The Big Dry: The link between rural masculinities and poor health outcomes for farming men

Margaret Alston, Jennifer Kent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)
170 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The long-running Australian drought has had significant economic and environmental consequences, not least its impact on water supplies for major cities. What is less well understood are the social consequences affecting the farm families and communities reliant on agricultural production. In this article we focus on the mental health outcomes for farm men, noting that they are more vulnerable to extreme measures such as suicide. We argue that a dominant form of hegemonic masculinity in rural areas, which has served men well in good times, allowing them power and privilege, is inherently unhealthy in times of significant stress such as the current drought. The stoicism so typical of normative rural masculinity prevents men from seeking help when their health is severely compromised. We argue that attending to the health of rural men during drought requires attention not just to health outcomes but also to hegemonic masculinity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-147
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sociology
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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