CHALLENGE THE #UNSPOKEN RULES
Unspoken Rules are the expectations that boys and young men inherit from society, based on outdated ideas of what a man is, how he acts, and how he should express himself.
Even if we don’t agree with them, these rules still exist silently in the background for too many.
Be the Man
Boys Don’t Cry
These #unspoken rules put pressure on boys and young men to behave in certain ways and dismiss “unmanly” behaviour, leading them to suppress their emotions and their individuality. This affects how our boys and young men feel about themselves, and how they treat others. It affects how they approach their relationships, and can lead them to act disrespectfully – even violently – toward their partners.
We have the opportunity to use our voices as parents, caregivers and influencers to speak up over the #unspoken. By saying out loud to our boys and young men that it’s ok for them to be who they are, we can encourage them to define themselves as men who have respectful relationships – protecting our whole community.
The campaign will focus on undermining these unhelpful #unspoken rules, and promoting healthy masculinity (and Respectful Relationships) as an alternative.
Boys Don’t Cry
• If boys aren’t encouraged to show emotion such as sadness and anger in healthy ways, it can lead to bottling up emotions, mental health challenges, aggression, and violence.
• The (healthy) alternative is to encourage boys to show emotions and to be able to name and express their emotions.
• As adults, we can help boys (and all children!) to do this by giving them the language. We can say, ‘I can see you are sad about …’
• We can also role-model and try to get comfortable with our own emotions. It’s ok to cry. This can feel awkward and uncomfortable, but children learn from watching us. If we turn away when we are feeling sad, they learn that being sad is ‘unacceptable’.
Be The Man
• Boys are often told they need to be dominant (or be the boss of the family).
• This pressure on boys to be in control of others or to be the bread winner can lead to domestic violence and undermines gender equality, which is a cornerstone of Respectful Relationships.
• This kind of attitude also reinforces gender pay inequality and can lead to unequal relationships in the home.
• We need to encourage young men to be who they want to be, not conform to a stereotype.
• If boys feel like they have to be tough and not let anything bother them, they learn that having feelings (especially strong feelings) is not acceptable. This can lead to mental health challenges, shame, violence, aggression and self-harm.
• It is healthy to open up and share our thoughts and feelings. After all it’s what we do until the #unspoken rules kick in.
There are many other #unspoken rules such as Boys Don’t Back Down From Fights, Boys Need To Drive Fast, Boys Need to Sleep With Lots of Girls, Boys Need to be Muscular, Boys Don’t Wear Pink and Boys Can’t Ask for Help. Challenge these #unspoken rules.
for more information www.whiteribbon.org.nz