Kids and Gender Toolbox

The new White Ribbon toolbox has gone from black and white to rainbow, says manager Rob McCann.

“We’ve teamed up with experts to develop Kids and Gender, for parents and whānau with kids who break gender rules. These kids often get bullied – boys who want to wear nail polish or play with dolls, or girls who refuse to wear skirts and want to play with trucks. Sometimes this means getting picked on at school, or by older siblings, parents or extended families.”

White Ribbon’s kaupapa of working to end men’s violence towards women includes talking about how to challenge ideas about gender that are the breeding ground for unhealthy attitudes and behaviour.

“The new toolbox is really for parents who haven’t yet connected with the Rainbow world, so they can understand what is happening better, and be loving and supportive of their Rainbow children,” says Mr McCann. “It’s a journey my family have been on too, so I feel like I understand some of the questions that come up. White Ribbon is thrilled to offer some support for families like mine.”

Toolbox author, Sandra Dickson, says plain language is important. “One of the things every parent I talk to says is ‘what do all these words mean?’ We also wanted to point parents to all the awesome information out there – from parent supports to takatāpui resources, to groups for young people who are questioning their sexuality or gender.”

Author – Sandra-Dickson

Ms Dickson, Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura – Outing Violence project manager, says parents mostly just want to know how to support their kids. “We wanted to help answer their questions and make sure they realise they are not alone. Lots of other parents have worked out how to support their Rainbow kids. And honestly, that’s the most important thing to do as a parent – find support for yourself so you can be there for your children.”

“Some parents get worried about what it might mean when they become aware their child is queer or trans. But your child is still the same person – they have just told you a bit more about who they are.”

Nathan Bramwell, manager at Rainbow Hub Waikato, agrees. “We hear from young people all the time, wanting help to deal with families that are struggling to accept them. It’s pretty tough for parents, they don’t always know what their kids need.”

“We also have parents who come and sit in on our youth groups, just so they can be sure their young person is ok. That’s fabulous, and we’re always happy to see that. We’ve seen from parents that having a safe place for their young people, where they can also get support for themselves is a huge relief.”

“One of the parents who reviewed the resource for us asked if she could send it to her parents, then and there,” says Ms Dickson. “She said they wanted to know how to support their trans grandchild.”

Mr Bramwell is also keen to get Kids and Gender out there. “We will be offering this resource to everyone we can! It’s honestly so good to have information we can give out to parents and families that is positive, and doesn’t treat having Rainbow kids as a problem to solve. Our parents really like talking to other parents too, so it’s great the resource is suggesting parents get support, so they can be there for their kids.”

“It’s great to work with other organisations on this kaupapa, helping families and whānau to be safe and welcoming for Rainbow young people. It’s the work we do every day in our Waikato communities.”

The Toolbox was launched online on Monday 29 November, and the webinar will be available here (soon).

Download the KIDS AND GENDER TOOLBOX

 

supported by:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checkout our other Toolboxes. While the terminology in the other resources is primarily directed at men or boys, the concepts are universal.

Call-in Culture if you want change

 

 


You can help prevent men’s violence towards women by being a positive influence on other men.

“Effective prevention has to move beyond just saying violence is wrong,” says White Ribbon Ambassador Richie Hardcore. “We need to promote alternative healthy behaviours such as Respectful Relationships, Healthy Masculinity and Consent so we’ve created a new video and added a new Toolbox to help men get comfortable with the concept.

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.

“It’s easy to call people out, and let’s face it, we have to call out violence or bad behaviour,” says Mr Hardcore. “Saying nothing simply allows the perpetrator to believe their behaviour or attitude is ok. But we need to be more subtle and start calling people in, not simply calling them out.

