The Mask You Live In
Jennifer Sibel Newsom (2015)
Last night Māori TV showed the Mask You Live In – a documentary about the constant social pressure boys feel to conform to an arbitrary standard of masculinity – and the deep emotional trauma caused by the experience.
Growing up in western society, the greatest fear most boys experience is that they will be found to be weak or “feminine.” The constant pressure (often via school bullying) they experience to “prove” their masculinity forces them to reject all manner of experiences that are artificially labeled as “feminine,” ie sensitivity, self reflection, emotional closeness and intimacy, etc.
The numerous psychologists, educators, coaches and youth advocates featured in the documentary all note a sudden change in boys around 15-16, causing them to suddenly abandon close friendships with other boys. It’s precisely at the point where emotional expression totally drops out of their language that drug and alcohol use, suicide and gang membership skyrockets.
In my view, the best segments of the film are of all boy’s/all men’s groups in schools and prisons that support members in exploring the deep trauma they have experienced from this immense cultural pressure to “man up.”
The film, which can’t be embedded, can be viewed for free at the Māori TV website:
Americans need to brace for impact all right – if only to protect themselves against billionaires from robbing them blind.
I AM STILL TRYING TO MAKE MY WAY FROM BEING A BEGGAR, INTO HIGHER RANKS OF BEING A PROFESSIONAL SLAVE. A NUMBER OF TIMES WE HAVE HAD TO ASK CHURCHES AND SYNAGOGUES, FOR HELP WITH RENT. IT IS EXTREMELY CRITICAL AND EVEN FATAL CONDITIONS IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA, WHERE WE LIVE.
There is a very distorted view of masculinity in the US. We might help our sons if there were both biological parents in the home. We might help them if we countered this pressure to measure up to a false ideal of masculinity. And, we can easily stop assaulting them shortly after birth by saying no to the pediatricians. Infant male circumcision does lasting harm to boys (and when they grow up – to men). As well, we could look at the harm that the attacks coming from feminists do to men and boys.
If I shed tears at the funeral for a loved one, it does not make me less of a man.
Thanks for your comment, Larry. The US is one of the most backwards countries in the world with its refusal to provide paid maternity leave to allow women to stay home with their new babies. The fact that male circumcision remains so common in the US is barbaric – there is absolutely no medical justification for it and there are no other countries where this happens for non-religious reasons.