Men Need Help Removing Their Armour

Men Need Help Removing Their Armour

Patriarchy hurts men.

It is a system that drastically needs to be challenged and dismantled for everyone’s benefit.

Patriarchy’s continued impact on women is actively challenged. Progress is there but it’s slow and encounters frequent setbacks. 

Comparatively patriarchy’s impact on men is often sidelined and doesn’t garner as much attention.

Men speaking against patriarchy feels like an oxymoron or the ultimate betrayal. Who wouldn’t want to be a man in a patriarchal system?

The answer, as I’ve witnessed, is most men.

From an early age, a lot of men find themselves placed in the role of an armoured knight, a naïve soldier of the patriarchy. We are expected to be ready to face any challenges that the world throws up and emerge victorious. 

The origins of this ‘role’ derive from the inherent need within a patriarchal system to proactively challenge and fight other patriarchies. This requires literal man-power, and men willing to go to war, and make the ultimate sacrifice.

Compelling the majority of men to be prepared to give up their lives, requires considerable indoctrination. Indoctrination tells you that if aren’t willing to put everything on the line, there is something wrong with you. If you aren’t strong enough to perform when you are needed, there is something wrong with you.

A lot of men, throughout their lives, are expected to be strong, resilient, and unwavering in the face of adversity. The armour we wear is a collective construct of stoicism, emotional restraint, and the belief that seeking help is a sign of weakness. This armour protects us from judgments and vulnerabilities but can hinder growth, emotional well-being, and the ability to form genuine connections.

It can become an inseparable part of a man’s identity, shaping his perception of strength, vulnerability, and weakness.  

“Be a man” and “man up” are phrases that are uniquely conveyed to the male gender. And interestingly there is no female equivalent for the word ‘emasculating’.

Choosing to step out of this defined role, often brings ridicule, bullying and exclusion, as many men can attest to. 

It is a very difficult thing to do.

Just as a knight requires the assistance of squires to help him remove his armour, men often need support and understanding to dismantle the protective layers that have been built or imposed over time. Breaking free from the shackles of traditional masculinity is not a sign of defeat but a declaration of courage and growth.

Friends, family, mentors, therapists, coaches and support groups serve as the modern-day squires, offering a helping hand to assist in the delicate process of de-armouring. 

They encourage men to embrace vulnerability, express their emotions, and seek help without feeling inadequate. This support network helps men understand that seeking assistance doesn’t diminish their strength but empowers them to face their battles more authentically.

Just as a knight feels relief and liberation when his armour is removed, men experience a similar sense of freedom and peace when they shed the societal expectations that have bound them for so long. 

It allows them to stand tall, unencumbered, and authentic in their feelings and experiences.

Underneath this armour they find themselves. And others start to see the real them too – instead of another reluctant knight within the patriarchy.

Removing the armour doesn’t diminish their heroism; instead, it showcases their bravery in confronting their struggles and evolving into their true selves. 

Let us acknowledge this, extend our support, and create a world where men can be proud, unshielded, and truly empowered.

Transgender Awareness Week 2022

Transgender Awareness Week 2022

Just a reminder that Transgender Awareness Week should be about giving visibility to the challenges faced by this community – issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community – and working to ensure greater inclusion of members of this community within your organisation.

Don’t take ‘visibility’ as an invitation to push people who are members of the transgender community into the spotlight as a way of signalling inclusion, and acceptance.

It is not the role of members of this community to educate us (unless that is specifically a role they have chosen to take up) and answer questions that we have or to be an expert on diversity and inclusion policies and practices. Or to be a spokesperson for all of the experiences of the people of this community.

Their experience is their own, and their right to share or keep it private.

We need to educate ourselves.

➡️ Reflect on whether our discussions about gender equality are cis-centric, binary or lacking intersectionality. And what we could be doing better to support all genders? Take a look at whether your inclusion policies tend to focus on the LGB and not so much the TQ+.

➡️ Reflect on our language, particularly how we talk about people of this community, particularly when in the company of only cis people. Is our language affirming of gender or treating ‘them’ as an ‘other’ or ‘special’?

➡️ Reflect on whether our ‘curiosity’ to understand things we haven’t experienced personally, leads us to ask inappropriate questions or pry into details of someone’s life that they should not feel pressured to disclose to us (ever). Would we ask the same questions to someone who is cis?