Call-In Toolbox“If we want people to change, we need to learn how to effectively engage them, and have meaningful conversations to promote sustained change. The reality is, that believing in the rigid rules of masculinity is 20 times more likely to predict committing violence than other demographic factors like ethnicity, age or income.”[1]

“That means the beliefs that fuel violence are far more entrenched and possibly learned behaviour. Instead of jumping down your mate’s throat for saying the wrong thing, try asking questions: If your mate says something sexist, ask them why they think that, or where they got that idea from? You could tell them that you don’t understand and ask them what they mean. You can also draw on your own values that support respectful behaviour.”

David Cournane, White Ribbon Ambassador and deputy principal of Aotea College agrees. “Once upon a time if you were coaching a team you would have highlighted mistakes and used shame to call out unwanted behaviours. While we still have to correct errors, there is now much more of a focus on finding those moments where the players are doing something well, and using these as key learning moments.  With a focus upon growing from our strengths and our successes, we are more likely to engage those around us.

“I know that being empathetic, and understanding the drivers behind someone’s behaviour, and speaking to those issues, is far more effective than just simply calling someone out. If you want people to change, you’ve got to give them a reason to change, and that requires being empathetic and kind,” says Mr Cournane.

 

Call-in Culture

Talk with other men

We’re all on a journey to reduce and eliminate men’s violence and we need to demonstrate not just why something is harmful, but that there are alternatives that are more fulfilling. In this journey, it is important to involve men in violence prevention efforts, not only because men perpetrate the majority of violence, but because men can play a positive role in intervening in this space.[1]

Most men think violence against women is unacceptable. In fact, men routinely overestimate other men’s comfort with sexist, coercive, and derogatory comments and behaviours.[2] Research repeatedly shows that most men are uncomfortable when other men act in sexist and discriminatory ways, but are afraid to raise this because they believe they are in a minority.[3] Yet, men also drastically underestimate other men’s willingness to intervene in violence against women.[4]

As recent research in Aotearoa has shown, when given the chance to speak openly and safely about difficult questions of sex, gender, and ethics, some young men engage in critical and thoughtful ways around topics that they often find difficult to discuss.[5] Thus, while we must continue to hold individual men and male dominated institutions responsible for their actions, we can avoid language that implies that all men and boys are to blame, and instead harness their sense of fairness and their frustration with witnessing injustice.[6]

Shining a Light can make a difference: Invited, not indicted

You can help prevent violence by being a positive influence on other men. Effective prevention moves beyond simply stopping violence into promoting alternative healthy behaviours. 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.

So, when someone says something stupid online, or says something sexist in real life, this is an opportunity to effectively engage them and have meaningful conversations to promote sustained change. But jumping down your mate’s throat for saying the wrong thing might not be the best way to get him to change his behaviour. Instead, try asking questions: If your mate says something sexist, ask them why they think that, or where they got that idea from? You could tell them that you don’t understand and ask them what they mean. You can also draw on your own values that support respectful behaviour. These could be cultural values, such as the Tikanga Māori values of Mana Tāne, Mana Wahine, religious beliefs, or general ideas like Everyone’s equal or A fair go for all.

Stay cool and calm, and really try to listen

Because some men are used to fighting, conflict, and arguing, it can be very disarming to show some compassion and care.  Take every opportunity to talk to men about how men are portrayed on TV, among friends, and in whānau. Talk to them about the ‘man box’ – where men must appear tough, aggressive and in charge in front of other men. Listen and encourage them to try out different ways to express their identities and values.

Check out White Ribbon’s toolbox on Breaking out of the Man Box

[1] Flood (2020).

[2] Baker, (2013).

[3] Katz, (2018); The Men’s Project & Flood, (2020).

[4] Baker (2013).

[5] Gavey, et al. (2021).

[6] Kaufman, (2003).

[1] The Men’s Project & Flood, M (2020).

Shine a Light on Stories of Change

White Ribbon is gathering ‘stories of change’ to Shine a Light on violence prevention and what works.

White Ribbon’s annual November campaign is sharing the real-life experiences of both perpetrators and survivors to highlight the need to tackle men’s violence towards women. The charity is asking people to submit their ‘story of change’, via a secure website in any format e.g. a video, word document or audio file.

