Arts Food News Other People

LOCAL BLOKES STRIP OFF THE CONSTRAINTS OF MACHO MASCULINITY

By Madeleine Gray on January 10, 2017 in News

Photo: Shaun Tunnicliffe

Photo: Shaun Tunnicliffe

Be a man. Grow a pair. Boys don’t cry.

The expectations surrounding masculinity both within Australia and the world are harmful not only to the women who are victims of male assault, but also to men who are expected to conform to stereotypes of violent masculinity, and to eschew their emotional and mental health.

According to a recent study by World Suicide Prevention Australia, on average five men take their life through suicide each day in this country. A cultural change is needed. As a society, we have to stop perpetuating the myth of male insensitivity and ‘toughness’.

In light of this, a group of local Eastern Suburbs blokes have taken it upon themselves to get the ball rolling (so to speak!), launching a nude calendar to raise awareness and money for Beyond Blue.

The calendar will pay tribute to the gorgeous landscapes of our fair suburbs, the different professions in which the blokes work, and the overarching theme that it’s okay to ‘strip everything back’, be vulnerable, and be real.

Let’s Go Surfing surf instructor Conrad Pattinson is part of the crew. He said that the team has picked Beyond Blue as the charity to support because “it is the most recognised organisation in Australia helping mental health.”

Fellow calendar star Michael Fatouris, from Bondi Junction, expanded on this, explaining that deconstructing masculinity is “not just about positively influencing male mental health, but that of all ages and sexes.”

“I feel like raising awareness for mental health in a cheeky and lighthearted fashion contrasts with the quite severe perspective that many people can still have about such issues,” Mr. Fatouris said.

“The ‘macho tough guy’ thing is an unfortunate hangover from a time when it was expected of men to repress any feelings of vulnerability, and not to come forward and seek help for their problems.

“As a youth I struggled with the duality of the need to share and express myself against the culture of masculinity and ultra-stoicism shared amongst my peers. This led to intense feelings of isolation. I eventually found reprieve by stripping down in front of the camera.”

So what can you expect from the calendar itself? Think Calendar Girls, but with better rigs and more workplaces. Local surf photographer Shaun Tunnicliffe has shot the blokes in a variety of workplace and social scenarios – from business meetings, to laboring work, to dentistry. And all in the nude (with some parts strategically covered, of course)!

The calendar was launched on the evening of November 30 at Bondi Bowling Club, and the calendars will be sold at Bondi Markets and via the online store at www.cheekycalendar.com.

When asked which month’s photo he thinks is most swoon-worthy, Mr. Fatouris was diplomatic.

“Each month, in my opinion, has an admirable level of swooning potential,” he said.

“Purely in terms of ‘how did this photo manage to get taken?’, though, I think the nude midflight airplane pilot photo would have to be one of the standouts.”

So do your bit for mental health, and buy a calendar full of hunks in the buff. It’s for charity, after all.