of boy/man.
  • Boys and men can still be ‘brave’, and ‘having muscles’, assertive, tough, love rugby, enjoy time with other men and boys, enjoy a ‘pint’ with the lads (for men!). But boys and men should also be free to express sad emotions, enjoy cooking, dancing, gardening and anything else that does not fit into gender stereotypes.
  • Healthy masculinity is treating everyone with respect.
  • Healthy masculinity is recognising that people express gender and sexuality in a variety of ways.


Advantages of healthy masculinity

  • Healthy masculinity can lead to less stress and anxiety to conform.
  • Healthy masculinity can mean that men and boys treat others better.
  • Healthy masculinity can mean that boys and men are freer to follow their dreams and express themselves.
  • Healthy masculinity can mean that women and girls are treated with respect.
  • Healthy masculinity can mean that people feel freer to express their gender and sexuality without fear.


Key Messages:

  • A full explanation of the campaign including key messages is available here.
  • Graphics and Videos: Download them from here.



Rob McCann                                                                   Dr Kris Taylor, PhD
White Ribbon Manager                                                 White Ribbon Researcher                                      





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