“We want to shine a light on what works and what supports people to change,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “We know that when you have real life examples of change, that can be really motivating. But all too often, most of us don’t share our stories of experiencing or breaking the cycle of family violence. Too often these parts of our lives are hidden in the shadows in much the same way that family harm is often hidden behind closed doors.”

“Our first story this campaign is being told by Catherine Daniels, a new White Ribbon Ambassador who experienced childhood trauma and sexual abuse. Unable to talk about the abuse she suffered, she began her own journey of healing by telling her story through her sculptures and art,” says Mr McCann.

While telling her story has helped Catherine heal, she has also helped many survivors to recognize their own experiences in the artwork, and enabled them to begin their own journey of healing.

“My husband and I had been married for nearly eight years before my secrets made me sick enough, that I couldn’t hold them in any longer. When I opened up to him about my childhood sexual abuse, he struggled to cope. It was easier for him to shut his anger down and say all that stuff is grey. I don’t do grey. I only do black and white. My husband shut it out for over 25 years. We never spoke about it and when we did, it caused a lot of pressure on everyone.

“When I made the first girl sitting on her suitcase with a small teddy bear beside her, I brought it inside to show him. He said “what’s that?” I told him it was me as a little girl and read him out a small piece of writing I had written.

“He just looked at it staring as if he could finally see what had been hidden inside of me all those years. That was the light bulb moment for him and the start of ‘The Secret Keeper’ for me. Showing my husband what was hidden inside of me as something tangible that he could see and talk about, was like pulling a plug out of a dam we had both built up.

“For the next five years, emotions flooded out as we talked about every sculpture and read each piece of writing. These sculptures and their story have shown him an entirely different way. He has completely changed and is now able to see and think in grey, not just black and white, says Catherine.”

Stories of change can come in many forms, and by sharing your story, you might be able to inspire others to recognize their behavior or their experiences and help others find the strength to make a change.

For more information about this year’s White Ribbon Campaign or to share your story www.whiteribbon.org.nz The campaign will also highlight four key messages; Healthy Masculinity, Respectful Relationships, Consent, Call-in Culture along with working the Disabilities sector and Rainbow community for the first time.

Notes:
Video of Catherine Daniels speaking https://vimeo.com/643443340 Permission is granted to download and/or embed
The Secret Keeper –  currently at the Exhibitions Gallery of Fine Art in Wellington until the 20th November
The Secret Keeper website www.thesecretkeeper.nz
If you feel you need help after reading this article https://whiteribbon.org.nz/act/help/
More detailed information on this year’s campaign can be found here

 

Christchurch Girls’ High School sexual abuse survey demonstrates the need for ‘primary prevention’.

 A survey of Christchurch Girls’ High School has revealed widespread sexual harassment with more than 400 students revealing they’ve been sexually assaulted and more than 20 saying they’ve been raped.

“As a country we need to support our young men to understand what Healthy Masculinity looks like,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann, “and have a working comprehension of what Respectful Relationships involve, which includes understanding consent.”

“It is these concepts that can help provide a protection against the type of attitudes and behaviour, which enable young men to think it is ok to harass and harm women.

“While there has considerable focus on breaking the cycle of family violence, we need much more emphasis on combating the unhelpful messages about what it is to be a supposed ‘Real Man’.

“Our young men are still hearing unhelpful messages to ‘man up’, ‘that boys don’t cry’, ‘get pissed’ ‘be the man’, and to ‘toughen up’.

“Whether it’s societal pressures, peer pressure or learned behaviour, our young men are too often being asked to renounce the best of themselves and pretend to be something that fits the narrative of a ‘real man’.

“We need to have open and honest conversations about being a good person, and understand what healthy masculinity looks like and how that is a better option than outdated ideas. One way of achieving that is through education and inspiring our youth,” says Mr McCann.

White Ribbon offers a free programme to schools that focuses on consent, respectful relationships and encouraging healthy masculinity. The Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme (YALP) brings student leaders from schools across a region together for a full-day workshop to focus on these issues and how to intervene, respond and offer support. The Youth Ambassadors are then supported to share what they have learnt within their school community and help spark these conversations in their own schools and communities.

