A DECLINE in positive male role models on TV is a ‘crisis’ that should be taken seriously rather than mocked, according to a local MP.

Last month Nick Fletcher, MP for Don Valley, claimed a lock of positive role models in entertainment is a loss for boys who don’t have positive role models in their life, and referred to Doctor Who becoming a female actor, Jodie Whittaker.

Miriam Cates, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said his remarks were taken out of context – though she agrees with some of his views.

She said: “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 – dads, uncles, friends – celebrity role models may have little influence.

“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?”

She added that the lack of positive male role models in the public is having a ‘stark impact’ for the prospects of young men from deprived areas.

“Of course we cannot blame these problems on the decision to make Doctor Who – or any other popular character – female,” Ms Cates said.

“But a decline in positive male role models on TV is indicative of a wider crisis facing young men from deprived backgrounds.

“It is a crisis that should be taken seriously rather than mocked.

“Certainly we need to think carefully about the influence of male role models in popular culture.

“But more importantly, we urgently need effective policies to restore hope, status and value to young men.”