Doncaster MP defended by Tory colleague over Doctor Who and Star Wars role models comments

A Sheffield MP has defended her Conservative colleague after he became embroiled in a debate about male role models on film and TV.

Monday, 29th November 2021, 6:34 pm
Conservative MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge Miriam Cates

Last week Doncaster MP Nick Fletcher appeared to link men committing crime to women being hired into prominent roles such as Star Wars and Doctor Who.

Following a social media backlash, the Conservative MP for Don Valley said his comments had been misconstrued and he was today backed by Miriam Cates MP.

Ms Cates, Tory MP for Penistone and Stockbridge, said: “The argument Nick made was that a lack of positive male role models in entertainment is a loss for boys who don’t have any other positive male role models in their lives.

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“He has a point. While I’m all in favour of challenging gender stereotypes, it’s not hard to see how some young men may be receiving a rather different message when, one after another, traditionally male characters are replaced by women.

“When young men have positive, affirming male role models in their community, celebrity role models may have little influence. But when these personal heroes are few and far between, what they see in the media really counts.

“When the traditional virtues of masculinity and male identity are portrayed as redundant or negative or not uniquely male, what is there left for young men to aspire to?”

Writing in The Times, Ms Cates said there had been an erosion of traditional male roles, both in the family and the workplace.

“Starting in the 1970s, a decline in the status and availability of what would typically have been viewed as working class male jobs has left manufacturing roles few and far between, and manual work is now regarded as inferior.

“The decline of manufacturing, reduction in family formation and movement of women into the workplace has certainly benefited many in the graduate class. But there have been some big losers too, not least young working class boys.”

Ms Cates said she couldn’t think of anyone more qualified than Mr Fletcher, who started his own business after being made redundant as an electrician, to comment on the challenges facing boys.