The Man Box: a study on being a young man in Australia

Gender differences Gender stereotypes Masculinity Gender Australia

The Man Box is the first study that focuses on the attitudes to manhood and the behaviours of young Australian men aged 18 to 30. It involved an online survey of a representative sample of 1,000 young men from across the country, as well as focus group discussions with two groups of young men. This study is modelled on research in the United States, United Kingdom and Mexico that was released by Promundo in 2017 (Heilman, Barker, Harrison, 2017).

The Man Box is the set of beliefs within and across society that place pressure on men to act in a certain way. Our study explored how young men encounter the Man Box rules in society and internalise them personally by asking their views on 17 messages about how a man should behave. These 17 messages were organised under seven pillars of the Man Box which are: self-sufficiency, acting tough, physical attractiveness, rigid gender roles, heterosexuality and homophobia, hypersexuality, and aggression and control.

We also looked at the influence of agreement with the Man Box rules on different areas of young men’s lives, including health and wellbeing, physical appearance, relationships, risk-taking, violence, and bystander behaviour.

Related Information

Unpacking the Man Box

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