NEWS3 October 2016

Boys ‘under pressure to conform to harmful stereotypes’

News Trends UK Youth

UK — New research from youth research specialists Platypus Research has revealed that boys feel under pressure to be cool, good at sports and funny in order to be popular. 

Young boys crop

The study, based on research with 1,000 boys aged 5-13 and their parents, found that 51% had been put off from trying certain activities that they would like to try – such as gymnastics, dance and horse riding – because they see these activities as being more appropriate for girls. 

Half of boys said they try hard to be popular, and that this means being cool, good at sports and funny. 

The research also showed that traits such as body confidence and self-esteem - previously more associated with girls – were just as much of a problem for boys: just 16% said they definitely agreed that they were happy with the way they looked. 

Other findings were that 21% of 12-13 year old boys definitely agreed they felt positive about the future, and that 55% of parents agreed that they wished there were more examples of different types of men portrayed in the media. 

“We wanted to share these findings in order to highlight the need to change the way boys and men are portrayed in society and to give boys the freedom and confidence to be themselves and do what they want to do without the fear of being judged," said Joanne Cliff, Platypus founder.

"The last ten years has seen a move towards bringing equality to women, which has been really refreshing, but we need to make sure we’re not neglecting the needs of boys in the hunt for the empowered female.”