Female empowerment has been very much in the spotlight this year. We’ve seen women and their myriad emotions and characters increasingly championed in advertising. But we’ve noticed that very few brands seem to speak to men in an authentic, emotional way.
Recently, we’ve seen some fresh cultural examples of men and masculinity being addressed in interesting ways. The changing idea of masculinity was at the heart of this year’s Southbank Centre’s ‘Being a Man Festival’. This event featured talks such as ‘Men and Body Image’, debates like ‘Being A Father’ and screenings like ‘The Mask You Live In’. It was set up to dive into culture’s narrowing definitions of masculinity and paint a very different picture of what it means to be a man in the 21st century. We are starting to see an increasing desire in culture for the celebration of a different kind of masculinity – one that goes against stereotypes and archaic patriarchal ideals. For example, #MasculinitySoFragile ridicules examples of male-targeted products or cultural behaviours that enforce a very dated masculinity. CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) encourages men to fearlessly “speak up” in difficult life situations without worrying about being considered weak.
Although culture appears to be embracing masculinity in its many forms, it doesn’t feel like brands have yet caught on. As the celebration of a more open and emotional masculinity emerges, we’d love to see brands seizing the opportunity to play an active cultural role in helping to embrace a more fluid kind of masculinity.