About the Never Follow campaign
The Line's campaign was developed to support young men to develop positive personal identities not constrained by gender stereotypes. The campaign focuses on promoting healthier masculinities so that all young men can live free from limiting and rigid stereotypes of how a ‘real man’ should act, feel, behave.
Men grow up in a peer culture of aggression, and if they stand against it, they fear being socially alienated or becoming a target themselves.
Many young men grow up feeling pressured to conform to narrow expectations about how “real men” should be, encouraging them to suppress emotions and not ask for help, or to use aggression to gain respect.
Living up to the pressures of being a ‘real man’ can cause harm to young men and those around them. By getting rid of the rules about who can have what qualities, people of all genders can be respected for who they are.
- Young men shouldn’t have to prove they are tough and strong, or suppress their emotions, to be accepted as a man.
- If you have to be aggressive, disrespectful or use violence to be accepted by your mates, you should probably get new mates.
- To show up and be seen – as who you really are – takes guts.
Our campaign ambassadors
"I think this day and age, there's a lot of things changing. So there's a lot of different avenues to be whatever you want to be, which I think is just great.
You don't have to just be strong, tough and superior and all these things. There's just a a whole lot of different things out there."
[Titles] Jarman Impey, AFL Player and The Line ambassador
Have the confidence to be yourself. If you're feeling uncomfortable to hang around a certain group. That group is not for you, you know what I mean?
You find yourself - oh I don't like the way that they're making jokes or saying different things, like, that's not who I am. There's plenty of different social groups out there, and you'll find your way and you'll find your path. And you will eventually find your different personal groups. So just be confident with yourself.
I think this day and age, there's a lot of things changing. So there's a lot of different avenues to be whatever you want to be, which I think is just great. You don't have to just be strong, tough and superior and all these things. There's just a a whole lot of different things out there.
Jarman Impey is an AFL player for the Hawthorn Football Club. Originally drafted to Port Adelaide, Jarman built a strong connection to his indigenous roots while at the club, later moving back to Victoria to be closer to his family and his home town.
A proud Yorta Yorta man, he enjoys being able to go out into the community to tell his stories and share his culture, which he believes is a great part of being an AFL footballer.
Jarman believes in the importance of showing emotion and showing love, something he learnt from his father.
“As a man, there's a lot of pressure to act a certain way. To be a certain person. But you know what? To me, real strength is the ability to be compassionate. It's easy to follow the crowd and try to fit in but I’d challenge you to never follow – walk your own path.”
[Titles] Ziggy Ramo, Musician and The Line Ambassador
My new song “Pretty Boy”, I came up with that name because one of my good friends, Kwame, he called me a pretty boy and he was like, you know, “I don’t want that to be offensive”, or whatever. And I was like, “Man, that’s not offensive, that’s dope.” And that made me think about why we associate that being a negative thing because men can be pretty, women can be handsome. Like, who cares?! Like, just be whoever you want to be.
So this is the chorus to “Pretty Boy”:
I just love my own skin, my own skin
So sexy when I’m dancing, I’m dancing
And I’m over trying to fit in, fit in
I’m too pretty not to love myself
Learn to love your own skin, your own skin
So sexy when you sink in, you sink in
And there ain’t no need to fit in, fit in
You’re too pretty not to be yourself
[On screen titles] The Line
Indigenous hip hop artist Ziggy Ramo caught the attention of Australian and international music industries through his fearless approach to tackling the big issues.
Ziggy’s powerful lyrics cover themes such as Indigenous inequality, racism and mental health and saw him touted by Triple J Unearthed as 'One To Watch'.
Ziggy believes that until we reach young males and build their capacity and understanding of masculinity we will stay in this toxic cycle that causes so much pain and suffering for all of us.
"People will celebrate you for being you. And that's something I try to portray to school kids when I go to do school talks now. Is to be yourself, and you'll fit in where you fit in at the right time, but don't feel judged by the people."
[Titles] Zach Merrett, AFL Player and The Line Ambassador
I think the biggest one for me was, you know, feeling insecure or feeling like I was going to be judged for purely being myself. I sort of felt like at 15 you try to fit into the norms of society or the traditions of what a 15 year old Australian male is meant to be like. If I could go back ten years now it would just be be yourself. No one's judging, no one actually cares. People will celebrate you for being you. And that's something I try to portray to school kids when I go to do school talks now. Is to be yourself, and you'll fit in where you fit in at the right time, but don't feel judged by the people.
Zach Merrett is an AFL player and has been with the Essendon Football Club since 2014.
Initially growing up in regional Victoria, Zach struggled as a teenager to fit in with traditional norms and ideas of what it means to be male, while trying to be himself. Now, he hopes to help young people realise that they will be celebrated just for being themselves, and not to worry about being judged.
Findings from the 2018 by Jesuit Social Services, shed light on the social pressures that young Australian men experience to be a ‘real man’ and the impact this can have on their well-being, behaviours and the safety of our wider community:
- Almost half of young Australian men (47%) think that guys should act strong even if they feel scared or nervous inside.
- One in 5 young men (20%) think that men should use violence to get respect if necessary.
- Almost two in five men (34%) think a guy who doesn’t fight back when others push him around is weak.