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Monash Experts: Government announces three-year trial project to combat toxic masculinity on social media

Monash University 2 mins read

Monash University experts are available to comment on the federal government’s three-year project to address toxic masculinity on social media and explain why this announcement is a positive step in acknowledging the dangerous influence of misogynist influencers.

Dr Stephanie Wescott, Monash Faculty of Education
Contact: +61 430 014 966 or Stephanie.Wescott@monash.edu

Professor Steven Roberts, Monash Faculty of Education
Contact: +61 3 9903 4840 or steven.d.roberts@monash.edu

Dr Wescott and Professor Roberts are available to comment on:

  • Toxic masculinity
  • Radicalisation of boys
  • Misogynist influencers
  • Spread of toxic attitudes and behaviour among boys
  • Their research on the impacts of Andrew Tate’s content on boys in Australian schools

The following can be attributed to Dr Wescott and Professor Roberts:

“Yesterday’s announcement of a three-year trial project to combat messages of toxic masculinity is a positive step in acknowledging the dangerous influence of misogynist influencers such as Andrew Tate on boys and young men.

“We know from our research on the impacts of Tate’s content on boys in Australian schools that the effects of his messages are being felt by girls and women in classrooms across the country. We also know that boys who consume Andrew Tate’s content are more likely to have unhealthy views on relationships; a fact that is particularly troubling given the alarming rates of family violence in Australia.

“While the government’s funding announcement is an important step, we caution against an approach often used to address these concerns: implementing short-term, ‘quick fix’ programs and interventions that don’t have capacity for ongoing work with boys and young men. There is mixed evidence on the effectiveness of these sorts of approaches, and there is currently no uniform approach or strategy for evaluating their impact. We hope to see investment in long-term, direct and targeted approaches that draw on best practice and that take a gender transformative approach to challenge the social norms that negatively affect boys’ mental health and emotions.

“We also challenge the assumption that boys need only to hear from other men about how to develop positive masculinity, and note that the inclusion of only male role models in healthy masculinity programs are not backed by robust evidence. Boys benefit from engagement with people of diverse gender identities across all life stages, and from critical conversations about masculinity. Identifying only men as positive role models may reinforce some of the problems and stereotypes that healthy masculinity programs attempt to address.

“The reasons boys and young men find extremist influencers like Andrew Tate appealing are complex and multi-faceted, and so must be the approaches we use to address them. We look forward to the federal government and the Minister for Social Service consulting broadly with experts in the field, drawing on the existing research that has made recommendations on this issue and shaping a response that does justice to the significant harm caused by endemic violence against women in Australia.”

For more Monash media stories visit our news & events site: monash.edu/news

For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, contact the Monash University Media Unit on +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu

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