Who knew that a woman playing Dr Who could lead boys to crime? | Marie Le Conté


II will always remember my last bank robbery; this took place in June 2017 and it was the last time I picked up a gun. A month later, the BBC announced that Jodie Whittaker would become the first woman to play the eponymous Doctor in Doctor Who and suddenly I saw the error of my ways. Since then, I have been a law-abiding journalist.

If this chain of events seems a bit far-fetched to you, Nick Fletcher is here to get you back on your feet. During a debate on International Men’s Day at Westminster Hall last week, the Conservative MP said: ‘In recent years we have seen Dr Who, the Ghostbusters, Luke Skywalker and The Equalizer all replaced by women and men end up with the Krays and Tommy Shelby. Is it any wonder that so many young men commit crimes? “

There are several points to be made here. First, Skywalker was in fact featured in all parts of the last one. Star wars Bill Murray’s trilogy and Peter Venkman is hardly an inspiring character. Second, there are still countless mainstream movies in which the male protagonists are the good guys, as evidenced by the more than 7,000 Marvel films produced over the past decade.

More generally, the comment of the deputy for Don Valley was particularly deaf because it intervened only a few months after the Euro, during which the country gathered around the most beautiful football team ever seen on a field.

Should we teach young men that education matters? They can look to Bukayo Saka, who got four A * and three A in his GCSEs. Should they learn from an early age that it is important to care for the less fortunate? Then there’s Marcus Rashford, who has campaigned tirelessly for free school meals.

Do we have to explain to them the importance of doing what is right? They can’t look any further than Harry Kane, who wore a rainbow armband during the game against Germany. Damn, should they realize that no matter how incredibly talented you are, it’s still wise to have a back-up plan? Former part-time mortgage advisor Tyrone Mings is here for everyone to see.

In fact, it doesn’t even have to be for every individual player; watching this group of young men from all walks of life and all over the country getting along, working together and caring for each other was enough. England’s football team, led by the equally inspiring Gareth Southgate, showcased masculinity at its best.

But that might not have been what Fletcher had in mind anyway. Instead, a review of the first report released by the all-party parliamentary group on issues affecting men and boys, which he co-chaired and which instigated the Westminster Hall event, provides some clues. . In it, psychotherapist Martin Seager states that “we are now at a cultural low point”.

“Even the hero celebration (and it was recently D-Day # 77) is never a gender issue in terms of positive masculinity. We are talking about “men and female heroes, even when women were less than a tenth of a percent (2 in 22,000), ”Seager said. “Rather than focusing on the sacrifice and heroism of the 99.99% of men and praising their gender, we are describing this event in neutral terms, but we would not do the same if the genders were reversed. “

Elsewhere, policy recommendations include “the need to tackle growing societal and gender stereotypical norms that view men, boys and masculinity as inherently bad / negative”. Obviously, the men Fletcher and his colleagues love the most are in shambles.

It’s frustrating because Fletcher’s speech and the report identified very real societal issues. As he pointed out, 13% of men do not have a job or education (compared to 10% of women), suicide rates among men are three times higher than among women, the expectation a man’s life is now four years less than that of women. a woman, 83% of those sleeping rough are men and 96% of the prison population is male. These are staggering numbers.

While he probably doesn’t want them as traveling companions, Fletcher might even rally many progressives on board with his argument that “we should need fewer cops, not more; we should need fewer courts, not more; we should need fewer prisons, not more ”.

Instead, most of her statements on the subject seem – sometimes implicitly, sometimes not – to lay the blame on those terrible feminists who never care about poor, stupid men. Men are vilified because women talk about their experiences of rape and sexual abuse; they’re left out because women want more representation in popular culture and so on.

It is a disappointing and doomed approach. It is quite possible to care about the needs of women and those of men. Treating the problem like a zero-sum game doesn’t help anyone, let alone the boys Fletcher cares about so much. A world in which more men are happy and fulfilled would also be a happier and more fulfilling world for women; there is a way to do it that everyone wins.

This was not the point he intended to make, but in a way Fletcher argued for the need for more male role models in Britain today. There are issues that specifically affect men and need to be addressed, but they will not be resolved by men who believe that a female Time Lord turns boys into a crime.

The very phrase “men’s rights activist” reads like the redder of the flags because too often men who claim to care about men only do so because they resent women. It doesn’t have to be; there is space for men to help each other without killing anyone else. We need less Nicks and more Gareths.

Maria Le Conte is a French journalist living in London

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