Documentary films are a valuable tool for teaching and raising awareness about men, masculinities, and gender. They may be used in classrooms, in community screenings, or in other initiatives. This XY collection describes relevant films on men and masculinities. Additions are most welcome. (We would also love to add a list of fiction films about men and masculinities - I’ve started a list, but please write to me if you would like to put it together.) Also see the collection of YouTube (free) videos on men and masculinities, sexualities, and violence prevention here.
The films described below are as follows:
- A Way to Justice: Engaging Men for Women’s Rights and Gender Transformation (Africa, 2009)
- About Us
- Boys to Men? (USA, 2004)
- Can’t just fold your arms (South Africa, 2013)
- Debating Masculinity (USA, 2005)
- Guyland: Where Boys Become Men (USA, 2015)
- Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (USA, 2006)
- I am a Man: Black masculinity in America (USA, 1998)
- Macho (Nicaragua, 1999)
- Manhood and Violence: Fatal Peril (USA, 2003)
- ManUp (South Africa, 2016)
- Man Up (Australia, 2016)
- Men Against the Tide (India, 2014)
- My Masculinity Helps (USA, 2013)
- Raise Our Men (New Zealand, 2017, White Ribbon New Zealand)
- Rush (Australia, 1999)
- Sex and Selfhood: New Issues for Men of Conscience
- The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men (USA, 2011)
- The Empathy Gap: masculinity and the courage to change (USA, 2015)
- The Feminist in Cellblock Y (2018)
- The Man Card (USA, 2020)
- The Mask You Live In (USA, 2015)
- The Men’s Story Project: Out Loud! (Chile, 2014)
- The Smell of Burning Ants (USA, 1994)
- Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood & American Culture (USA, 2013)
- Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity (USA, 1999)
- When Men Change (Promundo, 2015)
Four other XY collections providing resources for your teaching are these:
- Videos on men, masculinities, gender, and violence;
- University curricula on men and masculinities;
- Curricula, guides, and manuals for educating boys and men
- Podcasts on men and masculinities
A Way to Justice: Engaging Men for Women’s Rights and Gender Transformation (Africa, 2009)
A Way to Justice – A documentary film from Sonke available at http://vimeo.com/26553725
Across the world, in places expected and unexpected, men are joining women to challenge patriarchy, end men’s violence against women and promote gender equality.
To capture a sense of this growing movement, Sonke commissioned filmmaker William Nessen to interview leading activists at the MenEngage Africa symposium in October 2009 to create a film, A Way to Justice: Engaging Men for Women’s Rights and Gender Transformation
Focusing on four personal stories from Africa – with an additional eight interviewees as analysts - the film follows each through terrible times to each one’s eventual triumph, as they confront and transcend the forces that have wreaked havoc with their and their nation’s life.
David Tamba, a Sierra Leonean running from civil war whose wife is gang-raped by rebels, spends a decade in refugee camps. Pascal Akimana, then an 11-year old Burundian child fleeing both his father’s and his country’s violence, finds even more violence across the border in the DRC, where soldiers batter him senseless and rape his younger sister. Jennifer Gatsi, a Botswanan-Namibian woman growing up with a father who beats her mother nightly, is forced to wed a violent husband who infects her and two small children with HIV. And Trevor Davies, a white Zimbabwean photojournalist, whose career-focus blinds him to the dire struggle of a son who dies of AIDS. Each of the four feels defeated by the violence and loss they’ve suffered.
Eventually, Tamba overcomes his shame-filled powerlessness to form an organization of men confronting violence and unfair gender roles in West African refugee camps. He goes on to form a national movement in Sierra Leone to push successfully for historic laws defending women’s and children’s rights.
Having sworn to join the rebel movement and kill his violent father, Akimana realizes that reconciliation are his and his country’s only righteous path.
Davies finds a solution to his guilty pain and a key to talking with men resistant to women’s rights by campaigning for a “fatherhood revolution” – a more responsible, caring form of male parenting to benefit women, children and men alike.
To help other women with HIV, Gatsi focuses on changing young men and thus herself rises above the intimate physical and emotional hell created by the men in her life.
As other of the interviewees — Gary Barker, Tyler Crone, Lydia Mungherera, Lynn Ngugi, James Arana, Abhijit Das, Dawn Cavanagh, Jonah Gokova - punctuate with concluding reflections, refugee Tamba sweeps the viewer along toward the film’s powerful emotive end.
