The MANdate research, UK-based survey, found that 80% of younger men think brands should try and promote a more positive impression of men’s mental health.
A survey of 2000 people across the UK shows that a combination of pandemic pressures and toxic stereotyping in the media is taking an especially heavy toll on the mental health of men under 35. It also underlines how important it is that we normalise talking about these struggles. Put together with media agency UM and JOE Media, the MANdate research shows that men are facing severe mental pressures fanned by gender stereotypes in the media and the battle against the pandemic.
75% of younger men believe social media is making it harder to remain psychologically healthy. The millennial and Gen-Z men who were a part of the survey were clear on some of the major causes of their distress: 64% think male stereotypes in advertising/media do real psychological damage.
The survey shows that stereotypes men aged 18-34 find most offensive are those about being a ‘player’ while 79% think the same about being seen as ‘sex-obsessed’. Men of colour also face specific stereotypes about being angry, lazy and rude.
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Almost of the men surveyed (46%) feel that blokey stereotypes of masculinity such as ‘always strong’ or ‘a lad’ were detrimental and dangerous. It was also found that men under 35 respond best to stuff that breaks through stereotypes — they think the best male-focussed ads show the as ‘competent parents’. It shows that the public needs to see realistic depictions of men who are good at what they do, are good dads and are also open, vulnerable and emotional.
80% of younger men think that brands and ads should try and promote a more positive impression of men’s mental health. Younger men are significantly more likely to feel like they have to look a certain way (59%, vs. 30% of men aged 35+) and nearly half (44%) believe brands should depict men of diverse body shapes.
And by listening to these views brands also have a lot to gain — men under 35 are significantly more likely (51%) to purchase from a brand that is trying to break offensive male stereotypes.
56% of younger men believe the best way to promote a positive perception of masculinity is to normalise getting help. The research reveals a generational divide between men of different ages and how they struggle differently with their mental health – and highlighted a promising shift for younger men. It showed that men aged 18-34 want to normalise getting help – and 44% think men should be shown that it’s okay to fail.