UK Tory MP Blames Crimes Committed by Men on Too Few Positive Male Role Models on TV

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The statement accompanies data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which shows that a record number of rapes were committed in England and Wales this year, and that there was a rise in domestic abuse-related crimes.
Young men are committing crimes because there is a shortage of positive male role models on TV, Conservative MP Nick Fletcher claimed during a debate on International Men’s Day on 19 November 2021. Speaking in Westminster Hall, the member of Parliament for Don Valley - a seat held by Labour since 1922 until he won it in 2019 - said that good male screen characters have been replaced with females and gave as his example popular British science fiction hero Doctor Who, every incarnation of whom was male until actress Jodie Whittaker assumed the role in 2017.

At the same time, boys and young men watch male characters in popular shows which "make crime look cool" in shows such as popular British drama series 'Peaky Blinders'.

"Some may say that men have had their turn, and it's a woman's turn now. However, that's a poor argument and one that I find rather infantile, yet it is something I've heard within the walls of these premises during private discussions and it's a narrative that I feel has penetrated popular discourse. One only needs to look at the discussion surrounding who will play the next James Bond - and it's not just James Bond In recent years: we have seen Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, Luke Skywalker, the Equaliser, all replaced by women, and men are left with the Krays and Tommy Shelby [in Peaky Blinders]. Is there any wonder we are seeing so many young men committing crime," Fletcher lamented.

He also drew attention to boys’ poor performance at school and conversations about "masculinity being linked with toxicity in societal discourse", which the lawmaker alleged prompt individuals to suffer "feelings of worthlessness and isolation".

His position was backed by Scott Benton, a fellow Conservative, who represents Blackpool South. Benton said men’s issues have for been swept under the carpet for a long time as society has focused on the "false narrative of male privilege".

"The very mention of men's issues will have hypocritical virtue signallers seething as they try condemn white men as oppressors," he said.

However, other lawmakers took exception to Fletcher’s remarks. Alistair Carmichael, home affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, dubbed the remarks "laughable”, emphasising that there are "plenty of positive role models for young children regardless of gender".

"It seems Nick Fletcher has stepped into the Tardis and taken a trip back to the 1950s, where his attitude belongs. The Conservatives are so desperate to pass the buck for their failure to tackle crime and keep our communities safe that they're even blaming Doctor Who," Carmichael said.

Fletcher later released a statement on social media, saying that his remarks had been misconstrued by the media and colleagues who seemed to suggest that he was linking a rise in crime levels to the fact that Dr Who is now played by a woman.

"As alluded to earlier in my speech, teachers, parents and carers need to teach young men and boys that males can make a difference. Promoting this can be done through various means, including through films and programmes. Yet something often not discussed is that the only characters many boys with no good male role models in their life see on television and online are increasingly criminal. As has been alleged rather lazily by several individuals, I did not link Dr Who being a female to crime being committed by men. In fact, I was making a statement that boys and young men also need positive role models within the media, just as women do," the MP wrote.

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