What are Aussie Men Like - Australian Guys and What Makes them Tick


Despite a rising sensitivity to cultural perceptions and differences, it is difficult to let go of stereotypes completely. This is not only because stereotypes make it easier for us to understand other cultures and people but also because they help in delineating our own culture from others. And one of the most popular among male stereotypes currently is that of the Aussie guy. So even though there is a healthy dollop of exaggeration involved, here are a few thoughts on what Aussie men are like, in general.

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The beer guzzler

Popular media has often portrayed Australian men as the hard-drinking, beer-guzzling type and not surprisingly this recurs most often in beer ads like for Carlton and Hahn Premium products. Thus he is more likely to bring a box of beer cans than champagne to a social do. Alternatively he would much prefer to meet a date at a pub or a bar rather than at a restaurant or café. There is something about consuming liquor like beer or whiskey which screams Australian – perhaps it is to do with the fact that such drinks are raw and in-your-face rather than sophisticated and complex like fine wines, liqueurs and cocktails. The implication is that Aussie men are likewise direct and straightforward rather than convoluted and layered.

The beef eater

Here is another favorite Australian male avatar – one who enjoys his meat - the plain, traditional way. So when you invite an Aussie guy to a barbeque, don’t expect him to bring a cheese platter; in fact he is most likely to turn up with raw beef and even take the initiative to get the grill going. Indeed in Australia, it is not unusual to spot advertisements on the back of a cattle lorry, exhorting everyone to “eat more bloody beef”, as reported in an article in the online edition of Daily Mail 1 . Also eating meat here is not the same as having chicken or turkey – it must be red and must be cooked without fuss and fancy. One example is the endorsement by actor Sam Neil for meat consumption. Sam Neill, best known for his role as Dr Alan Grant in Jurassic Park I and III, was the frontman for the Meat and Livestock Australia red meat campaign in March 2006. The campaign, titled ‘Foundation’, argues that humans are designed to eat red meat. The tagline, “Red Meat - We Were Meant To Eat It”, is used in the context of anthropological, archaeological and evolutionary nutrient studies.

The sports lover

This is a very common feature of the Aussie male image. According to this, Australian men are avid sports lovers and when they are not playing themselves, they ensure their highly vocal support to their favorite teams. An example is the “I am Australian a song” written in 1987 by Bruce Woodley (The Seekers) and Dobe Newton (The Bushwhackers). The song was written as part of the preparations for the Australian Bicentenary of permanent white settlement in 1988. This song is often taught in primary schools and sung at many citizenship ceremonies. Very soon the song was taken up by rugby fans who were reported singing “I Am Australian” at train stations and at tournaments. In 2002, Telstra, Australia’s national telecommunications company relaunched the “I Am Australian” song in association with the Rugby Union World Cup held in Australia in October - November 2003.

The laconic guy

A humorous aspect of the typical Australian male is that he is a man of few words. Unlike stereotypes of the French or Italian guys, the Aussie guy is not given to verbal exuberance or finesse of speech. And yet what he says is direct and to the point. Popular representations of Australian men show them quiet and self-contained and roused to speech only when a pertinent point has to be made and this they are able to do with devastating effect. Closely associated with the no-nonsense image of the Aussie guy is his intolerance of insincerity. The Australian man may be rough at the edges, far from sophisticated and even politically incorrect at times but at least he is honest and straightforward. This is the image portrayed in commercials like the Mechanic for Lipton Ice Tea which has a car owner and car mechanic engaged in an uncharacteristically honest discussion on what’s wrong with the car. The voiceover, “Refreshingly Ice Tea. Let’s you be yourself naturally” implies that the same holds true for Australian guys as well as.

The sexist guy

However the Aussie male at times take his penchant for political incorrectness too far and rather exults in objectifying women either as sex objects or domestic workers. The above mentioned article in the online edition of Daily Mail goes on to talk of two women authors Meredith Burgmann, and Yvette Roberts, who have gathered thousands of one-liners uttered by men in high places and turned them into a book One Thousand Terrible Things Australian Men Have Said About Women.  Some incredible instances from the collection include a nostalgic musing on the changing state of marriage by former rugby player Eric Rush, who is believed to have remarked: "In the old days, you were a good guy if you lifted your feet when she was vacuuming." It is a mindset among many Australian personalities that a woman's place is in the home, even if she is working as a politician. In a Parliamentary debate, MP Andrew Fraser told Small Business Minister Sandra Nori in Parliament: "Go and wash up!"

Lover of outdoors

An inextricable part of the Australian identity is the image of the outback and the Australian Bush. Inhabitants of this country, particularly the men are the tough, outdoors type, not afraid of roughing it out in inhospitable environments. Indeed the harsh climate and geography even goes well with the image of the Australian guy as the macho, physically tough and resourceful guy. In 2006, Californian soap star Ronn Moss featured in an ad for Berri Australian Fresh, promoting its use of 100 per cent Australian fruit juice. The commercial showed Moss as horse rider riding over Australian hill country, with music evoking the spirit of the Australian movie, “The Man From Snowy River. Reinforcing the image of the tough, outdoorsy Aussie male are Australian movie stars like Mel Gibson and more recently Hugh Jackman who played the leading role in the 2008 epic historical romance appropriately titled Australia.