AA Home Emergency Response

AA Home Emergency Response

November 07, 2011 13:19 ET

What Makes A Man? It Depends Who's Asking

- British women want a well groomed 'man that can' who's good with his hands

- For British men, knowledge of gadgets is the key to masculinity

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov. 7, 2011) - British women want a man who can wire a plug and unblock a sink without becoming dishevelled or breaking a sweat. That's the finding of a study into what makes a man in today's Britain, but unfortunately, it doesn't match the view of those modern men.

The study, commissioned by the AA to mark their launch into the home emergency sector, found that women believe the top three defining qualities of a real man are being well groomed, handy around the home and a great driver. But the research, which looked at abilities, as opposed to emotions or parenting skills, shows that men are somewhat out of touch with what women want, instead choosing to believe that a grasp of modern technology and being successful in their career are the key features of a real man.

Whilst men and women may differ in their views on masculinity, the research found that men are eager not to disappoint and will perhaps embellish their DIY prowess in a bid to impress. The AA research found that half of all women believe their partners are very handy around the home and able to carry out complicated jobs without calling in experts. But the real picture is somewhat different - only one third of men (34%) actually feel confident in their ability to carry out the majority of DIY, repairs and maintenance around the home. This suggests that men are leading their wives and girlfriends to believe they are more competent than they actually are.

This is a trend that looks set to continue. The AA research also investigated the passing on of skills down through generations and found that the demise in basic DIY, repair and maintenance skills is largely due to the younger generation not being interested in learning these skills from their own fathers. One quarter (25%) of 25 to 34 year old men have refused their father's offer to teach them such skills, compared to just 2 per cent of over 65s.

This may be why more women are doing it for themselves. One in ten women say that their partner is hopeless around the house and that they do all the practical jobs. And in the 18-34 age group, more women than men (38% v 34%) say they are learning DIY skills from their father.

Jacqui Marson, a psychologist who specialises in women and happiness, says: "This AA Home Emergency study shows that men and women have a different view of masculinity in today's Britain. Women still place great store in a man's practical skills, but for many men, these are no longer an important part of their identity. This may be why many women are learning from their fathers, as they can't rely on their partners to help out."

Tom Stringer, Head of Home Rescue for the AA said: "It seems that there is little agreement from the sexes as to what makes a real man. Women appear to value the more traditional skills such as DIY but the 21st century man is keener to show his manliness through his ability to grasp technology.

"We have known for some time that DIY and home maintenance skills are on the wane and that increasingly people need someone they can trust to sort out problems around the home. This is exactly why we've launched our Home Emergency Response service."

Other key findings:

  • More than one in five women aged 18 to 24 years claim that their partner lacks any kind of skills in home repairs and maintenance (compared to 7% of over 65s)
  • 58 per cent of 55 to 64 year olds report that their partners are very handy and able to carry out complex jobs around the home (compared to 31% of under 25s)

What makes a real man – the top five elements of masculinity

What women want The male view
1 Well dressed and groomed Being knowledgeable about technology
2 Practical around the home Driving skills
3 Driving skills Successful in their job
4 Successful in their job Well dressed and groomed
5 A good cook Practical around the home

The AA is keen to hear customers' own stories as to whether they have or are, a 'man that can' or a 'man that can't'. Stories and pictures can be posted at http://zone.theaa.com/clubs/browse and there will be a £500 prize for the best or worst example plus your own AA utility belt to help with those jobs around the house! Full terms and conditions can be found on the website.

The research was carried out for the AA Home Emergency Response service by ICM. It was carried out in September 2010 amongst a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults.

About AA Home Emergency Response

AA Home Emergency Response cover provides a network of approved tradesmen available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are no call-out charges or policy excesses and for work carried out under the policy, parts and labour are guaranteed. Cover is available to both existing AA members and non members.

Customers wishing to find out more information should visit:

www.theaa.com/home-emergency or call 0800 107 1031

Contact Information

  • Media Enquiries:
    AA Press
    Sue Beeson
    01256 492874

    Citigate Dewe Rogerson
    Brandon Stockwell
    020 7638 9571

    Citigate Dewe Rogerson
    Holly Clark
    020 7638 9571