What is Him?

what is him

Violence against women is an issue of epic proportions in New Zealand, with one in three women experiencing partner violence at some time in her life. Tackling this issue requires a multidimensional approach, and the power of media cannot be overstated. Andrea Cook, with a background in production, and Laura Whittaker, with a background in film, from Canterbury University, tackle the issue of violence against women through their 20 minute documentary ‘What is Him?’ which recently screened at Riccarton Hoyts Cinema.


Laura Whittaker,

Andrea and Laura recorded the voices of twenty-one men and asked questions about masculinity and being a man. Andrea reflects on these questions

“We heard some of the stereotypes men are living with. We heard some of the journeys that living out these stereotypes can take men on, and recoveries from these.”

Being involved in a documentary like this, and hearing such powerful stories, has a personal impact. Laura reflects on the journey on which this documentary has taken her:

“Making this documentary has opened my eyes to how bad our society is about violence and speaking up about it. I was previously unaware of this fact and these men have really shone a light on this for me.”


Andrea and Laura

The full-feature documentary will explore in more depth the themes of masculine stereotypes and the role of media in creating and perpetuating violence. Andrea and Laura feel that exploring these issues is crucial as masculine stereotypes and the role of the media “not only harms women, but also creates confusing and harmful images for boys and young men about what it means to be a man.”

If you would like to purchase a copy of this short film, or give a donation towards completion of the larger project, please email Andrea Cook at platformcreativenz@gmail.com. Copies of the DVDs are $15.

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