In the midst of an international conversation about gender identity, Hook Research spoke to young men across the UK in order to understand their thoughts about masculinity and what it means to ‘be a man’ in the twenty-first century. This is a topic we’ve been interested for a while now: since 2014 we’ve been tracking how men – particularly young, urban men who are at the coal-face of big societal changes – are talking and thinking about their gender, while simultaneously scrutinising the media that helps inform their opinions.
Our findings from this project were surprisingly refreshing and uplifting.
Far from the brutish, emotionally-repressed figure portrayed across some media – implicit in the ongoing dialogue around toxic or fragile masculinity (though, this image is beginning to crack) – the portrait of masculinity we uncovered is instead one of nuance and tolerance.
This doesn’t mean that men across the country are upending gender stereotypes completely.
Tensions between traditional and modern portrayals of masculinity are being grappled with constantly: which aspects of traditional, stereotypical masculinity (if any) are positive or constructive? Which are negative or pernicious? At the heart of this conundrum lies the big question on every guy’s mustachioed lips: what does it really mean to ‘be a man’ in the modern age?
So what does it mean to be a man in the modern age?
Curious? Take a look at Hook’s report into modern masculinity below:
Have any questions about our work?
We’re always eager to chat to people about men and their portrayal in the media. If you have any questions about our research or want to learn more about this fascinating area, be sure to get in touch! We’d love to come in and talk through our findings and explore how these insights might impact your brand or industry.