Ryder Jack says there are two emotions that an Australian man can show: happiness and anger. And there are only two reasons to cry.
“We are allowed to win or lose in the Grand Finals, or weep at the funeral,” says Jack.
He runs workshops for men across the country on the state of Australian masculinity. His organization, Tomorrow Man, is one of the growing numbers of men and boys trying to help them better understand their emotions and well-being.
They aim to improve their mental health. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people in Australia, with far more men killing themselves than women.
Many also want these programs to reduce the incidence of domestic domestic violence.
Our watch, an anti-violence organization, says that on average, one woman a week is killed by her current or previous partner. The story of abuse is often horrifying: Killing Hannah Clark and her three children The country was shocked by her estranged husband who soaked his family in petrol and dropped them off.
“Suicide rates are horrifying, the number of domestic violence is going through the roof, and we’re awakened to the fact that people need to change something,” says Jack.
Against this background, the movement focused on “healthy masculinity” is gaining momentum. Some are carried out not only through schools, but also through sports clubs and community groups.
The people behind Push are quoting Manbox’s research. A survey of Australian men between the ages of 18 and 30 found that the majority agreed that there was social pressure to take certain actions or actions for their gender.
Sticking to these strict stereotypes can be harmful, such as tough and controlled. The study found that men who responded to the pressure of being “real men” had poor mental health and were more likely to think of suicide or commit suicide.
John Wells, a 13-year-old student from Melbourne, trained in healthier masculinity at his school. For him, male stereotypes were associated with characteristics such as physical fitness, good at sports, and no emotion. But he states that those stereotypes are “less and less relevant.”
“You don’t have to be physically strong to be a man,” he says.
Tomorrow the man is also working on his attitude. In a typical workshop, participants will put together a “rulebook” on what it means to be a man in Australia. They discuss what works and what doesn’t.
According to Jack, what unfolds is a transformative experience when men begin to open and share stories about their lives and emotions.
“It’s a very hot time for gender. We need to take people together to the room and explore where they are currently standing,” he says.
Over 60,000 men have experienced their program. Most of their work is with teenagers.
Harry Reynolds, an 18-year-old cabinet maker on the outskirts of Sydney, attended a workshop at his football club. He says everyone got a lot from it.
“It was all about not bottling your emotions. You don’t have to be like that, you can say that of your companion.”
Reynolds says he learned about his teammates, including family struggles and pressure on his young father.
Tools to deal with
Proponents believe that developing skills to manage and regulate emotions can reduce the incidence of violence.
Paul Zappa is an educator who has been working in this field for over 20 years. Former school teachers are now working with organizations and children to promote positive behavior of men to reduce violence known as primary prevention.
He talks about arming a boy with emotional intelligence to recognize anger when it occurs, and before it explodes. He says this should be taught as soon as possible.
“Many kids get angry and hit the wall, that’s what I do,” says Zappa, general manager of prevention and community development at Jesuit Social Services.
Learning that anger can be handled differently can be a breakthrough for some adolescents, he says. Instead of hitting the wall with frustration, they can start finding those feelings and try to release them in other ways.
“Once you feel it all and know it’s coming, walk around the block. The light will come on next time. [they learn] I can actually change that, “says Zappa.
Does it work?
While these programs can increase emotional awareness, it is not clear how effective they are in reducing violence.
The need is clear. In addition to the astonishing proportion of women killed by their current or former partners, Our Watch states that one in three Australian women experienced physical violence. Men are by far the perpetrators.
Addressing social and root causes is important. Our watch says that a program for men and boys, “Challenge the dominant form of masculineness,” can help prevent violence against women.
However, the group is also noting that the current data is lacking. “Measure the effectiveness of initiatives that seek to involve men and boys in preventative efforts, especially in the Australian context.”.. The need for more evaluation work is important, he says.
Zappa says he is confident that these initiatives can make a difference, although there may be no evidence yet. He points to data showing that the so-called male behavioral change program, performed by men who commit domestic violence, is working.
“These men are doing what we don’t want in the community, but they can still turn them around after the fact, so we can certainly do the same. [with primary prevention].. “
Zappa states that efforts and funding are properly focused on victims of violence, but calls for more attention to primary prevention.
“They need to double their money … do we have another pool of money that says we can stop it before it happens?”
Tomorrow, the workshop will be evaluated by Monash University this year. Jack also believes that their program is driving change.
He says he sees them return to the community and grow and allow men to better express themselves. He argues that the ability to handle emotions and improve communication is likely to help reduce violence.
“A man who wields violence in the country is not a creature on another planet. He is your cousin or companion, or someone you know.
“But he’s not going to talk about that. Men aren’t talking about vulnerabilities, they use anger, they’ve escaped with it for most of their lives.”