About Never Follow

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

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.

Thomas Deng

"I used to think I had to be tough, never show weakness. Now I realise how important it is to show vulnerability and your emotions because there's no one way to be a man. At the end of the day, you don't have to prove anything to anyone. It's more important to be true to yourself."

Thomas Deng was born into a family of South Sudanese refugees in Nairobi, Kenya. He and his family were fleeing from the conflict in South Sudan and eventually resettled in Australia.

In October 2018, Thomas was named in the Socceroos squad, and played as a central defender for Melbourne Victory in the A-League.

Thomas has had personal experience with violence against women in his family, which brings The Line campaign close to his heart.

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.