Posted by: malechallengemedia | April 5, 2010

Pip Cornall and Sustainable Masculinity…what is it?

My website and package, ‘ The Male Challenge’ asks males to adopt new and lasting (sustainable) male codes of behaviour

Some years ago I coined the phrase Sustainable Masculinity…what is it?

SUSTAINABLE MASCULINITIES are healthy male norms, beliefs and behaviours which promote peace and environmental healing at individual, community and global levels.

A quote by Alex Karras encapsulates what Sustainable Masculinity is about. Karras was a famous US footballer who played with the Detroit Lions in the 60s and 70s. He was also a professional wrestler, actor and writer, starring in Blazing Saddles and TV sitcoms.

He said: “It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than hide them, more strength to relate to people than to dominate them, more “manhood” to abide by thought-out principles rather than blind reflex. Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles and an immature mind.”

Unfortunately some aspects of the hegemonic or hyper masculinities promoted today in the media, politics, commerce and sport are very unhealthy.

But with education, in each male, they can be indentified and transformed. The old societal model, the power-over model, grew from a male-dominated-warrior-mindset and is NOT SUSTAINABLE in our current nuclear/technological age.

  • Masculinity is a social construct – a collection of norms which impact the way boys and men think and act
  • Masculinity changes over time and from culture to culture
  • It varies from sub-culture to sub-culture (football to ballet)
  • Masculinity it is different to our maleness which is biological and fixed
  • Therefore masculinity can be continually modified as appropriate
  • There are always positive and negative forms of masculinity.
  • The male challenge asks males to identify and transform negative masculine beliefs and codes and therefore behaviour

The following is said, not from a place of blame, but from identifying a need for positive change. It is true many men have made wonderful changes and many play a part in spreading healthy masculinities. However, today, right now, ONE GENDER; MALES, are responsible for most wars, rape, domestic violence, gang violence, sexism, racism, pornography, sex trafficking, misogyny, vandalism and burglary.

The UN now acknowledges that for women to be safe and for violence to cease, we need to make significant changes to the concepts of masculinity.

“Ideally democracy is meant to be a partnership model of society- one which values women’s rights and promotes racial equality. Unfortunately we have a situation today, where many of the old masculine beliefs and behaviours are embedded in our belief systems and actually work against the ideals of democracy and equity.” – Pip Cornall

With conscious and informed choice we can reinvent or re-construct masculinity, designing models that empower men, women and children.

Because men have traditionally made the decisions, in commerce, family, community and government, the old model had little input from women.

The old model lead to war and environmental destruction – the theme – dominate others – dominate the environment. The assumptions and beliefs of the model are not sustainable in today’s world.

Solving today’s complex issues requires a new societal model – the partnership model which gives women and men equal input.

Knowing we can’t dominate the environment the partnership model seeks a healthy relationship with nature.

In the partnership model, male identity is not equated with domination and conquest-be it of women, children, other men, other nations, or nature.

These new male norms will help us in conflicts by embracing co-operation as a solution.

For more study material see


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