Challenging traditional masculine stereotypes in the Macedon Ranges

Challenging traditional masculine stereotypes in the Macedon Ranges

15 December 2020

Challenging traditional gender stereotypes of what it means to be a man in the Macedon Ranges will be the focus of The Human Code, a new study by researchers at Orygen, supported by the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network and VicHealth through the Macedon Ranges Suicide Prevention Trial Site.

The  study will help us to understand how the attitudes and behaviours of men and boys in the Macedon Ranges align with traditional masculine stereotypes, and how this may impact on the risk of doing harm and experiencing harm.

Associate Professor Simon Rice, who is leading the study said, the Macedon Ranges is experiencing rising rates of behaviours associated with men and boys adopting traditional and outdated masculine stereotypes.

“These masculine stereotypes can idealise roles that emphasise toughness, dominance, self-reliance, and the restriction of emotion.

“We want to better understand the who, when, and why of these behaviours, so that we can develop progressive prevention approaches specific to Macedon Ranges communities, where we’re seeing rising rates of suicide among men, and a rise in the incidence of family violence and alcohol use-related harm,” Associate Professor Rice said.

The research will involve surveying 1000 members of the Macedon Ranges community and conducting interviews and focus groups. The result will be a suite of recommendations for the promotion of healthier masculinities within the region.

Jeremy Forbes, co-founder of charity Hope Assistance Local Tradies (HALT), a member of the project working group, said men can struggle with their behaviour and having the tough conversations.

“So, completing this survey gives men a voice and the chance to be heard, listened to and understood,” Mr Forbes said.

Associate Professor Rice said this work will support the longer-term vision of transformational change of local men’s behaviours and attitudes to masculine stereotypes.

“While the primary focus of the project will involve collecting data and analysing the attitudes and behaviours of boys and men in the Macedon Ranges Shire, the beneficiaries of the project will be the whole community.

“In driving longer term reduction in men doing and experiencing harm, a healthier community will benefit all,” Associate Professor Rice said.

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