Photo: BBC Parliament
Replacing traditionally male fictional characters with women is fuelling men to commit crimes, a Conservative MP has claimed.Nick Fletcher, the MP for Don Valley in the northeast of England, said that having fictional characters such as Doctor Who or the Ghostbusters played by women had deprived young men of positive role models.“Everywhere, not at least within the cultural sphere, there seems to be a call from a tiny yet very vocal minority that every male character or good role model must have a female replacement,” he said.
“One only needs to look at the discussions around 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.“Is it any wonder we are seeing so many young men committing crimes?”Fletcher made the comments in a debate about International Men’s Day, which was actually held on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. His comments have been roundly mocked online.Greg Jenner, a public historian, tweeted: “It’s true. I’ve never seen Doctor Who, but I still felt compelled to become an arsonist – if only Christopher Eccleston could have saved me from my obsessive love of deliberately-caused infernos.”
Fletcher won his seat in Don Valley in 2019 from Labour incumbent Caroline Flint, making him the first Conservative to be elected there since 1922. He did not acknowledge that the debate was being held on a day internationally recognised as raising awareness for violence against women, but said of International Men’s Day: “I am not really a fan of these days. We seem to have a day for everything at present. However, as someone who cares deeply about preventing young boys and men from being left behind, it is fitting that I lead today’s debate.”After clips of his speech went viral, he issued a statement on Twitter, saying: “There appears to be a certain squeamishness when pointing out that when a boy’s role models are all violent criminals (fictional or not) this negatively influences how they view masculinity and what it means to be a man.”
Broadcaster James O’Brien added on Twitter: “As a man constantly frustrated by the absence of manly male role models in my life, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have discovered Nick Fletcher MP.”