The inaugural MR (mister) Walk on the Gold Coast, QLD

January 17, 2012


An event that aims to reverse some of the negative stereotypes associated with men, has garnered the support of the Gold Coast Titans, police and business leaders.

The initiative was sparked by Gold Coast Councillor Bob La Castra, following a question that was asked of four men, who were randomly selected from the audience of a seminar titled ‘From Boys to Men’.

The question asked by the moderator was – ‘can you tell me one thing that’s good about being a man’?

“Not one of us could think of an answer. It’s one of the few times I’ve been rendered speechless,” says Cr La Castra.

According to the seminar’s presenter, a respected authority on issues relating to men and boys in society, the lack of a response was ‘usual’.

The presenter revealed that he had conducted surveys of primary school-aged girls on their perceptions of men. The responses included such statements as: ‘men hurt people’; ‘men are dangerous’; ‘men kill people’; ‘men rob banks’; ‘men try to steal little children’.

“The children’s responses are disturbing to say the least. When you factor in the everyday image portrayal of men, via the movie industry and the media, it shows that men have a serious, social image problem,” says Cr La Castra.

“How often do we hear a news report saying, ‘today, a woman was charged with armed robbery, murder, rape, or domestic violence’? These negative perceptions need to be addressed, not only for the good of society – but for the good of men.”

As a result, Cr La Castra decided to organise an event – the Men Respect Walk, MR (mister) Walk – and approached managing director of the Gold Coast Titans Michael Searle, who took the concept to the NRL.

“The MR Walk is a great concept and we’re proud to have the Titans supporting the cause, along with the NRL and Indigenous All Stars,” says Mr Searle.

“Our players are already role models for so many young boys in the community through their achievements on the field, so this is an important way of showing young men what it means to be positive role models off the field, in a different light.”

Police Assistant Commissioner Paul Wilson is also a supporter of the walk and says the community can ‘never have enough positive male role models’.

“The promotion of how important positive men are to the development of youth can’t be underestimated,” he says.

“If there are more men taking time to care and create a positive influence on the transition of boys through to men, then it can only help bring positive results and better social outcomes. The MR Walk will certainly bring profile to this area and hopefully other positives will grow from this focus.”

Cr La Castra is hoping well-known male identities will walk to take a positive stance.

With the breakdown of the family unit and males making up only about 20 per cent of primary school teachers, the shortage of positive male role models is a legitimate concern: “We (men) want to make a positive, meaningful contribution to the upbringing of our children – and to society in general,” says Cr La Castra.

The MR Walk will be primarily for men, although women will be welcome to walk, too.

Cr La Castra believes the MR Walk will give men the opportunity to project a different and positive image of masculinity: “Men, en masse, will be able to demonstrate their respect of women and children and above all – respect for themselves.”

The MR Walk (2.2km) will commence and conclude at Skilled Park Stadium, Robina (adjacent to the Robina Railway Station), on Sunday, 5 February at 8.30am. Car parking will be available on-site. For further details visit:

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