Its FIFA time – I’ve been a professional PE/Outdoor Ed teacher.much of my life Soccer is  great game and one of the least offensive for promoting unhealthy masculinities. Nevertheless, this extract from my book ‘Kicking a Goal for Masculinity’  is still relevant to soccer….

In today’s fast moving society, there are many confusing and mixed messages about what is a “real man.” This is magnified in sport, be it played at school, community or national level. Many pressures cause some men to conform to unhealthy models of masculinity. This is heightened amongst sportsmen, especially in the contact sports.

Such pressures ask men to override their wise inner voice—as this becomes habitual—some essential part of their humanity dies. This can also be a precursor to later emotional and psychological disturbances, even physical illness.

Ironically, whilst the unspoken rules for sportsmen require them to constantly prove and reprove their manliness on and off the field, many of the off-field activities find them behaving like boys rather than men. This is especially evident in attitudes and activities concerning women and drinking; indeed it is often called “the boy’s club.”

Admittedly modern professional sportsmen are under great pressures; today it’s a demanding full time career. While acknowledging the benefits of some pressure-releasing activities and important off-field bonding, let’s encourage players to choose activities that don’t harm their health, or hurt or demean others. – especially women.

It’s a stupid idea –  bonding by demeaning women – we were born inside women – have the guts to call your mates on any behaviour like that.

While we are at it, once and for all, let’s also debunk the myth that big drinking, big stud, big macho, big stoic  equals ‘big men.’ That is a cancer that will, as cancer does, destroy the host. That’s us guys!

Posted by: malechallengemedia | June 2, 2010

Why I wrote ‘Kicking a Goal for Masculinity’

Sport was originally used by many cultures to ‘build character’

My book encourages a sports-led evolution towards a healthy masculinity impacting the wider community. One of the ways boys grow up to be good men is from good role-modelling from other boys and men. Boys soak it up from good men (or bad) by osmosis.

And… as a dear colleague noted, I omitted the role women and girls may play in helping boys become good men. Sometimes the opposite happens when girls and women may have a negative influence resulting in boys being confused about their gender identity. My partner, Grace Gawler, reminded me of aspect and indeed how misogyny ( hatred of women) may be exacerbated by ‘poor’ mothering. (This article is becoming very communal)

But in general masculinity is learned, it is a societal construct that changes with time and from culture to culture—different to maleness which is biological and fixed. Today with fewer males in school teaching, with single parent families common, with visual media widespread, masculinity is significantly influenced by sportsmen’s behaviour—on and off the field.

My book encourages sportsmen to explore what a healthy masculinity looks like, what “Being a Real Man in Sport” involves, and how to model that to boys and young men.
Alex Karras encapsulates the book’s philosophy. 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.’

Confusion about Masculinity: In today’s fast moving society, there are many confusing and mixed messages about how to be a “real man.” This is magnified in sport, be it at school, community or national level. Male programming is a root cause of very large societal problems, from war, rape, gang violence, sexism and domestic violence.

Language in Sport: The language of sport is hard and filled with insults suggesting that a boy who is not tough enough, who does not live up to the masculine mystique, is really a girl or homosexual. The language heard by young boys, underpins many male attitudes.

Machismo and Misogyny: Sadly Australian men are known overseas as macho and misogynistic. Many Australian women say they would never marry an Australian man; describing them as arrogant, boorish, loutish, unconscious, sexist, racist, violent, un-evolved, even Neanderthal. My book encourages sportsmen to challenges those images
.
The Sport-Alcohol Connection: Australians are high alcohol consumers–male programming in sport reinforces the old myth that a big drinker makes a real man. Men commonly boast about their drinking; our young men think it normal to drink 30 beers at a party. The terrible consequences include; rampant alcoholism, road deaths, family dysfunction, serious health problems and violence—domestic and sexual, to name a few. It is high time to debunk the sport influence on male programming around alcohol.

A Better World: Sportsmen have the potential to shape and influence the lives of boys and young men who are often confused about masculinity and are searching for positive role-models. Sportsmen have an opportunity not only to provide those role-models for boys and young men but they can help shape masculinity for the betterment of our local and global community.

