Brisbane Courier Mail
Mike O’Connor: It hasn’t been much fun being a bloke in Australia in 2021
There’s a story no one has the courage to tell and it revolves around Aussie blokes and how they’re being judged based on the repulsive actions of a few, writes Mike O’Connor.
There will be no Oscar for the government’s derided sexual consent “milkshake video” after the puerile $3.8 million educational commercial was dumped within days of its release.
There is, however, a video crying out to be made and which the government, if it has the courage, might like to entertain.
It would be inexpensive to make and would merely require a large room and one camera with all the cast appearing free of charge.
They would be exclusively male – fathers, grandfathers and sons – who would tell the audience how it hasn’t been much fun being a bloke in Australia in 2021.
They’d like to tell their story, the one in which they work to support and educate their partners and children. The grandfathers would relate how they have suffered through economic hardship and lived frugal lives so that when they die, they will have something to leave their children.
The sons will tell how they admire their fathers for their work ethic and their tireless support of them and their mothers and sisters and thank them for driving them to do their best in all their endeavours.
Aussie blokes deserve a fair go and not to be judged based on the repulsive actions of a few, writes Mike O’Connor.
The fathers would speak of their love and admiration they have for their wives and their gratitude for their efforts in keeping the household functioning while juggling the twin burdens of work and domestic responsibilities.
They’d relate how they abhorred violence against women and would defend the female members of their tribe against any predator.
They would say that the concept of rape is completely foreign to their ethos. They hold certain principles close to their hearts – honesty, integrity and a belief in giving everyone a fair go – but above all else, they would tell their audience that rape or any form of forced sexual encounter is something that they have never and would never entertain.
They would tell the camera of the hurt that they have felt at the anger that has been directed towards their gender at large because of the widely publicised misdeeds of a few.
They feel the urge to stand on a street corner and shout; “we’re not all like that. Look at us. We are principled human beings who have always followed the course of our moral compass. We struggle to understand how anyone can act so callously towards their fellows of any sex.”
The women in their life they regard with a mixture of respect and awe, emotions rooted in the knowledge that there are so many things that they do better than men. It may not be something that they speak of publicly but it is a firmly held belief.
The sons would say that they hope to meet a partner and raise a family which they would support and protect. The fathers would say that they have tried to do the right thing by those who rely on them for support.
They have helped their parents through the latter stages of their lives and will continue to do so until the end while doing their best to provide a comfortable retirement for their partner while planning, in the best of Australian traditions, of “leaving something for the kids.”
The grandfathers would tell the camera how much they have seen things change and how they sometimes struggle to understand the attitudes and values of the younger generations.
They would say, however, that they taught their sons to respect their fellows and their property and to always be true to themselves.
These older citizens are perplexed beyond comprehension at the violence they see played out in television news bulletins. They have given up trying to understand it.
The fathers worry that their children will suffer some random attack while enjoying a night out with their mates but feel helpless to do much more than say “look after yourself. Stay safe” whenever they leave the house.
They worry because that is what caring, loving parents do.
The men would tell their audience that they know, from speaking to their peers, that a lot of men are beginning to feel like strangers in their own country and that they are being seen as being cast in the same mould as the men whose actions against women they find so repulsive.
They would say to the women of Australia – “Give us a fair go. We’re with you in this. We are all of the same nation and in this together. “
“If we hear any of our fellows showing disrespect to women, we will come down on them with all our force. That’s our job – protecting the women in our lives and it always has been.”
“All we ask in return is to judge us by our own actions, standards and principles and not to judge us by the actions of a few.”