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Being a Bloke: Discover the essence of authentic Aussie masculinity

By Peter Janetski and Michael Knight
Red Hill Publishing, 2010
RRP $32.95

Reviewed by Phil Smith

How hard can it be to be an authentic Aussie male?

As Mr Janetski and Mr Knight point out with good humour and mostly easy to follow arguments, it can be very tough if one isn’t sure what constitutes the essence of masculinity.

They invest quite a few pages discussing what masculinity is not, by locating blokes who live on this island in the context of our history of invasion, penal servitude and migration.

I suspect most readers will be able to identify the males that make them cringe within the types of men the authors outline.

Mr Knight and Mr Janetski identify fearful blokes with no strength; the Peter Pan men who do not want to grow up, passive blokes; incapable of decisive action, allowing societal trends to shape their lives, and arrogant blokes; the narcissists with no character behind their reputation.

So they come to an essence of manhood; a potent bloke whose strength is shown in action for others that reflect true character.

Discussing being a man in this era is as fraught as discussing what it means to be an Australian.

Everyone has an opinion on what it’s not.

Mr Janetski and Mr Knight have tried to sift that and give a start point to what it is.

Being a Bloke makes a good start, written by Australians in our language and engaging the stories of average men alongside the obvious extraordinary examples.