Great Role Models: My book has stories from famous sportsmen who are doing that including, Alex Karras, Kris Massie, Troy Jaques, Jackson Katz and Joe Ehrmann.

Posted by: malechallengemedia | May 25, 2010

Masculinity and Australian Sport

From the short book  – Kicking a Goal for Masculinity – by Pip Cornall

Australia is a great sporting nation and much of our national identity and pride comes from our prowess in sport. For a nation of only 20 million people, we dominate the world in many sports—a remarkable achievement! In the past our young people had numerous sporting heroes to look up to—men and women who were positive role-models. In recent decades however, an ugly side has emerged—with sledging, performance drugs, violence, sexism, sexual assault, domestic violence and racism impacting many sports including Olympic.
As a former PE teacher I’m proud of our amazing sporting prowess on the world stage. However I’m not proud of the problems that have emerged and I write this book firm in the belief that we can turn the ugliness around—in fact, even more impressively, we can use our sport to promote positive change on a local and global scale. In a time of single parent families and with few male primary school teachers remaining, it is imperative that sportsmen promote healthy models of masculinity to our boys and young men.

I believe at the root of these problems in sport lie some outmoded concepts of masculinity. In the book we will seek to identify those unhealthy masculinities that need changing within the sporting culture—with a goal of making our sport even better than ever.
From Boys to Men:
Boys grow up into good men with good role-modelling from men—that is one of the primary themes in my book. I will be promoting this in schools and sports clubs to encourage healthier forms of masculinity. My book encourages sportsmen to explore what a healthy masculinity looks like, what “Being a Real Man in Sport” involves, and how to model that to boys and young men.
I’ve kept my writing simple to help younger readers, boys and young men, develop clear ideas about what a healthy masculinity is. With confusing concepts of the “real man” promoted in the media, video games and sport, my book aims to plant the seeds of a healthy masculinity. Healthy masculinity and integrity go hand-in-hand.

No matter what goals you achieve in life—be they in sport, commerce, art, music or education—without good integrity and ethical standards, your self-esteem will be compromised. No matter how much you pretend, or how many brave masks you put on (the tough guise), you will not like yourself on the inside. Poor self-esteem is often a root cause of drug and alcohol abuse and/or criminal behaviour. I have observed this to be true across a broad spectrum of young men I have worked with—ranging from Olympic athletes to gang kids in juvenile detention centres.

Posted by: malechallengemedia | May 25, 2010

Sustainable Masculinity – Which Wolf will you Feed?

A Cherokee Legend:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Here is the same story, but it is called “Grandfather Tells” which is also known as “The Wolves Within”

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

Here is a video version appropriate to young people everywhere

Posted by: malechallengemedia | May 21, 2010

Overcoming Violence – Exploring Masculinities, Violence and Peace

I support the gender initiative from the WPP – Women Peacemakers Program found at http://www.ifor.org/WPP/index.html
Here is their article – Gender lies at the root of war and peace and it is increasingly being recognized that issues of masculinities need to be addressed in the field of peacebuilding and active nonviolence.

WPP is convinced that in order to transform cultures of war and violence, women peace activists need to work together with male allies on these issues. In light of this analysis, WPP has organized the Training of Trainers Program “Overcoming Violence – Exploring Masculinities, Violence and Peace”.

The first part of the ToT took place from November 30 till December 12, 2009 in The Netherlands, and brought together 19 pioneering activist men, from 17 different countries.

The training focused on gender-sensitive active non-violence, the theory of masculinities and its relation to violence, and participatory and gender-sensitive facilitation.

The rich exchange of strategies and cultural practices related to peacebuilding, active nonviolence and issues related to masculinities and femininities has been an empowering experience for all.

During 2010, the WPP will be intensively working together with the trainees while they are preparing their community projects and follow-up trainings in their home context. All these activities include working together with female allies for gender-sensitive active nonviolent peacebuilding. Mid – 2010, the 19 trainees will participate in a second Training of Trainers as to exchange knowledge and experiences, and consolidate the learning into a training manual.

