Masculinity and MAFS

Another learning opportunity from MAFS - for all of us - is the intense pressure young men like Matthew are under to conform to toxic masculinity or be isolated.

Matthew is the "Bombshell Virgin" - like being a virgin is so shocking that it literally has to be mentioned as a trigger warning FFS.

Watch for both and subtle and overt pressure Matthew is under to bond with the other guys through sex-talk - often invasive and competitive.


He has social anxiety but compare how he is with Lauren, his family and even at the wedding compared to how is facing the Boys' Club. He's petrified.

Also imagine how Ines - or a few of the other women - would have reacted to his being a virgin. He was expecting to be mocked. He expects this from experience.

Matthew has learned early on - as all boys do - that to be a man you have to be tough, bold, aggressive and use talk of "sexual conquest" of women to bond with other men. He is a gentle guy who feels like he's being thrown to the wolves (including the f'n producers).

This is not an excuse for those who do participate in toxic masculinity, but it should offer insight for those of us seeking positive change.

We cannot underestimate how much we're asking of young people when we ask them to step outside rigid gender roles.

We MUST call upon (in this case) older men to model more positive behaviours for guys like Matthew.

Imagine, for example, if one of the other guys had stepped up for Matt when he was being "grilled" (that is, bullied) into telling everyone he was a virgin. Imagine if one had said, "Hey leave him alone - that's none of our business. And we all bullshit about sex anyway." Or something like that. Instead, he was left alone and then continually gets asked about it.

All boys don't have to be like Matt, but all Matts should be loved and respected.

Nelly x