 

Healthy Masculinity looks like:

  • Healthy masculinity is rejecting unhelpful outdated 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 have ‘muscles’, be 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.

 

The Man Box

  • White Ribbon calls the expectations that men must always appear dominant, tough and in charge “The Man Box”.
  • It’s a box that’s prescriptive and restrictive. Any different behaviours are dismissed as being not manly.
  • Often a boy and a man will believe he needs to appear tough and in-control in front of other men. This is from a fear, real or not, that they’ll reject him, possibly violently, if he doesn’t fit in. Being told to ‘Man Up’ is to be reminded to get back into The Man Box. A man may use violence to show his peers he is manly.
  • Suppressing individual identities and diverse emotional responses is stressful. It’s also unhealthy as these men avoid asking for help.
  • Men who break out of The Man Box to choose their own masculine identity report that they’re less stressed, more satisfied with life and have happier relationships.

 

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 their 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Ribbon also promotes adult men promoting the respectful behaviour of younger men. It also encourages men to be critical of pornography, especially the ways it promotes violence against women.

New research titled Shifting the line – Boys talk on gender, sexism and online ethics found:

https://cpb-ap-se2.wpmucdn.com/blogs.auckland.ac.nz/dist/3/333/files/2018/03/Shifting-the-Line-web.pdf

Key points, findings and recommendations

• Some of our society’s key ideas for what it means to be a man give boys and young men a narrow and limiting model for how they should be and act in the world.

• Boys notice these ‘masculinity rules’ and the ways they are policed, but have few opportunities to talk about them, and few positive public models for how to sidestep narrow messages about what it means to be a man.

• The restrictive norms for masculinity, which were identified by boys across diverse social backgrounds and ethnicities, included the avoidance of anything ‘feminine’ and a very limited repertoire of emotions.

• Boys’ friendship groups, and the importance of peer group loyalty and belonging, were spoken about as powerful influences on behaviour, both in maintaining expected norms and in some cases in supporting departures from these norms.

• The powerful role of peer group norms suggests that effective strategies to promote positive change and ethical behaviour should seek to transform collective norms and action, rather than targeting individual behavioural change.

• Given the unhelpful, and in some cases dangerous, cultural baggage that traditional gender roles carry, we suggest it would be better to inspire boys and young men to be ethical people rather than ‘good men’.

• Paradoxically, it could seem, a first step in this direction requires noticing how gender structures the world and most people’s experiences and opportunities within it.

• Some boys and young men are interested in talking about these issues – and it is possible to create spaces that build on their curiosity and their commitment to fairness and equality, allowing them to critically reflect on gender norms and develop insights and skills that enhance their readiness to contribute to positive social change.

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/ED2106/S00048/shifting-the-line-on-gender-and-sexual-violence.htm

 

Add your voice online to support White Ribbon Day

Media Release
25 November 2020

On November 25th, White Ribbon Day, the International day for the elimination of men’s violence towards women, we are asking our tāne and wāhine to challenge #outdated ideas about masculinity online.

Gender-based violence is endemic in New Zealand, with one in three women experiencing family violence in their lifetimes and the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world.

“With COVID anxiety and severe pressure on violence prevention organisations, the vast majority of this year’s White Ribbon campaign activities are being held online, in small groups and at work,” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann.

“We want people to Challenge the #Outdated and unhealthy ideas about masculinity. One way of doing that in a public manner, is to create a short video and post it on your own Facebook feed. 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.”

White Ribbon has created a suite of online resources that you can share to help you. These can be found at www.whiteribbon.org.nz

“The reason we are focusing on masculinity,” says Mr McCann, “is that the underlying causes of men’s violence towards women are now well recognised by research as being linked to unhealthy masculinity.”

