I grew up in a semi-traditional Chinese family that never really showed each other emotions of fear, sadness or pain. I’ve got a Dad who loves a good laugh just like any other parent, but I’ve never seen him cry or be overly emotional about anything. He remains stone-cold when it comes to revealing his feelings.
It seems that he’s not the only one.
Some solid research on masculinity conducted by Dove Men+Care revealed that 62% percent of Australian men are uncomfortable crying in front of others as it can be viewed as a sign of weakness.
85% of men surveyed also agreed that it took strength and confidence to show their vulnerable side, and that they felt sometimes confused, frustrated, anxious or embarrassed when asked about being emotional.
“While it’s great to hear men respect others who show vulnerability, most men still feel uncomfortable showing vulnerability themselves,” says Jono Fisher, Founder of The Wakeup Project.
“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.”
I found this so interesting as I’ve noticed men really don’t even have the opportunity to open up at all. The closest examples I could think of for women were Oprah and The View, which are both American.
This topic of strength resonates even louder with the world now that Bruce Jenner has come out with confidence to reveal how he identifies as a woman.
To kickstart the conversation, 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.
What’s your idea of a 21st century man? Tell us in the comments below.