A first powerful outcome of the Training of Trainers on gender sensitive active non violence for men that WPP organized in December 2009, is a statement produced by the ToT trainees to affirm their commitment to gender-sensitive peacebuilding:

“We understand that men and women are socialised in a patriarchal system that legitimises use of different forms of violence to gain, restore and control power affecting powerless and marginalised sections of society. We fully acknowledge that women suffer far more than men from gender oppression.”

More at http://www.ifor.org/WPP/Together%20forTransformation-ACalltoMenandBoys_final.pdf

Posted by: malechallengemedia | May 16, 2010

Women of Silence – by Grace Gawler

This is a poem for men to pass on to any women friends dealing with cancer. It’s also useful for men to feel into the poem as a means to better understand women and ourselves.

It’s from Grace Gawler’s book ‘Women of Silence’ – the emotional healing of breast cancer

Posted by: malechallengemedia | May 9, 2010

Men at action – Cleaning up our Mess

The Global Mess
Lets face it, despite our brilliance in certain areas, we humans have made a mess; one wonders how we can have been so stupid in the big picture. (Lack of holistic thinking)  As men we men played a major role in creating this mess due to our conditioning which will be discussed in more detail later in this booklet.
Masculinity was previously conveyed to boys by the elders in the tribe/village. Today’s media portrays a confusing range regarding masculinity and thus my booklets aim to clarify the subject while validating the many different types of men and masculinities.
Therefore when I use the term men, I’m recognizing a huge diversity or continuum within the gender. Some of my statements may be relevant to one end of that continuum and not apply to you. However myths are powerful; they shape societies, set behavioural norms and impact all men in some way.
The dominant “tough man” myth still lingers today; it is a very powerful and ancient myth, filled with irrational dogma. Most men and boys I’ve worked with said they never measured up to this impossible standard. It is an outmoded myth and quite dangerous for men and those they love. Therefore I encourage you to be authentic. Do what it takes to become your true self regardless of where you fit on the ’male scale.’
Mess Cleaning —Opportunity for positive action!
Since many men like action, a phenomenon exists that just might be our saving grace. When we men clean up our messes, we embody a level of consciousness different to the one we had when we made the original mess. Remember Einstein saying, “One can’t solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it.”
Mess cleaning creates an opportunity to grow bigger and step up into certain positive character qualities. Positive change begins the moment we engage in cleaning up our messes. Sadly our socialization as men ensures that we have made plenty; especially relationship messes.

If we have told lies, cheated, stolen or profited unfairly from certain behaviours, that weighs heavily on our soul and I believe will ultimately harm our health. But that was in the past, so today, with your new consciousness and intention, get on the phone and begin making amends.
Reclaiming Integrity
Integrity is crucial for the cleaning up process; our integrity may have been off when we made the mess but we can enter this next stage with new and clear integrity. (What a relief!) I’ll discuss this complex topic in future handbooks, suffice to say now that we cannot become an authentic being while our integrity is off; it will always come back to harm us greatly not to mention all those connected to us.
You could make a mess list today and begin to make things right; sometimes it can be as simple as an explanation and/or an apology.
Mess cleaning is a good starting place for many men embracing change. It is action learning, it is action change, it can be started today and it is a concrete step towards growing ourselves.
•    Our consciousness shifts the moment we decide to mess-clean
•    We grow during the process – growth is significant and lasting
•    Many men like action —this is positive change action
•    The rewards are greater than we can imagine
•    Cleaning up our messes locally contributes to peace globally
•    No man who does this work wants to go back to the old ways

Posted by: malechallengemedia | May 9, 2010

The new male paradigm – embracing positive change

Extract from Sustainable Masculinity by Pip Cornall

One of the main reasons men are learning to change is that of improved relationships with their partners, their children and their workmates.
As men learn emotional competencies they are more sought after as companions and confidents; attracting quality friends because they are more authentic and compassionate.