A report Men in Focus undertaken by the Australian national violence prevention organization, Our Watch, found that that men who conform to these outdated stereotypes – that men should be strong, forceful, and dominant in relationships, be tough and in control – are more likely to hit, abuse, coerce, and sexually harass women than men who see women as their equals.

The research also found that men who believe in sexual entitlement to women’s bodies or believe in rape myths are more likely than other men to rape women.

“If we are to end men’s violence, we need to focus on the attitudes that support violence,” says Mr McCann. “We can continue to build prisons and pick up after broken families, or we can change the attitudes that support violence to thrive.”

“So this year, we are asking men and women to have these courageous conversations. Film yourself, get your videos online and tag them with #Outdated or #WhiteRibbonNZ so we can all join in and have a conversation about what healthy masculinity should look like.”

 

Notes:

The Men in Focus evidence review:

The Men in Focus report represents a substantial synthesis of the available academic and grey literature focusing on men’s violence against women. It is a peer reviewed report and represents a broad distillation of relevant literature. The focus of this report in on engaging men and boys, who can themselves “contribute to improving the effectiveness

of prevention strategies”.

 

Rick Hepi Video:
Video can be downloaded and embedded. https://vimeo.com/482122701
Rick is a White Ribbon Ambassador and White Ribbon Rider.

Rick comments that despite having a violent dad he wanted to become a good father, and not just a good grandfather like his dad. While we are all products of our environments, it is possible to break the cycle. When those influences are not healthy, we need to push back and Challenge those #Outdated ideas and replace them with behaviour we want our sons and daughters to emulate. When we see or hear mates and colleagues repeating #outdated ideas, we need to try and nudge them in the right direction.

 

30 days 30 messages:

Videos can be downloaded from vimeo.com/user/89901591/folder/3017965 and embedded, or share the Taranaki Safe Families Trust Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/taranakisafefamilies

White Ribbon Ambassador Dane Haskell, Coordinator of Taranaki Safe Families Trust created 30 Days/ 30 Men/ 30 Messages,  which for the month of November features 30 short videos of local men sharing their thoughts on the White Ribbon campaign and why it’s important for us to have these conversations. One video gets posted each day.

 

Healthy Masculinity looks like:

  • Healthy masculinity is rejecting unhelpful outdated 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 have ‘muscles’, be 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.

 

The Man Box

  • White Ribbon calls the expectations that men must always appear dominant, tough and in charge “The Man Box”.
  • It’s a box that’s prescriptive and restrictive. Any different behaviours are dismissed as being not manly.
  • Often a boy and a man will believe he needs to appear tough and in-control in front of other men. This is from a fear, real or not, that they’ll reject him, possibly violently, if he doesn’t fit in. Being told to ‘Man Up’ is to be reminded to get back into The Man Box. A man may use violence to show his peers he is manly.
  • Suppressing individual identities and diverse emotional responses is stressful. It’s also unhealthy as these men avoid asking for help.
  • Men who break out of The Man Box to choose their own masculine identity report that they’re less stressed, more satisfied with life and have happier relationships.

 

Ruia te taitea, ka tu taikaka anake: shake off the old, to reveal the new

Media Release
19 November 2020

 

Ruia te taitea, ka tu taikaka anake: shake off the old, to reveal the new

This year we are asking people to challenge the #outdated and spend some time thinking and talking about the advice they have been given that is harmful rather than helpful. The whakatauki above sits at the heart of this year’s White Ribbon campaign. As individuals and as a society we need to shake off the old, to reveal the new.

The outdated ideas that this campaign literally overwrites are still circulating and we need to ensure our rangatahi grow up with advice that focuses on equality, healthy masculinity and respectful relationships. When kids hear old clichés like “treat em mean, keep em keen” they’re receiving a false idea that relationships should be based on mind games and manipulation. Real, respectful relationships require us to treat our partners as our equals by listening and making decisions together.

Chair of the White Ribbon Campaign Trust, Takurua Tawera believes, “so many of our young men are suffering from the impact of trauma and bad role modelling. We need to stand up and speak out on these issues and show in our words and our deeds that there are other options. Better choices lead to better lives for men and women.”

