This week a male friend said he’d rather support animal conservation than women’s rights because animals are going extinct.
Men have murdered six women in Australia this week.
And yet, some men are still more concerned about rhinos in Indonesia than women’s safety in Australia.
Already this year, 54 women have been killed by violence, according to Destroy The Joint. We need to address toxic masculinity before Australian women become extinct.
That’s exactly what journalist Marty Smiley set out to do with his documentary #YesAllMen, airing on The Feed on SBS on Tuesday October 16.
“We’re in dire need to shift the way we discuss masculinity in this country,” explains Smiley of the documentary, which suggests that domestic violence is a male issue. “Men are the main perpetrators of family violence and if we ignore that, we ignore the most glaringly obvious aspect of that problem. This is a male issue and we need to own that.”
Say it again for the people in the back, Smiley.
To tackle the male issue of domestic violence, Smiley says we need to redefine masculinity, “[Men are taught] to never show weakness, to never do anything ‘feminine’ or to never lose. We need to rewrite the rules and make healthier ones that don’t create an unrealistic expectation.”
As the documentary highlights, men get bashed, robbed and murdered more – mostly by other men – making them both the victims and the main perpetrators of violence.
Last year, 75 per cent of Australian people who died by suicide were males. “The suicide rate for men hasn’t improved in 10 years,” notes Smiley. “It astounds me that the leading cause of death in this country for young men is suicide. We spend time teaching young men to take care crossing the road, maybe we should also raise them to take care of their own wellbeing.”
To break the cycle, ALL men need to get involved, says Smiley who speaks to Chris Fitzpatrick, a suicide survivor, Michael Riley, a Relationship Australia Facilitator and Kobie Duncan, an Indigenous boxer and rapper for the documentary.
So what’s the antidote to toxic masculinity?
“I’m not sure there is one particular solution. But there are definitely some key things men can start doing. They can start becoming aware of some of the behaviours they may engage in that negatively affect others. Call out inappropriate shit your mates say, identify a mentor or role model in your life and ask them to check in on you, confide in people close to you when you’re down, listen to your friends when they’re not at their best, take a look at the relationships you have with women and work out how you contribute to them,” says Smiley.
You can start by watching #YesAllMen on October 16 on SBS at 7:30pm.