FIND­ING FA­THERS

As host of the new show Man Up, Gus Wor­land aims to break down mas­cu­line stereo­types and re­duce the rate of sui­cide among young men

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV -

Ex­plor­ing the sub­ject of male sui­cide in Aus­tralia gave Triple M’s Grill Team mem­ber Gus Wor­land a health­ier re­la­tion­ship with his son. The break­fast ra­dio host ad­mits that be­fore he made the ABC show Man Up, he was more of what he calls a “tra­di­tional” fa­ther. But, while ex­plor­ing the No. 1 killer of Aus­tralia’s young men, Wor­land con­sulted with peo­ple who showed him how to be a dad in a dif­fer­ent way.

“In episode two of the show there’s a very emo­tional scene at my son’s school where a spe­cial­ist comes in and talks to the boys about the rules that make up mas­culin­ity. It takes about three hours and I cry all the way through it,” he says.

What came out of that talk was the re­al­i­sa­tion that his son needed space to fig­ure out the type of man he wants to be.

“The way that I lead my life isn’t nec­es­sar­ily his path, he’s go­ing to have to do it his own way,” he says.

Wor­land says he has learnt to bite his tongue at times.

“Be­fore the show I would be a lot more like a tra­di­tional dad. I was around but I was more likely to tell him what to do rather than sug­gest what to do, or to watch him just fum­ble his way through it and work it out for him­self,” he says.

Be­cause he’s put this ad­vice into prac­tise, Wor­land says their re­la­tion­ship has changed for the bet­ter.

“He’s ap­pre­cia­tive of that and prefers it that way ... it’s been a won­der­ful thing for us,” he says.

It’s all part of Wor­land’s plan to get the coun­try to change its idea on mas­culin­ity in an at­tempt to cut down on the high rate of male sui­cide.

“When you cry or show emo­tion so­ci­ety says: ‘Man up, get on with it, pick your­self up’ and some­how cry­ing goes from a cry for help to some­thing neg­a­tive and young men go: ‘You know what, I can’t cry any more be­cause I’m go­ing to look like I’m not a man’,” he says.

“So we have to change the rules on mas­culin­ity be­cause they were learnt rules, and if it’s been learnt we can un­learn it and learn some­thing else and that’s what I’m hop­ing to do.”

Wor­land wants to get more peo­ple talk­ing about what’s re­ally both­er­ing them in­stead of putting on a brave face.

“Let’s try and have the con­ver­sa­tion out loud. Show­ing vul­ner­a­bil­ity is ac­tu­ally some­thing that should be looked upon as a strength rather than a weak­ness be­cause we are los­ing too many beau­ti­ful young Aussie men,” he says.

Wor­land is learn­ing to be a coun­sel­lor at Life­line, too.

“It might be dif­fi­cult but most things that are good start off be­ing dif­fi­cult. The first con­ver­sa­tion is the dif­fi­cult one.” Man Up, Tues­day, 8.30pm, ABC and iview. Read­ers seek­ing sup­port and in­for­ma­tion about sui­cide preven­tion can con­tact Life­line on 13 11 14.

Gus Wor­land aims to chal­lenge tra­di­tional no­tions of mas­culin­ity with the show Man Up.

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