We spoke to over 50 young men living in Auckland about masculinity, and the gender expectations they’ve seen or experienced in their lives. Many of them said the expectations around what it means to “be a man” limit what they can do and how they can act.

“Showing emotion is a really big [thing? check audio?] that’s frowned upon, so like crying or, yeah sharing things” Name, 16, Maori/Pakeha

“You’re expected to be, as a guy, uh more tough … you’re not really meant to be sensitive, and if you’re sensitive people kind of look at you and go, what are you doing?” – speaker unknown (AGS?)

“Even I’ve said to someone oh just harden up… Like if you have the worst injury known to man they say oh just harden up take a concrete pill” – unknown source and speaker




“Some things that are… off limits… like, gardening or knitting … guys feel that, if they’re seen doing that, other guys will think they’re feminine… their social standing will go down” – unknown speaker (AGS?)

“Guys tend to have to conform to a very very strict kind of body shape, they have to have abs, they have to be really muscular, tall, about six foot is kind of the main attractive thing” – Name, 16, NZ Indian

“Like um when I was little um I always found sport as like um, like not fun. So I usually hanged around with like the like girls ’cause they were just chill read books and everything and I’m like oh sweet. … the basic ideas is [guys] will go like “you’re a f*ggot” ’cause you’re chilling with girls you come play rugby with the boys” – Name, 18, Samoan

“I was getting mocked and ’cause I watch Riverdale and like shows like that…I like watching like love movies and stuff like that and but everyone thought I was gay. These guys were calling me gay eh.” – Name, 18, NZ Chinese/Samoan

“Crying is like taken as a weakness. So like the idea to be a man is to not cry, just get over it. That’s what I was taught I don’t like it though. I want to cry (laughing) Nah yeah but like whenever I cry in front of my family they’re always like be a man, man up, don’t cry.” – Name, 18, Samoan