Save the males documentary screens on TV2
I managed to stay awake long enough to watch “Save the Males” last night on TV2, and I must say I was very impressed with Greg Stubbings’ production. What a shame it was screened so late, at a time when the majority of working men would be tucked up in bed asleep.
I may have been influenced by the shot of a Web browser accessing www.menz.org.nz near the beginning of the documentary, but I thought all the spokesmen came across very well, presumably helped by sympathetic editing. Mark Bradman from Mensline and Peter Zohrab from the NZ Equality Education Foundation were both impressive, but I have to nominate Kerry Bevin from the Men’s Affairs Group as one of the most effective media spokesmen for men issues to appear so far. With a bit of assistance from a wardrobe consultant this man could go far!
The opening segment on the law was the most disappointing in my view. It discussed male-only crimes such as ‘male assaults female’ and rape and pointed out that men usually receive longer sentences than woman, but it didn’t really touch on the two most important legal issues for men – the biased application of the Domestic Violence Act, and the huge number of false abuse accusations made against men.
Men’s health received a fairly comprehensive overview, with Dr Rob Williams doing a good job of highlighting the disparities in health statistics and funding. He says: “If a group is disadvantaged for some reason the government should put money into finding out why. They are doing it for Maori, Pacific Islanders and woman but not for men.”
The section on fatherhood focused on father’s rights (or lack thereof), but didn’t really get to grips with the fact that children lose entire extended families as a result of this feminist project to destroy the patriarchy, and that it’s really children’s rights we should be most concerned about. Union of Fathers’ Jim Bagnall explained how ‘the shadow of the law’ works – 92% of applicants at the Family Court are woman because they believe they will get everything they ask for, men know there is only a 10 to 15% chance that they will be awarded custody. A number of my photographs of Family Court protests from the www.menz.org.nz website were used in the film, with appropriate attribution.
Nelson College headmaster Selvi Gargiulo discussed his opposition to the sale of “boys are stupid — throw rocks at them” T-shirts, and demonstrated how you can easily spot media and cultural denigration by simply changing the target ‘boys’ or ‘men’ to other groups such as ”girls’ or ‘Maori’. I think there is a danger here however, I don’t see any gains for men if we start becoming precious about showing a bit of male buttock on TV or at a strip show — restricting what we can see, hear and read about is more likely to work against us in the long run, I reckon.
The feminisation of the education system and the consequent negative impact on boys was covered pretty well by Cal Greer from Oratia District High School who made it clear: “the previous disadvantage experienced by girls has disappeared and it’s been replaced by a growing disadvantage for boys”. According to the two headmasters, little is currently being done to look at what works best for boys.
The film ended with a discussion about the Ministry of Woman’s Affairs, and made a good argument for having a men’s Ministry to balance the advice given to government. It didn’t explore the possibility that the whole concept of creating public policy with deliberate gender bias is fundamentally wrong and needs to be ceased rather than balanced.