➡️ Reflect on whether our network (professional and personal) or workplace includes members of this community and if there are none (or you can count them on one hand), reflect on what may be contributing to that. Reflect on what we could do to become more inclusive and improve the diversity of friends, network or workplace.

➡️ Reflect on aspects of the cis-tem (system) that may be contributing to the exclusion or uncomfortableness of members of this community. Take a more conscious look at our bathroom setup, pronoun usage, dress codes, and what level of support and sensitivity is given to employees undertaking a gender affirmation process.

That’s what I think it is supposed to be about.

Intention Bias vs Judging Behaviour

Intention Bias vs Judging Behaviour

There is a hypocrisy most of us struggle with.

Intentions and behaviour are legitimate ways to evaluate human conduct.

The problem is that we are conveniently biased towards intentions when considering ourselves, and towards behaviour when evaluating other people.

We trust our own intentions – because we know ourselves pretty well. Not perfectly (but that’s a whole other topic).

Because we can’t see or feel the inner working of another’s mind, then we judge someone by what we can see – their behaviour.

Both intentions and behaviours are important and so the challenge is we need to apply them more uniformly.

Rarely would someone intend to reverse into someone else’s car. But focusing on our intent can limit us from taking responsibility for our behaviour. Despite my intentions, I did reverse into their car. So I’ll take responsibility, apologise and pay for the damages rather than drive away.

While intentions are important, they don’t atone for all behaviour.

“I didn’t mean for that comment to be sexist.”

Does our intention matter? Yes, but again rarely would someone intend to be sexist.

Even if we get feedback from the world – “That was a bit sexist” or “that was very sexist” or “We only have 27% women in leadership roles”, we have a tendency to place undue emphasis on our own intentions.

This limits us from taking responsibility for the ‘impact’ of our behaviour, or how these behaviours are contributing to the problem.

BlokeCoaching is a program for male executives within organisations to understand more about the behaviours that perpetuate gender inequality, take responsibility, and work to fix the system.

For most of us, we do not intend to be sexist. Yet it’s difficult for us to ignore that there is a problem that hasn’t gone away. The feedback is that there is still a lot of work to be done.

We all need to start taking responsibility.

And not drive off.

Call me a Friend, rather than an Ally

Call me a Friend, rather than an Ally

This may sound a bit controversial, but please don’t call me an Ally.


I have always felt uncomfortable with the word ‘Ally’ and ‘Allyship’.

I understand the intention of the terms, and they are used broadly in contexts to signal connection between someone outside of a particular community to that community, and the efforts to provide support, advocacy or championing, and to use the power they have to do good for that community.

I never call myself an Ally because for one I think it’s uncomfortable to self-appoint as an Ally, but I also feel uncomfortable when someone thanks me for being an Ally.

The word ‘Ally’ makes me feel like I’m taking a side. And furthermore, I fear that it can make allies think that they are no longer contributing to the problem.

Allies can think that they are on the ‘right’ side. Allies can think that other people are the problem.

We are still part of the problem.

All ‘Allies’ are still part of the problem.

Even members of the community are still part of the problem.

Status as an Ally or a Champion does not absolve us of our prejudices or absolve us of the countless times that we don’t support, advocate or champion particular communities effectively.

It doesn’t absolve us of the ways that we continue to strengthen the system that disadvantages people who aren’t like us, whilst providing and reinforcing the unearned advantage to ourselves and in turn, people that are most like us.

Being an Ally does not absolve us from acting in self-interest, being cowardly or passiveness.

If we don’t continually check ourselves, we can easily fall into offering empty gestures or platitudes or fail to pick up on our potential acts of sabotage.

Instead, I think a better word to use than Ally could be ‘Friend’.

Friends aren’t perfect. Friends can let you down. Friends aren’t always there for you.

But friends do care for you, and friends try their best to give you the support you need, including – at times – self-sacrificial support.

Now, a lot of ‘Allies’ may already appreciate this in their efforts be better allies. But many don’t, and we think that our current actions are sufficient.

It could sound a bit corny, but perhaps we all need to challenge ourselves to be better friends with people who aren’t like us.