Numerous studies show that the happiest people are those with the best relationships. Usually this requires good emotional competencies which form the basis of good partnership skills. Above all, these people are happy with themselves. I’ve certainly found this to be true for my self.
All positive change requires a shift in personal consciousness first. I define consciousness as an awareness and congruency occurring across the five aspects that comprise a human being; namely our physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual layers. Becoming more conscious as men, means that we are less influenced by our unconscious parts. The unconscious is responsible for many of the choices humans make. Literally we are not in charge; we are not running our own show. The unconscious needs to be factored in because it can destroy all the good we do. (Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods Syndrome)
Therefore it is vital to maintain constant vigilance and congruency (integrity) between these aspects of ourselves; that is consciousness in action. Equally important is the congruent relationship between all aspects of ourselves to other people and the world we live in. There should be transparency and flow between all our parts.
When there is not, that is called compartmentalization. One example would be a gang boss kindly playing with his wife and child while ordering the extermination of a rival gang on the phone. Most men learn to compartmentalize to some extent. Our job requires courageous self-examination to see if we walk our talk, if there is flow, consistency and transparency between all our layers.
I am writing this series of booklets because I believe in the innate intelligence of people; so do I believe in men. Our fathers and grandfathers achieved amazing things against all odds. We can as well but today’s challenge is more complex, both local and global, requiring a different type of courage; one arising from and solidly centred in our inner congruence mentioned above.
In this book we’ll explore the needs for some new male norms (values) and consider them within a framework of sustainability. Today many men are working to change themselves and help others which is re-affirming of our potential to create a global culture of peace; re-affirming humanity’s ability to adapt and survive.

For men this work is inspiring; re-inventing ourselves by becoming authentic and then helping other men and boys to change one at a time is like adding a dropper of dye to a beaker of water, drop by drop, until suddenly all the water turns the same colour, the colour, a metaphor for the new male paradigm, a true partnership paradigm — partnership with men, women and children of all races, partnership with the environment.

Posted by: malechallengemedia | May 6, 2010

Male Challenge supports Theses on Sustainability by Eric Zencey

Male Challenge suggests sustainable masculinity as a new paradigm shift is foundational for other forms of sustainability.

Deeply entrenched misogynistic beliefs still underpin much male led behaviour today in commerce, politics, education, agriculture, education and so on

I thought Erice’s theses was important from and educational sense and infomration boys and men should embrace.

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/5502/

Posted by: malechallengemedia | April 29, 2010

Sustainable Masculinity – Becoming a Real Man

Modern concepts of masculinity are predominantly informed by the media and most of that is fantasy. There are in circulation today, many age old myths about what makes a real man. Many are sheer nonsense!

Ironically to become real men we have to get real; we have to become authentic and that is rarely portrayed in modern media. To be authentic is to be in touch with the parts of ourselves that we are cut off from.

Our socialization as men usually makes that very difficult. In particular, Australian men are subjected to a very macho form of socialization which is well recognised outside the country. As we restore our feeling abilities and grow inner awareness we can be better guided by our own innate intelligence; our true inner nature.

Positive change can be as easy as settling into one’s authentic self —not the self that false male cultures ask us to be.
The Wounded Feeling Function

For reasons that served us in the past men have been trained to suppress their feeling abilities. Renowned Jungian analyst, Robert Johnson calls it the wounded feeling function.
An unhealed feeling function is dangerous; it is a destroyer of the feminine and all things of beauty. It is a destroyer for the man and all those he loves because a man needs an inner balance of masculine and feminine energies. These are known as yang and yin energies in the East and need to be balanced in all humans regardless of gender.
The feeling function is a mid brain or limbic brain function. It is here that emotional intelligence the foundation of good relationships is located. Limbic-brain-challenged people try to fill their emptiness with addictions. Drugs, alcohol, obsessive compulsions, overwork, adrenaline sports, relationships, sex compulsion, computer games, gambling, TV, and violence are ways they try to fill their holes; which of course is impossible.
Men with unhealthy feeling functions tend to addictive behaviour because they have little sense of meaning and are cut off from their authentic selves; witness the high rates of suicide among Australian males. Therefore in order for men to become authentic they must heal their feeling function.

A real man is an authentic man; a man with a healthy feeling function.
I know this is possible because I have reinvented myself and as I became more healed I have been a catalyst to help other men heal and as I healed I became less moody, more joyful and more humorous.

And wouldn’t you know it—after I did all this growth work a most wonderful woman came into my life. I found the love I always wanted.

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