Discover Modern Man’s Lifestyle
Being an Australian man has never been more challenging. The modern Australian male juggles work and family, runs marathons, volunteers in a charity, fishes, plays golf and enjoys a glass of red wine with dinner and has a great life, it seems.
He is sensitive and caring, and loves nothing more than spending time with his wife and children. He works hard and is proud of his achievements.
He also loves his downtime and has a full and varied social life and circle of mates.
But before we dive into the cliches – some statistics:
- In 2018, there were 12.4 million males in Australia—just under half (49%) of the country’s population. Overall, for every 100 women, there are 98.4 men
- The typical Australian male is 36.4 years old, lives in a major city, is employed, has a non-school qualification, and is married
(ABS 2017, 2018b, 2018c, 2018d, 2019a).
- In 2018, the majority of Australian males were of working age. In a group of 20 men, 4 (20%) would be 0–14-year-old boys, 13 (66%) would be working-age men (15–64), and 3 (15%) would be over 65 (ABS 2018a).
- Over the last 10 years, the proportion of the total male population in older age groups has been increasing, particularly the 70–74 age group, which has grown by 6.3% since 2006. In comparison, the 0–4 year age group has grown by 0.2% in the same time period
But there is way more to the average Aussie male than the AIHW (The Australia Institute of Health and Welfare) stats show.
They don’t cover the Bondi surfers, or the golfing retired, or the cool Sydney teenagers,
The average Australian man today leads a different lifestyle to the man of the past.
He’ll often work in an office, or from home (post pandemic) instead of a property or farm, and spends much of his time in front of a computer, rather than doing physical work.
He’s much more health-conscious than his predecessors, though, and may go to the gym a few times a week and take part in sports – either team events like rugby or cricket, or prefer solo sports like surfing or running.
City guys are likely to be far more fashion conscious than those out in the sticks – arguing about the best pool cues Melbourne has to offer probably isn’t a conversation to be had too often out in Coober Pedy country.
In common with the rest of the world, the divide between country guys and city ones is quite stark.
Despite the advances in technology, medical services and societal change, life is still tough out in the real Australian outback. This is especially true of young indigenous Australian men, who find it especially difficult to “stake their claim” in what can still be a challenging environment.
“Acceptance,” and integration is improving all the time, and social media and technology helped to level the playing field for millions of indigenous men who felt lost and unheard even just a decade ago.
Outside of the cities, the mining industry in Australia has been one of the major sources of male employment for generations, along with farming.
Both industries are physically demanding. They entail long periods away from home, and often for weeks or months at a time, because of the distances involved.
It’s no surprise that even “modern” Australian males, exposed to the constraints and hardships of separation and loneliness, need to let their hair down and break loose on their down time. This can be especially tough on young families and can lead to a lot of friction and misunderstandings because of the clash with modern society’s expectations.
There has never been so much pressure on men to act and behave in ways which might seem uncomfortable and constraining for them. There is a lot of confusion out there about what is expected of them and deemed to be acceptable behaviour under the new codes and norms.
A huge part of the modern man’s lifestyle is now mental health awareness and wellbeing. This is a massive problem worldwide, but Australia has a huge undercurrent of issues brought about by large contrasts between its urban and rural expectations and cultures.
The result of these pressures is an uptick in the suicide rate for men.
- Again, according the AIHW, for approximately the first half of the period 1907 to 2020, age-specific suicide rates in males generally increased with age. But by the beginning of the 1990s, this pattern had changed a lot. Males aged 20–39 and 80 and older had the highest suicide rates.
- Since 2008, the highest suicide rates have been observed in middle-aged males (aged 40–49) and older males aged 85 and over; but it’s important to keep in mind that suicide rates for men 85 and older have historically been based on a small number of people compared to other age groups. Because of this, suicide rates can change a lot over time and should be interpreted with care.
This has real implications for Australian society, as a whole. Young men trying (and failing) to keep up with supposed desirable “lifestyles” are susceptible to depression and feelings of inadequacy and despair.
The pressure to emulate and live up to the glossy magazine image of the perfect modern man with the “on trend” basketball jersey design or expensive trainers and a Lamborghini in the garage, is taking its toll.
This isn’t just a male problem. Post-pandemic Australia needs to wake up to the kind of pressures it is putting on its young people of all sexes today.
Across mainstream and social media, the relentless promotion of the consumer society lifestyle choices needs curbing – especially with a cost of living and inflation crisis looming.
The fresh change of government should help as its policies would seem to be far more tolerant and inclusive across all age ranges, sexualities, and religious views.
A modern lifestyle is always a choice – but every choice has a cost.
It’s worth asking, before you embark on the “have it all” lifestyle route, whether the price you might pay will be worth it.
If you are interested in joining Ellen as a member of our contributor community, visit Madhouse.pub or email [email protected]