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TVNZ Enslaves Men (twice updated)

Peter Zohrab 2019

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(Open Letter to Television New Zealand)


Dear sir/Madam,

Official Information Request

I refer to your story: “NZ Law Society under fire for 'sexist' dress code recommendations” (https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/nz-law-society-under-fire-sexist-dress-code-recommendations).

The point of this story is not clear, since TVNZ appears to be criticizing the Law Society for requiring women to wear cocktail dresses at a function – yet TVNZ does not appear to find anything wrong with women being allowed to wear cocktail dresses at that function, if they happen to want to. So TVNZ seems to be pushing its usual line that whatever women want to do is alright, but women must never be asked by men to do anything, even if the women wanted to do that anyway!

I have a Diploma of Journalism, so I know that news items are supposed to be chosen on the basis of their supposed “newsworthiness,” rather than on the basis of a political agenda which journalists want to pursue.

Under the Official Information Act, could you please answer the following questions:

  1. What factors led to your decision to run that story?

  2. What factors led to your decision to use a headline which emphasized that the Law Society was being attacked, rather than headlining the nature of its dress-code? For example, your headline could have been: “NZ Law Society’s dress code, in comparison with barristers’ dress code and TVNZ’s dress code.”

  3. The reason that you ran the story was apparently that one individual, Mark Ford, put it on social media. How many other individual people had you seen on social media complaining about separate issues on that day, without you bothering to run stories about them?

  4. How many times have you reported the views of Men’s Rights Activists on Feminist issues as a headline? (The above is obviously a Feminist issue, which therefore is also a Men’s Rights issue).

  5. How many times have you asked me to comment on a Feminist issue? (I note that you are very well aware of my existence, since you have interviewed me – but never as a commentator on Feminist issues which you reported the views of Feminists about).

  6. How many times have you asked other Men’s Rights Activists to comment on a Feminist issue? (Never, as far as I am aware).

  7. Does your treatment of this issue indicate that you agree with the criticism of the Law Society’s dress code?

  8. As a Government-owned organization, is it a proper function of TVNZ to censor views that it disagrees with and to proactively push certain socio-political agendas?

  9. Is the newsworthiness issue involved in this story the fact that female lawyers would be wearing party dresses, or that men might have some part in deciding what they would be wearing?

  10. In the view of your staff who created the news item, has the issue been resolved by your story’s final sentence, which was,

    “As for the Law Society's anniversary dinner, attendees are now being told to wear whatever they like”?

  11. In other words, is it alright if women wear sexy clothing – as long as they decide individually to do so? Your news item did not discuss that issue.

  12. Your news story features a photograph of your reporter talking to a woman (presumably from TVNZ’s own costume department) who is holding what presumably is a cocktail dress and the two women are looking archly and knowingly at each other. Can you please confirm that what is special about cocktail dresses, in your view, is that they expose a lot of skin – specifically cleavage?

  13. Can you confirm that you think that men generally like looking at women’s skin – especially cleavage?

  14. Can you confirm that you think that it was wrong of the Law Society to ask women to wear cocktail dresses, because that would attract men and give them pleasure?

  15. Judging by your article’s final sentence, TVNZ thinks that it is alright for women to choose to wear clothing that attracts men and give them pleasure – but not for men to play any part in the decision whether they wear that clothing. Is that true?

  16. Are men’s “everyday business suits” less sexy than more formal attire, such as dinner-jackets? If so, why?

  17. Why does TVNZ think that it is alright for women to expose more skin (especially in the chest area) than men do when working as newsreaders, or in other office or work or formal situations?

  18. Do female TVNZ presenters who show their cleavage, or even more of their breasts, get some exhibitionist pleasure out of doing this?

  19. Why is it that female presenters on the 6:00 PM News are generally well covered-up, but female presenters on Breakfast often show their cleavages, or even more of their breasts. Part of the reason may be that the main weekday female presenter has an unattractive chest, which is seldom exposed. For example, I have noticed exhibitionist behaviour on the part of Melissa Stokes, when she appears on Breakfast, whereas she is usually very conservative in her dress and behaviour when presenting the 6:00 PM News at weekends. For example, on Breakfast, I once saw her bounce hard onto her chair, when sitting, down, which made her breasts bounce visibly.

  20. The TVNZ attitude to cocktail dresses makes it clear that the purpose of cocktail dresses is to attract men, who are then forced (in most cases) to make the first move. I myself experienced this traumatically as a young adolescent, when I was rejected by a girl purely for failing to make a move when she clearly (in retrospect) expected me to make a move. And now the #MeToo movement is treated by TVNZ as Gospel. TVNZ has never allowed any Men’s Rights Activist to comment on the #MeToo movement on-screen. The #MeToo movement treats any overt move by a man as a potential sexual assault – even though the woman might have provoked that move by her dress or behavior.

  21. Is TVNZ deliberately pursuing a policy of enslaving men?


In due course, I received the following reply:


Letter from TVNZ 18.11.19


On 27th November 2019, I wrote to the Ombudsman as follows:


Dear sir/Madam,


Could you please investigate and review TVNZ's refusal (in the forwarded email below) to answer any of my Official Information Act questions?

Thank you in advance.


Yours sincerely,

Peter Zohrab


-- Hamill, Jasper (2019): "Men are more disadvantaged than women in the UK, US and most of Europe, scientists claim." Metro, 4 Jan 2019.


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Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

27 November 2019