About Never Follow

our males are evenly spaced across a mint green background. The males are Aboriginal and Solomon Islander singer ZIGGY RAMO. Essendon AFL captain ZACH MERRETT. Aboriginal Hawthorn AFL player JARMAN IMPEY. South Sudanese-Australian former Melbourne Victory and Australian soccer player THOMAS DENG.

About the Never Follow campaign

The Line's Never Follow 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

Jarman Impey

"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.

Ziggy Ramo

“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.”

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.

Zach Merrett

"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.

See our ambassadors' other Never Follow videos...

Further background

Findings from the 2018 Man Box research 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.