What Does It Mean To Be A Modern Man?

Shooting the film with young people

Credit: Kamina Walton

Cai Burton and the Young People’s Festival of Ideas asked the good folk of Bristol what it means to be a man in 2015.

Does being a man mean working 9-5 and bringing home the cash for your wife and kids? Does it mean hitting the gym until your body is chiselled? How about growing and grooming that beard until it looks like you’ve put zero effort into making it perfect? Or perhaps it means being a Meninist?

Defining masculinity isn’t easy

Defining masculinity isn’t easy – it’s changed so much in the past 50 years. Perhaps the pressures placed upon men today to be the ‘embodiment of toughness’, the ‘handyman’ or the ‘breadwinner’  contribute to a suicide rate that’s 3½ times that of women.

Men are encouraged to fit into this pre-determined stereotype of the strong, brave, emotionless leader who stands up for what he believes in. If men are seen to be anything other than masculine, then they are no longer ‘real men’.

Does ‘being a man’ mean something different to     ‘being a woman’?

Gender isn’t as clear cut as it used to be. Movements like Feminism and LGBT+ Pride all aim to dismantle these established gender roles. When you begin to break it down, ‘being a man’ doesn’t mean anything different to ‘being a woman’, ‘being trans’ or ‘being gay’. Why should your gender define you?

As part of the Young People’s Festival of Ideas, we’re holding a debate asking ‘What is Masculinity?’ and ‘Who is the Suppressed Majority?’ To spark some debate before the event, we took to the streets to find out what the public thought about issues surrounding masculinity and what it means to be a modern man.

Young People’s Festival of Ideas event ‘The Suppressed Majority’ takes place at the Arnolfini on March 11th 2015. Tickets are free for anyone under 25 but you’ve got to book!

Are you a modern man, or is there no such thing? As feminism hits popular culture, are men becoming a suppressed majority? Tweet using the hashtag #YPFoI or let the Young People’s Festival of Ideas team know via Facebook,  or have a chat with us on Facebook & Twitter.  

Support more young people to have their voices heard

Rife is Watershed‘s online magazine created for young people, by young people.

We offer paid internships and publish work by young writers, photographers, illustrators, and filmmakers from all sorts of backgrounds, helping them get into creative careers. Rife has reached over 8,000 young people through our workshops, over 220 young people have made stuff for Rife on topics ranging from mental health to identity to baked beans, and last year, over 200,000 people visited our website.

In these complex and uncertain times hearing from and supporting young people who are advocating for social change and contributing fresh perspectives has never been so important. 

Through supporting Rife you can ensure that this important work continues and that more young people have their voices heard.