Are you really less of a man if you cry? That is the question Dove Men+Care is asking, with a new campaign in partnership with the Wake Up Project encouraging society to reconsider what ‘the real strength of a man’ actually means.
Under the guidance of celebrated masculinity author and researcher Dr. Michael Kimmel, a survey of Australian men found 86 per cent agree the concept of masculinity has changed since their father’s generation, and nine out of 10 believe showing care is a sign of strength.
“It’s an interesting time for men in Australia, with a new idea of real strength emerging. The research shows that men believe masculinity today is measured beyond traditional notions of power, affluence and physical strength, yet the overwhelming majority think the way masculinity is depicted in the media doesn’t reflect this shift,” said Unilever marketing director Jon McCarthy.
“In the same way that Dove Women has started a global conversation around real beauty, we want to start a conversation about a man’s true strength. The Dove Men+Care ‘Real Strength’ campaign aims to celebrate the caring character of today’s man, recognising how care for himself and others makes him stronger.”
A staggering 91 per cent of men surveyed said they respect other men who show their emotions, however a majority of them (62 per cent) said they feel uncomfortable crying in front of others because it could be viewed as a sign of weakness – a viewpoint that Jono Fisher, founder of The Wake Up Project says it’s important to change.
“While it’s great to hear men respect others who show vulnerability, most men still feel uncomfortable showing vulnerability themselves. It really highlights the importance of starting a new conversation around what constitutes real strength in a man. These conversations are about giving men permission to be more emotionally honest in their family lives, workplaces and in society at large,” Fisher said.
As part of the campaign, Dove Men+Care and the Wake Up Project have created a podcast series where each week a successful Australian man, from a different walk of life, will open up about what real strength means to him. Guests for the podcast include Wallabies Coach Michael Cheika, former CEO of National Australia Bank Cameron Clyne, and TV presenter and journalist David Koch. The podcast series can be found online on the Dove Men+Care website and rugby.com.au.
As a major sponsor of the Wallabies, Dove Men+Care has been working with the Australian Rugby Union to start the conversation about man’s real strength and address the evolving vision of masculinity in the 21st century. The campaign was launched at a function on Monday 4 May, where Wallabies players Dave Dennis, Wycliff Palu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu and Paddy Ryan were in attendance to discuss what real strength means to them.