The Mask You Live In, the new documentary from director Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the guiding force behind 2011’s Miss Representation, takes us from negative media portrayals of women to the other side of the gender spectrum to answer the question: “As a society, how are we failing our boys?” American boys, the film posits, are born into a culture that saddles them with a construct of masculinity that is both impossible to attain and destructive to pursue.
Through interviews with sociologists, activists, psychologists, neuroscientists and other experts, as well as personal stories from everyday boys and men, the filmmakers present a compelling argument that we are robbing boys and young men of the freedom to express their feelings, experience intimacy or participate in certain activities deemed not “manly” enough. The cost of this deprivation is high. The film explains how the demand for hyper-masculinity contributes to all manner of social ills including sexism, rape culture, transphobia, homophobia and violence. [Read more…]