MENZ Issues: news and discussion about New Zealand men, fathers, family law, divorce, courts, protests, gender politics, and male health.

Media Analysis regarding depictions of fathers

Filed under: Gender Politics,General,Law & Courts — MurrayBacon @ 10:27 am Fri 18th October 2013

MoMA has been encouraging study and consideration of media reporting of situations involving men and fathers, both about the underlying situations and the way that media manipulated these stories.

This individual case study approach is very illustrative of the ups and downs, but may miss out on seeing the bulk of the wider picture. For example, it may easily miss other stories, that women may be frustrated about, which are also an important part of the overall picture, especially that total picture as seen by developing boys and girls.

I am not saying that entertainment by screaming profit media should be “forced” to achieve certain “goals”, set by us or them, whoever we be, but that we should be monitoring and understanding these threads of our society and be well informed. This is so that we can seek some corrective or remedial actions against these threats.

Our own apathy and willingness to self delude is a much bigger threat, than the greed or evil among these self interest groups, such as legal workers, film producers, media company owners. I have seen lost judges working in narcissistic rage, but doubtless thinking of themselves as god’s gift to integrity and incompetence. The Nuremberg trials seem to be lost in the dark depths of long lost history. This is why it is important that egregious subtle misleading depictions should at least be brought to public notice, even if little is immediately done about it.

Conscious knowledge is important, to start to address subtle subconscious issues.

It is even more important that we support the positive initiatives, than fight against the negatives. Certainly, our positive focus needs to be informed by understanding of the negatives that are going on. It is only in the positive, that we can hope to create change.

There has been much debate about depictions of sex and violence on TV and films. Of course it is terrible when sex is presented on TV, when those minutes could have been filled with violence, or extreme violence. And terrible when people talking or negotiating is presented in films, when those minutes could have been filled with extreme sex. Oh, I hate it when other people are having more fun than me!

I have noticed that in the last 20 years, depictions of legal workers have been not just adulating as in the past, the adulation continues, but along with some very gritty depictions of human frailties, manipulation, fraud, malice and incompetence. Not a normal distribution curve of saintliness, but now a bi-humped distribution with too much adulation and a lot off extreme corruption. The english Law and Order series are fairly non-judgemental in terms of presentation of judges and lawyers and very gritty in their depictions of the defendants and others. It addresses in a subtle manner, our mental health issues that usually underlie our being dragged through the caughts.

Person of Interest is in essence extremely critical of Government puppets, in security services, judges, police, lawyers… I like its extreme paranoia approach, although real life in USA and NZ has surpassed it by several steps….. The most important “good guys”, are actually the most insidiously evil.

Media portrayals of police and legal workers (lawyers and judges) have turned in their focus, through the last 40 years. These people have not responded to this change in public perceptions of them and keep on acting as they always have. They ignore public perceptions at their own peril. When public attitudes finally swing substantially, the old institutions will be swept away and newer public orders established, that will effectively serve the public.

English and european films cover a wider range of fairly realistic depictions of society and mothers and fathers in particular. They are more willing to address ethical and mental health issues, than USA films, though there are a few notable exceptions.

Film and TV media have made many sensitive, constructive and educational portrayals of family and government issues:

Mental Health
Girl Interrupted
Coronation Street

Declaration of War
Boys From the Black Stuff
I am Sam

Ethics under duress, Bureacracy
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
Yes Minister
Law and Order UK
The Gruen Transfer ABC Australia Advertising industry technique

Human rights freedoms
The Brandon Teena Story

Coming of Age
France 36 Fillette (1988) Catherine Breillat
USA Polish Wedding

Divorce – moderately child focussed
Smash Palace
Careful He Might Hear You

Divorce – adult focussed
Kramer versus Kramer
Ordinary People
War of the Roses
see also Smash Palace above..

My Life Without Me
Veronika Decides to Die

Ethical principles are not completely lost on this world, as illustrated by the self implosion of News of the World in UK. The time that it took for doubts about their news gathering techniques to be proven by police (about 6 years), proves the serious questions about the integrity of the UK Police force. Similar doubts have been raised in NZ, but are still lost in the noise and chatter, possibly to never be addressed?

Watching USA violent flash trash TV and film, I am horrified at the market for this escapist entertainment and the possible impact that these have on our developing children and vulnerable policemen.

Melanie Phillips has decided that she is not satisfied with the social performance of profit media and has used her own resources and creativity, to take her own ideas out into play.


The roles of father, mother, parent are so fundamental to our society, that they sit more behind the eyes, than in front. To protect institutions that do serve us well, we need to have a conscious understanding of what works and even more clearly, what does not.


Auckland University social work researchers have recently carried out media analysis of representations of solo mothers in our print media. I think they focussed on print media, more than TV and film, due to the tools immediately available to them, as print media have much less impact on developing young people (and on policemen too….) They presented their work as aimed at rigidly protecting the positive image of solo mothers, rather than trying to protect what should be protected and opening up for public discussion, those that should not be protected….. I had the feeling that they didn’t know the difference, they certainly didn’t speak of it.

I am suggesting that we should consider the breadth of presentation of father’s roles and whether these are consistent with the future constructive path of fatherhood, in TV and film. Similarly for mother’s roles.

I admit that we are some distance behind Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender activists, so I will disgracefully plagiarise their work as an example:

Huffington Post presents the notion of Glaad Media Responsibility Reports
2013 GLAAD TV Reports

Such analysis is time consuming. If people agree to watch some supplied programmes, comment and discuss them, then the time taken is about that saved by the adverts not being present. If anyone would like to take part and contribute, please contact me. Some people would rather watch the adverts and just complain. Other times, I just watch the adverts that have been cut out.

I perceive more respectful and cooperative discussions on menz.
If we want forward progress, then we need to build up our abilities to work together in larger groups and actually support each other.

MurrayBacon – paranoid axe murderer.

1 Comment »

  1. Taking Positive Constructive Actions – Portrayals of fathers

    2013 NETWORK RESPONSIBILTY INDEX See last page 42:

    GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Team not only works with entertainment-related media platforms to encourage fair, accurate and inclusive representation of LGBT people, but also to combat problematic content and instances of defamation in these industries. This process may involve reading scripts, viewing rough cuts, pitching story ideas, consulting with writers and producers, working with talent to better inform them about portraying LGBT characters and arranging entertainment-related events and panels. GLAAD also promotes LGBT-inclusive projects through GLAAD’s blog, social media and the daily LGBT TV listings, ‘What to Watch on TV.’

    Take the paragraph above and substitute father for LBBT…….

    If we were to follow through from just commenting on media portrayals, to make positive contributions to the writers of the programmes being mentioned, we would get:


    MoMA’s Entertainment Media Team not only works with entertainment-related media platforms to encourage fair, accurate and inclusive representation of fathers as people, but also to combat problematic content and instances of defamation in these industries. This process may involve reading scripts, viewing rough cuts, pitching story ideas, consulting with writers and producers, working with talent to better inform them about portraying father characters and arranging entertainment-related events and panels. MoMA also promotes father-inclusive projects through MoMA’s blog, social media and the daily Father TV listings, ‘What to Watch on TV.’

    Should we cooperate, to try to put such a father’s media watch into action?

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sat 19th October 2013 @ 5:46 pm

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