Research finds out of date views in the UK capital but approach to fatherhood offers optimism
Londoners have some out of date attitudes on masculinity according to new research. However the same survey found the vast majority of men believe that being a hands-on dad is important.
According to work carried out for New Macho, an agency set up to help brands navigate the changing landscape of masculinity and sell their stuff to men, the UK capital is home to some surprisingly old-fashioned views.
22% of men in London said women should do more cooking and cleaning than men and 27% agreed with the idea that ‘real men don’t cry’. Nearly half of London men said they thought men should be the main provider for their family.
Across the UK 14% agreed that raising children is a job for women – echoing comments made by Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys last week. But in London the figure more than doubled to 29%.
However the research found that the vast majority of men are on board with a more tender definition of masculinity.
Three quarters of those questioned said being a great father means always being there for your children. And eight out of 10 agreed that dads should support their kids whatever the choices they make in life. 73% said that men should talk about their feelings more, far outweighing the quarter who believe losing or showing vulnerability are signs of weakness or the three in 10 who claim that their social status is reflected in how pretty their partners is.
New Macho managing director Fernando Desouches comments: “The groups that are most likely to hold stereotypical views of masculinity – including Londoners and high earners – are also the most likely to feel depressed or sad. More than half of these groups say that they most often feel that way, so these beliefs may be having a very real and negative impact on men’s mental health.
“The ad industry has to accept some of the blame for this, as many brands are still portraying men either as aloof and hyper-competitive, as tanned Adonises, or as dorks and figures of fun. It’s all just gender stereotyping, which the Advertising Standards Authority has now banned.
“The research also suggests that men in career-obsessed London may be struggling the most. The cultural imperatives for males to ‘man up’ remain, but it’s harder than ever for them to demonstrate their success except in the most materialistic ways. And it’s tougher than ever for younger men to use their careers to achieve the status they crave. It all leads to pressure on men’s mental health from a perceived need to act a certain way.”