New Zealand has the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world. One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives. On average, 14 women a year are killed by their partners or ex-partners.

“We have to act now to change the future and rewrite our story”, says Mr Tawera. “We all want to turn these statistics around, but if we want to see a change in these unhealthy behaviours we have to change our attitudes.  We know that research shows that stereotypical ideas about what it means to be are man are linked not only to domestic violence but also mental health issues

“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 or man. It is really heartening to hear men speaking out on this issue and sharing their stories of change. They are inspiring role models for young men, so they know they don’t need to perpetuate these outdated ideas and can instead engage with women as equal partners.”

The origins of our whakatauki are in the natural world. In a totara tree the taitea is the outer, white or sapwood, which soon decays, and near the centre is the taikaka or hardest wood.

“By removing these outdated ideas,” says Mr Tawera, “we will be left with a core of strength. Share the wisdom of our whakatauki and shake off the old, to reveal the new!”

Notes:

Healthy Masculinity looks like:

  • Healthy masculinity is rejecting unhelpful outdated 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 have ‘muscles’, be 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.

The Man Box

  • White Ribbon calls the expectations that men must always appear dominant, tough and in charge “The Man Box”.
  • It’s a box that’s prescriptive and restrictive. Any different behaviours are dismissed as being not manly.
  • Often a boy and a man will believe he needs to appear tough and in-control in front of other men. This is from a fear, real or not, that they’ll reject him, possibly violently, if he doesn’t fit in. Being told to ‘Man Up’ is to be reminded to get back into The Man Box. A man may use violence to show his peers he is manly.
  • Suppressing individual identities and diverse emotional responses is stressful. It’s also unhealthy as these men avoid asking for help.
  • Men who break out of The Man Box to choose their own masculine identity report that they’re less stressed, more satisfied with life and have happier relationships.

 

White Ribbon Media

Nancy Blackler 0272425318 nancy@blackoutmusic.co.nz
Rob McCann 0212122953 rob@whiteribbon.org.nz

White Ribbon Graphics can be downloaded from here

 

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 https://theconversation.com/inside-the-man-box-how-rigid-ideas-of-manning-up-harm-young-men-and-those-around-them-143081

 

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.

 

Spokespeople

Rob McCann                                                                   Dr Kris Taylor, PhD
White Ribbon Manager                                                 White Ribbon Researcher
rob@whiteribbon.org.nz                                                kris.taylor@auckland.ac.nz

 

 

 

 

Frightening Australian statistics should reinforce the need to promote healthy masculinity in New Zealand

Media Release
15 November

 

42% of young men in Australia do not consider punching and hitting constitute domestic violence, while 43% do not consider frightening, humiliating, degrading or punishing a person as domestic violence.

“This is shocking”, says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann. “While we don’t have a similar study in New Zealand, Police data for the year to August show 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 and we have the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world.”

“Violence in our communities remains appallingly high and if we are to tackle this violence we need to focus on the attitudes that enable young men to think violence is ok and that trap them in the man box,” said Mr McCann.

Women’s Refuge CE Dr Ang Jury agrees. “We are seeing consistently high numbers of women and families taking refuge from violent men. As a country we need to take this opportunity and look at the causes of the violence. If we want to have a courageous discussion, then let’s talk about what constitutes masculinity and ensure our young men are being supported to grow up with healthy attitudes about masculinity that support respectful relationships.”

“The reality is that until we overwrite the ideas that allow men to think they can humiliate, degrade or use physical violence against anyone, we will continue to see outrageous numbers of women forced to use refuges throughout New Zealand”, said Dr Jury.

The #Outdated Campaign asks men to speak up about the #Outdated ideas they hear and the image they feel pressured to replicate.

“This November we want to highlight behaviour that exemplifies healthy masculinity,” says Mr McCann, “and in doing so we will challenge the #Outdated. The campaign demonstrates how we can overwrite unhealthy ideas and replace them with inclusive and healthy attitudes.

