The Mask you Live In, Documentary Summary

Here’s the trailer:

Not only was this documentary informative, it was also entertaining. I highly suggest it!

It really made me think about my childhood and adolescence and how I’ve been shaped into someone who holds my personal masculinity in high regard. I always had sports, winning, girl’s attention, money, and male opinions towards the top of my priority list. Why is this?

Like anyone, messages that males get throughout, and especially in the early years of their lives greatly shape the way they think about what it means to be to “a man.” The main theme is strength, power, dominance, and control. Things that are perceived as being frowned upon are crying, showing emotion, verbalizing your emotion, showing weakness, vulnerability, or being “soft.” These messages, along with many other societal inputs, lead to a developmental culture that skew men extremely more in one direction compared to women.  Masculinity is examined in relation to drinking, homophobia, depression, bullying, the stigmatization of male intimacy, crime, videogames, porn and campus sexual assault. Hyper-masculinity is discussed by former pro NFL player Joe Ehrmann. Joe, like many other contributors to the film are now dedicating their lives to working with young man to show them a different way of choosing to develop.

There is a bell curve graph in the beginning of the film that made the idea very clear in my head. If you’re a visual learner, picture a graph that shows the average male as having 60% masculine traits and 40% feminine. Hyperactivity would move that to 90/10, and be part of a culture that would discourage all male activity considered “feminine.”

The film goes into many negative effects that this way of thinking leads to, including….

  • Viewing women as inferior, objects, or being that exist to serve men.
  • Thinking that the way to attain success and strength is by beating someone else down.
  • Believing that money, power, strength, masculinity, etc. will get you love, attention, and admiration.

Some societal changes that will help improve the situation and make young men develop in a more healthy way  to develop include:

  • Organizations like The Making of Men, Top Blokes, and Mentoring Male Teens, that seek that mentor our youth and give them positive role models.
  • Changing or limiting media consumption, especially media sending the wrong messages.

The representation project is the group that made this film. Missrepresentation is another one of their films, specific about females, the feminine psychology, and how to improve the media’s negative impacts on developing women.  Here is the trailer:

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