The curtain has finally come down on the alpha male and lad culture, according to a new study which claims that two-thirds of British men believe negative advertising stereotypes can trigger lasting psychological damage.
The MANdate study, carried out by media agency UM, in conjunction with mental health charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and publisher Joe Media, found 64% of male respondents believe negative portrayals in advertising can cause real damage.
The main culprit it seems is social media, with three-quarters of men fearing their mental wellbeing is being endangered on the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, where the pressure to conform to traditional stereotypes such as being strong or behaving like a ’lad’ can overwhelm.
In all, 46% of men aged under 35 viewed entrenched societal cliches and both detrimental and dangerous to individuals.
Meanwhile, nine of ten (90%) also claimed portrayals of men as ’mean to women’ was harmful, with 79% disturbed by depictions of men as being sex-obsessed.
To counter prevailing attitudes, 56% of men aged 18 to 34 believe the best way to promote positive perceptions of masculinity is to normalise the importance of seeking outside help. A further 44% would like to see more done to communicate the message that it is OK to fail.
UM decision sciences manager George McMahon said: “Men, especially those under 35, respond best to representation that breaks through stereotypes. It’s absolutely in the best interests of advertisers to take greater responsibility.”
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