CONTROVERSIAL. That would probably be the best word to describe the Facebook page Blokes Advice, which amassed around 200,000 fans last year before it was closed down in a heated blaze of fury.
It was accused of glorifying violence against women. It was also accused of promoting and glorifying rape. Like an online lad’s mag, it arguably took blokes’ humour too far.
But there were also accusations that the women’s activists who pushed to have it closed down were hiding an anti-men agenda behind supposedly good intentions.
Whatever it was, it’s now dusted itself off, cleaned up its act and is back as a secret invite-only group.
Blokes Advice founder Brock Paulke is finally ready to talk again.
“I decided to keep Blokes Advice running because I had faith in the future of the group with correct management,” he exclusively tells news.com.au.
“We’ve expanded hugely. I stuck to my guns and didn’t let the feminists win. It’s become something I, my volunteers, friends and family are incredibly proud of.”
The group, which now has more members than before, has raised close to $100,000 for various charities, according to Paulke. What he’s very keen to emphasise is the mateship between members on the page. He says blokes are quick to swoop in and help friends on the brink.
“Some of our guys are suicidal,” Paulke says. “Many are alienated from their kids or having nightmares in the gender-biased family court. It makes me feel absolutely shattered that these blokes have no one else to turn to. Where else can they go?
“It’s an outlet, a space where they’re able to talk to one another about things blokes have become too afraid to talk about.
“It’s had really positive feedback from women too — normal women who aren’t raging feminists and can see that blokes need to bond in their own way! It’s turned from a simple Facebook page into a brotherhood.”
Interestingly, it seems there is one political party who is keen to talk to these 324,000 members — after all, that’s a considerable amount of votes ripe for the plucking.
Step forward One Nation.
“We met with advisers to the One Nation party two weeks ago in Brisbane. We had all our members send in their personal experiences with the family law system — it’s a mess.
“We presented this to senior advisers of One Nation, and asked them how they plan to make the situation better for these men. Not only did we share their stories, we went in to offer our support to the One Nation party, because they are pushing for change.”
Of course, not all members might be keen on backing One Nation — but they’re certainly dedicated to the Blokes Advice cause.
“Our volunteer staff spend up to 16 hours a day keeping up with the influx of membership requests and pending posts,” Paulke says.
“We try to screen all posts before they hit the group and we receive upwards of 1800 new member requests a day.”