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.”

“To take part in the campaign simply have a conversation with your children, your friends, colleagues or your partner about #Outdated ideas, share the free online content or visit whiteribbon.org.nz to find out more and help change how we see masculinity in Aotearoa,” said Mr McCann.

 

Notes:

 

Healthy Masculinity looks like:

  • Healthy masculinity is rejecting unhelpful outdated 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 have ‘muscles’, be 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.

 

The Man Box

  • White Ribbon calls the expectations that men must always appear dominant, tough and in charge “The Man Box”.
  • It’s a box that’s prescriptive and restrictive. Any different behaviours are dismissed as being not manly.
  • Often a boy and a man will believe he needs to appear tough and in-control in front of other men. This is from a fear, real or not, that they’ll reject him, possibly violently, if he doesn’t fit in. Being told to ‘Man Up’ is to be reminded to get back into The Man Box. A man may use violence to show his peers he is manly.
  • Suppressing individual identities and diverse emotional responses is stressful. It’s also unhealthy as these men avoid asking for help.
  • Men who break out of The Man Box to choose their own masculine identity report that they’re less stressed, more satisfied with life and have happier relationships.

 

Australian Research

Conducted by Essential Research in Australia. Download age and gender results here

White Ribbon creates positive change through youth poetry competition

Poetry is back. White Ribbon’s annual spoken word competition is returning this year with a new twist – it will be entirely online. High school students between the ages of 15 and 18 will now be able to enter regardless of where they live. “We’re very excited” says White Ribbon Manager Rob McCann “Taking the competition online means students can be heard from literally anywhere in New Zealand.”

The theme this year is Respectful Relationships, which research shows is a protection against violence. White Ribbon is focused on encouraging men and boys to be motivated and skilled to use respectful behaviours; ensure enthusiastic consent in their sexual relationships; to reject and Challenge the #Outdated rules around masculinity and role model concepts that support healthy masculinity.

“Poetry has been used as a healing tool for many centuries and is making a comeback.” says McCann. “Finding the words to articulate a traumatic experience can bring relief. We created this opportunity to give young people a voice so their thoughts on family harm and violence against women could be heard. We are incredibly proud of last year’s entries which had very inspiring takes and ideas on ending (men’s) violence in New Zealand.”

Hannah DoreyHannah Dorey from St Mary’s College, was delighted to be named last year’s winner and take home the $500 cash prize. The sixteen-year-old’s piece ‘Respectfully’ focused on highlighting an unhealthy relationship and dedicating the poem to ‘respectfully declining’ that relationship. She wowed the celebrity judges and brought tears to the eyes of nearly everyone in attendance.

This year, selected finalists will be given the opportunity to take part in White Ribbon’s nationwide November campaign, and help make the change they envision.

This Spoken Word competition is open to all senior secondary school students in New Zealand and will be held on the evening of Thursday 17th September using a zoom link available here.

Entries close on Sunday 13th September, 7.00pm.

For more information or to submit your entry, follow this link or, email contact@whiteribbon.org.nz

White Ribbon ends Andrew Falloon’s role as one of 200 White Ribbon Ambassadors

White Ribbon moved to terminate Andrew Falloon’s voluntary role when news broke of his unacceptable behaviour last night.

The behaviour, if described accurately in the news media, is not compatible with that required of a White Ribbon Ambassador.

While it is not violent behaviour, if established, it is misaligned with treating women with respect and undermines the work of White Ribbon.

The board concluded the behaviour is totally unacceptable and an urgent decision, based on the limited evidence available, was made last night to terminate Mr Falloon’s Ambassadorship.

Our more formal process has begun to comply with the policies of White Ribbon, however, we have asked Mr Falloon to resign to avoid the need for this process to occur.

It is incredibly disappointing that the actions of one Ambassador could taint the good work of the 200 other Ambassadors. Family Violence remains a crisis in New Zealand and as an organisation we remain committed to reducing that violence.