Real men feel vulnerable
Adam Martin has found Tasmania’s ‘harden-up’ male culture is the cause of pain and grief
ILEAP at the chance to meet a Tasmanian architect who has created a platform specifically for men to learn from women.
It is just so refreshing and I am even more interested when I learn it is a bloke not a pretty lady behind the initiative.
Father-of-three Adam Martin is the founder of EverHer, a sister organisation to EverHim, a new enterprise aimed at redefining healthy masculinity through workshops, retreats and digital storytelling.
When we meet at Honey Badger Cafe at Salamanca Square, we are quick to agree that masculinity in its raw pure form is beautiful and necessary.
Adam sees the world from quite a different perspective to mine, namely from building sites, to which I rarely venture.
“Pretending is a big word, but you do start to mimic elements of the culture you are working around,” he says.
“For me, being a project manager, architect and builder, I spend half my life on construction sites around men who ooze a certain kind of manliness.
“You do tend to take it on yourself, but the guy I see in the mirror at night is not the man I am during the day.”
Adam says that disconnect really got to him after he was the first on the scene of a fatal car crash, an experience he found deeply traumatic.
When we meet, it is four years since the day that divided him into “the Adam before and the Adam after”, the latter prone to heavy drinking, disconnection from friends and family, nightmares and other symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.
He struggled to connect with professional counsellors, eventually discovering that talking and even just holding an unspoken space with emotionally open men really helped him.
“It was through that process I began to understand that the person I was during the day was not the person I am inside,” he says.
There were few such men on the ground to open up with, though, he says.
Hence his introduction of programs designed to open men up, many of them free.
“Women are the way out of this for us, by enabling men to celebrate their vulnerability,” says Adam.
“We have so much to learn from women about how to manage our internal emotions and our relationships with ourselves, with our friends and with our peers.”
Adam says building sites and other male-dominated industries, including agriculture and transport, are especially in need of cultural change.
MATES in Construction suicide-prevention charity cites Australian construction workers as being 71 per cent more likely than other employed Australian men to die by suicide.
And the male-dominated “harden up” culture is recognised as contributing factor that can play out tragically when distressed men feel unable to open up and seek help.
Adam says Tasmanian men are “a different breed” again.
“We are men’s men down here. And our dads and grandads were men’s men. If we couldn’t work with our hands, we weren’t worth much. You taught your son to build and fight.
“That cultural stuff is real, it’s a real problem and it is still prevalent in Tasmania.
“I am 38 and growing up here you were told crying was for girls.”
In 10 years’ time, Adam’s vision is for Tasmanian men to lead more from the heart and less from a place of power.
“Men will connect with other men and women from a place of heart and with trust,” he says.
“The future is all about gender balance.”
As a small connected state, says Adam, we can build an accountable community that focuses on men being powerful supporters of women.
Within a few decades, he hopes EverHer and EverHim will be obsolete.
“Men will have rewritten their value system of what is important and generational change will be in place.”
everher. If you are in distress help is available. For support day or night, phone Lifeline on 131 114 or visit Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 224 365. If life is in danger call triple-0. For guidance on suicide prevention, visit lifeline.org/au/get-help/ topics/preventing-suicide