Off your horse Duke, it’s time we had a talk

WHAT is it about blokes and communicating? Why aren’t we very good at it?
Nanjing Night Net

Is it part of the same conundrum as to why we find it uncomfortable to talk about our feelings? Is it our socialisation? Is it just our general confusion about our role in modern western society?

Once it was pretty clear what a bloke had to do – fight off wild beasts, find a woman and impregnate her. Then protect her and the offspring. Get them food. Keep them warm with fire. Keep the beasts away and die at a ripe old age of about 30.

In those days a few grunts would suffice. Are you hungry? “Grunt” Do you want to make love? “Grunt” Do we have food? “Grunt” and point to it.

But there is not much hunting or gathering for us to do these days – there are not too many sabre-tooth tigers roaming about the streets – and the gathering we do is generally from Coles or Woolies.

Women are earning just as much money as us (if not more). They are also socialising us more (how many males are there in primary schools or child care centres?)

The Industrial Revolution, which forced men out and into work in factories or mines to feed their families, has morphed into the Information Revolution and men and women are both being forced away from their families – working in offices or shops while kids are plunked in childcare and school.

Men are now required to be more articulate – but where does this leave us? Confused, I suggest. And the trouble is we find it difficult to express it.

Men’s health expert Kerry Cronan says: “the idea of masculinity entrenched within our culture is that men should be tough, fearless and self-reliant and that they should not be seen as vulnerable.”

“When it comes to health and relationships, these beliefs can inhibit men from being honest and open and it can also prevent them from seeking help.”

So listen up blokes – the latest research shows that it is time for John Wayne to move over. That the stiff upper lip approach by men to their health and their relationships has outlived its usefulness and may even be killing us.

Studies have shown that men access health services far less than women do, to the obvious detriment of their health. The head of the Australian Psychology Society Professor Bob Montgomery said in a recent article that traditional ideas about men are serving them badly in the modern world.

“The more traditional view of masculinity that a man holds – the less successful he is at intimate relationships and family relationships,” he says.

Research presented at the 27th International Congress on Applied Psychology (ICAP) says that encouraging closer male relationships could be the one of the keys to improving the likelihood of men reaching out for help.

Yes – blokes opening up to blokes – scary thought isn’t it? But if this can lead to better health outcomes for us – why are we so afraid of being emotionally close to other men? With Men’s Health Week running this week (from June 11 to 17) it may be a good time to pause and ponder this conundrum.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.