Masculinity = “The Mask You Live In”

“Don’t cry.” “Be a man.” “Man up.” “Don’t be a pussy.” “Grow some fucking balls.” These are the lessons we’re teaching our boys, and it’s hurting everyone. When we feminize caring, empathy and emotional communication and expression, we don’t give boys the capacity to be fully formed human beings. The result is violence and suicide.

This is the focus of the new documentary, “The Mask You Live In.” It’s a follow up to 2011’s great doc, “Miss Representation”, currently available on Netflix, about how the media’s often disparaging portrayals of women contribute to the under-representation of females in positions of power, forcing women to be defined by beauty and sexuality, not by their capacity as leaders. Director Jennifer Siebel Newsom basically spawned a movement — with a website, a vibrant social media presence, nation-wide events, and educational outreach — dedicated to questioning the stereotypical gender roles that get obsessively, even subconsciously perpetuated by our society. So it’s no surprise her follow-up film targets the media’s narrow definition of ideal masculinity — as aggressive, violent, sexually and financially obsessed, and emotionally closed-off — and how it’s negatively impacting boys:

Right now, the only way to see the film is to either host or attend a local screening. You can find a nearby screening here; if you’re part of an institution such as a school or a nonprofit and would like to host a public screening, fill out this form. Note: private in-home viewing is unavailable at this time.

Below are some of the alarming statistics featured in the film, followed by a sneak peak at one of the short videos in their curriculum series, which is designed to engage students in three, primary learning objectives: 1) Examine concepts of media literacy and gender socialization, as well as the ways in which media shapes our culture. 2) Critique representations of manhood and begin to make positive representations of men and boys. 3) Examine how healthy self-concepts and interpersonal relationships can result in healthier forms of masculinity.

  • Compared to girls, boys are two times more likely to flunk or drop out or school1
  • Compared to girls, boys are two times more likely to receive special education2
  • Compared to girls, boys are four times more likely to be expelled3
  • Every day three or more boys commit suicide4
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for boys5
  • Only 22 states require public schools teach sex education8

See citation sources here.

Want to help smash gender stereotypes? Read:
10 Quick Lessons from “Parenting Beyond Pink & Blue”


  1. The big wrench in the spokes here is that people remain attracted to masks. Men like the feminine mask and women like the masculine mask (though both groups will lie through their teeth about that when pressed by PC inquisitors) so the incentive to keep the masks on remains strong.

    Feminists have tried for years now to scold and shame men out liking conventional beauty – it hasn’t worked, because attraction isn’t logical and it isn’t an argument. Red-pill MGTOW types have similarly tried, fruitlessly, to shame women out of preferring manly men (not that anyone even listens to them). It’s like a response to flavor – you don’t pick what tastes good to you and what doesn’t.

    Although I’m not a big evolutionary psych guy, I feel like there’s something more than social conditioning that draws us to the masks.

    1. Yes, agreed. There’s also testosterone at play, which *majorly* affects behavior–including aggression. Society goes a long way toward pushing gender roles further, sure, but so many well-meaning feminists have this inclination to pretend that we’re not a sexually dimorphic species–that’s it’s all driven by society & the media. If you discount the underlying biology, you’re missing an opportunity to address these issues within the context of reality.

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