Last year SuperDads worked with The Men’s Network to host a series of great activity sessions for dads and their kids. One such session was a lantern making workshop run by community arts group Same Sky in the run up to the run up to the annual Burning The Clocks parade, which many dads (and their kids) took part in for the first time.
Below is a transcript of some of the conversations that took place between some of the SuperDads and the BBC that were broadcast this weekend. For information about the whole programme, click here now.
Things have been heated at the dispatch box for some time but they threten to buil right over when it comes to the issue of sex! For some time (political) parties have been falling over themselves to woo the women
But what about the other side of that equation – is anyone particularly bothered about the male vote? Is it distinctive enough? And what do men really want?
I suppose the obvious answer would be that since men have dominated politics at every level, they’ve set the agenda for themselves all along. But things may be a bit more complicate than that these days.
A new kind of male activism is beginning to bubble up. There are men out there who feel they are being ignored. At a Youth Cetnre in Brighton, dads and children are making lanterns for a parade ….
(Sound of activity and men and children talking)
Anita: John can anyone do this even if you’ve got as many thumbs as I do”
John: Yes I think so
Anita : Right ok
John: I didn’t used to be very good but over the many years I’ve got more nimble
Anita: Really, it looks a bit technical so what are we doing then?
John: We’re taking willow……(the conversation trails off)
Anita (voice over): The meeting has been organised by The Men’s Network in Brighton, it’s an organisation that supports various bonding activities for men and their children. The men might be divorced or happily married, they come from all walks of life and they have a strong sense of their distinctive needs and maleness.
John: I think that society’s changed quite a bit over the years and that it’s good to have a male space. You know I’m a bloke with a wife, we have quite different sentiments about things, we relate to things quite differently. It doesn’t mean we’re different (or) can’t do the same things.
Anita: Do you think men and women approach politics differently?
John: I suspect so. I suspect that women probably like the idea of a consensus and I suspect that men quite often possibly want to sort of, they like to say what they feel and do that and then maybe they will accept a consensus, but they like a good going over it all first.
Tristan: In society the role of men is all blurry and confused and actually the role of fathers is not straightforward. What we know is they need to be around and they need to be active and really positive fathers and good role models
Anita: So is that a role for a politician to enable that to happen a lot more
Tristan: It’s sort of beyond politics for me. It’s a very patriarchal society generally and men have usually got the top jobs in all sorts of things, but this is much more grassroots.
Harvey: It’s just a nice forum, somewhere to go to kind of express the sort of day-today problems that you know you can feel really alone with, you know, when you’re sat at home and you’re stressing with your boy.
I’m a single father, there’s just me and my son and, you know, to be able to go to a group and to talk with other people that have similar problems, you know I feel that I don’t feel so alone.
Anita: You know even if you look at opinion polls people say men care about the economy women care about the home . You don’t think they’ve got that right?
Harvey: Yeah, it doesn’t work like that for me. It certainly doesn’t work like that for me. Like I say I am a single father. I run the home, you know, and I do all that that entails be it a female-based strucure or not.
Anita: What are you worrying about at the moment?
Harvey: What do I worry about? The same as anybody else from any walk of life. I worry about money, you know, that’s my primary concern, putting food on my table on a regular basis. My heating, you know, my heating bill’s just gone through the roof.
Anita: Do politicians understand what it is to be a man today?
Harvey: I don’t know whether they understand anything today do they? And I think they’ve lost touch. You know there’s huge divide.
(Sound of Harvey’s son in background)
Anita: He’s the centre of your universe isn’t he?
Harvey: Very much so
Anita: He’s a funny lad as well. He adores you I can tell
Harvey: Yeah, we’re a tight little unit. It’s me and him against the world. And we’re doing all right.
To find out more about the programme and find audio links to the programme, click here now.