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Support men and boys to develop healthy masculinities and peer relationships

2 minutes

Many men feel societal pressures to live up to particular expectations and stereotypes of masculinity, which may include attitudes and behaviours that are harmful to women.
For some men, making jokes and comments that reinforce the idea that women should be less powerful than them is a way of bonding and gaining the approval and respect of their peers.
When aggression and disrespect towards women are seen as part of being ‘one of the boys’, it is more likely that violence towards women will be normalised and excused.

What are the solutions?

  • Teach boys and men how to recognise, understand and challenge harmful expressions of masculinity and male privilege in their own lives, and in their peer groups.
  • Counter the constructions of masculinity as dominant, aggressive, controlling or hypersexual in both public and private life, and within media and popular culture.
  • Address homophobia as an expression of masculinity at an individual, relationship, peer, organisational and institutional level.
  • Promote representations of men and boys that model respectful, fair, ethical, safe, supportive, equitable behaviours within relationships, to normalise these behaviours for men.
  • Ensure prevention activities include an explicit focus on addressing dominant forms of masculinity and engaging men and boys to prevent violence against women.
  • Work with boys and young men to challenge norms around sexual entitlement and dominance, hypersexuality and the influence of pornography, and build understanding of consent, agency, mutual pleasure and power.
Stylised illustration of six people standing side by side with more people in the background. One person is in a wheelchair, one is a teenager, two are older people. The group is made up of men and women.

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