Millennial Men Feel the Pressure to “Be It All”

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Fire up the grill, change diapers, braid your daughters hair, and bring home the bacon. Thats the pressure on Millennial men these days, according to a new study by Hill Holliday / Origin, which reveals that Millennial men are in a critical moment of flux between competing definitions of manhood.

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Millennial Men Feel the Pressure to "Be It All" (Graphic: Business Wire)

Millennial Men Feel the Pressure to “Be It All” (Graphic: Business Wire)

In an era facing enormous shifts in traditional gender roles, from the #MeToo movement to growing efforts at increasing diversity and closing the gender pay gap, massive changes are occurring that are impacting Millennial men specifically. If women have historically felt the pressure to have it all, these men increasingly feel an expectation to be it all.

The study, conducted by Origin, Hill Hollidays independent research arm, examines how men in general are feeling about these changes and evolving gender roles, both at home and in the workplace, and the implications the findings have for marketers.

The full study is available at and is based on the views of 2200 respondents across the United States 18 years of age and older. Respondents included roughly 1800 men and 400 women spanning generations, races, and familial structures.

Among the compelling data points:

On Masculinity

  • 65% believe the most important job of a good man is providing for his family financially
  • 92% of those surveyed chose BBQ-ing as the most masculine activity for modern men

At Home

  • 75% of Millennial dads consider themselves to be the primary caregiver
  • 93% of men would be happy if men and women have equal parenting and household responsibilities in 10 years

Having to Be It All

  • 60% of Millennial dads feel that their role as a caregiver has impacted their professional career
  • 90% of Millennial men say that #MeToo has informed their behavior in their personal and work lives

Men are experiencing a clear tension point between the expectation for them to be empathetic and emotionally connected spouses and fathers, to the equally strong expectation for them to be somewhat traditional providers for their families, said Lesley Bielby, Chief Strategy Officer for Hill Holliday. For Millennial men in particular, this tension seems to be at a breaking point; men just dont seem to know who or what they are supposed to be in 2018 and beyond. This is something marketers need to explore and keep in mind when promoting their brands.

Millennials, or America’s youth born between 1982 and 2000, now number 83.1 million and represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population. The spending power of Millennial men is estimated to be just over $1 trillion.*

*Hill Holliday Decision Science estimate, using US Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2016 US Census, and Yankelovich Monitor & Greenfield Online data

About Hill Holliday Fighting the daily share battle in the noisiest categories. Its what we do. Hill Holliday is proud to be one of the top creative marketing agencies in the country, with over 600 employees across our network. Since 1968, weve built our business on winning that daily share battle for our clients in the noisiest and most competitive categories. Blending superior creative, media, and technology, we deliver game-changing ideas for industry leaders like Bank of America, Planet Fitness, Tempur Sealy International, Party City, Capella University, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Simple Mobile, Frontier Communications, and Smuckers. For more about our people, our work, and our culture, please visit

About Origin Origin is a market research company specializing in applied psychological and data sciences, owned by Hill Holliday. Staffed by survey methodologists, consumer psychologists, and data strategists, Origin brings a rigorous set of methods to help solve any business challenge. While Origin has a strong foundation in traditional market research methods, they are also pioneering new analytics techniques that merge market research with machine learning and pattern recognition tools. This allows Origin to augment any survey research with additional data sources to help triangulate deeper and more powerful insights. To find out more, visit us at