A study by Lynx last year revealed that only 11% of Australian men consider themselves to be both masculine and attractive — meaning we’re not big fans of the bloke staring back at us in the mirror.
Is it the bombardment of messages about what it takes to be a man? Is it a fixation with what women want? Is it the pressure of societal expectations?
Dr Dain Heer (below) — world-renowned author, speaker, and self-described “facilitator of consciousness” — is acutely aware of the burdens carried by modern men.
“The obvious role for men to play in society is the alpha male,” says the good doctor.
“How strong am I? How many people can I beat up? But where does that leave the other men – the ones who don’t want to be a complete arsehole? The only option is to be the ‘nice guy’. But this leads them to pretend they’re some kind of passive doormat.”
Dr Heer’s solution? Encouraging the return of the gentleman, who has room for both strength and sensitivity.
“A gentleman is honorable, kind, and caring, and also potent, sexual, able to make money and able to contribute to family,” says the doc.
“The most important quality is honour. Men should honour women, children, the planet, and yourself and your needs. You don’t have to discount yourself in the process.
“Stop pretending to be something you’re not and just be you.”
Dr Heer reckons the modern gentleman — who strikes a balance between those two stereotypes of the doormat and the alpha male — isn’t afraid of displaying his emotion and vulnerability, making it easier to reach out for help with his mental health.
“I see a lot of guys trying to be this ideal male, but this just means they’re constantly judging themselves and changing their behaviour according to what has and hasn’t ‘worked’ in the past,” he says.
“Someone else’s idea of who you are supposed to be is nowhere near big enough for who you are really are. It’s time to stop pretending to be something you’re not, and just get to be you. It’s so easy to be you.
“Imagine if you could look in the mirror and think, ‘I like the man looking back at me’. That’s entirely possible when you stop trying to fulfil some role, and just be authentic.”
Read more from the ‘facilitator of consciousness’ in his book Being You, Changing the World — Is Now the Time? or at his website