The Good Lad Initiative aims to promote “Positive Masculinity”, and in doing so, to enable men to deal with complex gender situations and become agents of positive change within their social circles and broader communities. To achieve this fundamental objective, GLI seeks to engage with organizations and individuals of all genders and backgrounds.
What We Do
Our primary activity is the running of workshops for groups of men within a range of environments including sports teams, university colleges and faculties, workplaces and secondary schools. Workshops are an hour long and focus upon a diverse range of issues such as consent, sexual harassment, masculinity, peer pressure, banter, social capital, power and responsibility. The focus is on a series of scenarios developed from real life situations. We believe the scenarios involve difficult issues and are, therefore, genuinely worthy of reflection. Ultimately, our focus is not upon telling men what to do, but equipping them with a powerful, alternative framework with which to decide for themselves.
We have run workshops with over 1000 men from 15 different universities, multiple sports teams, business schools, secondary schools, and professional environments. Workshops are a great team building exercise and allow groups to collectively discuss ideas and to define positive cultures they want to portray.
Good Lad Theory
When faced with complex gender situations, men must decide how to act. The core of the Good Lad Initiative is the contrast between two alternative conceptual frameworks for making this decision. The first is the ‘Minimum Standards Approach’. The second is ‘Positive Masculinity’.
Minimum standards, legal and social, are the absolute foundation of how we should interact with one another. However, often men are encouraged to engage with complex gender situations by thinking only of the minimum standards of behaviour that they owe women. Yet, as a decision-making framework, this is neither robust nor optimal. It fails in high pressure or disinhibited situations, and it leads to focussing purely upon mitigating the risk of failing the minimum rather creating the best outcome available.
Good Lad Initiative advocates Positive Masculinity as an alternative decision making framework. Positive masculinity starts from the idea of a positive male self-image. Most men conceive of themselves as, at heart, being good men – ‘good guys’, ‘good blokes’, ‘good lads’. Even if they do not always live up to this aspiration, it remains as an ideal against which they can assess their action.
Within the framework of Positive Masculinity, complex gender situations are no longer simply about conforming to minimum standards. Instead, they are reframed as identity defining opportunities to create the most positive outcome available for women, themselves and other men around them.
A Good Lad has the courage to take responsibility for enhancing the lives of themselves, their groups and of those around them.