Selling manhood

Qld Reds[Publisher’s Note: Geoffrey Blainey had a different take on manhood than Andy Paine:

“The idea of distance throws new light on the rise of and importance of whaling, wool, gold and the dynamic export industries of the nineteenth century, on the immigration of Chinese in the 1850’s and Italians a few decades later, and on immigration from the British isles throughout Australian history. It illuminates the reasons why Australia was for long such a masculine society, why it became a more egalitarian society than North America, and why it was a relatively peaceful society” — ‘The tyranny of distance’ by Geoffrey Blainey (preface ix).

Sea Routes to and from Australia, c 1800
Sea routes to and from Australia in ‘The tyranny of distance’ by Geoffrey Blainey p 22-23

Who is right, Geoffrey or Andy?]


Travelling around the city the other day, I couldn’t help but notice a billboard in Highgate Hill (it was about 10 metres wide after all). It was an ad for the Queensland Reds rugby union team, and next to a photo of three of their players was the slogan “HOW WE CONFRONT OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS WHAT DEFINES US”.

Surely I’m not the only person who finds that slogan a bit strange. I’m still not sure exactly what it means, but I think what this ad is trying to do is to play on some of our culturally ingrained notions of manhood in it’s talk of “responsibility”. The image of men as providers and defenders – of their families, their communities, their nation. Of hardworking, resilient pillars of strength. Most males probably in some way see this as part of their role as men, and the idea of “confronting our responsibility” resonates…

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