Hunt Hoe, a Malaysian-born Canadian filmmaker, played a stereotypical, camera-toting character called Albert Woo in Foreign Ghosts, one of his trilogy of films on the cultural experiences of different immigrant groups in Canada and the US. In this program, Hoe looks at those stereotypes attached to Asian men in both countries and the role models which they adopt. He interviews an interesting cross-section of men from different age groups, occupations and sexual inclinations from various Asian backgrounds - from Pakistan, Japan, India, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia, as well as Cecilia Cristobal, a Filipina-Canadian actor, who gives voice to the issues faced by Asian women; and Jackie Chan, who explains the values he grew up with and his opinion on Asian male stereotyping.
Boys to Men? (USA, 2004)
In this moving follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Hoop Dreams, award-winning filmmaker Frederick Marx continues his exploration of the lives of ordinary young men and the extraordinary challenges they face. Boys to Men? - the second in a proposed trilogy about masculinity in America- trains its focus on the pressures and expectations faced by a diverse group of young urban males. The DVD consists of four films. Are You Listening? Features several teenage boys from different ethnic, racial, and class backgrounds offering fascinating insights into their own experiences and the meaning of manhood in America. Three additional pieces - Spencer, Cisco, and Al-Tran - give insight into the lives of three 15-year-old boys as they navigate the daily challenges of school, family, and American society.
Run time: 143 min.
Can’t just fold your arms (South Africa, 2013)
This documentary explores Sonke Gender Justice Network’s quest to transform men in post-Apartheid South Africa.
Run time: 55 min. 30
Debating Masculinity (USA, 2005)
The current discussion on masculinities is essential to explain what it means to “be a man” in different cultures and historical periods and, especially, to understand the changes in male sex roles which are taking place in our societies in the last few years. The so-called “studies of masculinities” -which have resulted from the academic intersections between gender studies, feminist theory, and queer studies- try to answer some of these questions. These studies attempt to rethink patriarchal conceptions of masculinity, pointing as well to new, alternative masculinities. In so doing, masculinity studies show the plurality and complexity of masculinities in contemporary societies. Since masculinity is a cultural construction which varies according to sexuality, ethnicity, class, age, nationality, historical period, culture, etc., the study of masculinities needs to be approached from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Using an interdisciplinary approach, Debating Masculinity/La masculinidad a debate provides innovative reflections on the study on masculinities. Videotaped in New York City, this DVD includes selected fragments from interviews to reputed American masculinity scholars from different academic disciplines: Michael Kimmel (sociology, SUNY), David Gilmore (anthropology, SUNY), Krin Gabbard (comparative literature and film studies, SUNY), David Eng (Asian-American queer studies, Rutgers Univ.), and Carolyn Dinshaw (Center for the Study of Gender and Sexualities, NYU). The DVD was edited with the financial support of the Dept. of Women and Civil Rights, Ajuntament de Barcelona.
Carabi, Angels and Josep M. Armengol, eds. Debating Masculinity. Barcelona: Barcelona University Press, 2005. [DVD, 35 minutes. ISBN: 84-475-2941-X.]
The DVD can be purchased at www.publicacions.ub.es
Guyland: Where Boys Become Men (USA, 2015)
In this powerful film based on his bestselling book, sociologist Michael Kimmel maps the troubling social world where boys become men -- a new stage of development he calls “Guyland.” Arguing that the traditional adult signposts and cultural signals that once helped boys navigate their way to manhood are no longer clear, Kimmel provides an astonishing glimpse into a world where more and more young men are trying desperately to prove their masculinity to other young men -- with frequently disastrous consequences for young women and other young men.
Guyland offers a way for all of us -- parents, young men and women, community members, and professors and administrators -- to envision new ways to support young men as they navigate this often perilous world.
Praise for Guyland:
“Michael Kimmel’s candid video creatively weaves social science research on gender and sexuality with popular culture images centered on ‘adultolescence’, a new stage of life between teen years and adulthood. Many contemporary film and television clips persuasively illustrate how young guys today continuously attempt to prove their masculinity in a society still perpetuating gender inequality. Kimmel’s provocative lecture based on his book Guyland will generate many powerful classroom discussions about a wide-range of gender issues facing most colleges today.”
- Peter M. Nardi | Professor of Sociology | Pitzer College/The Claremont Colleges
“In this important new film Michael Kimmel explores the meaning of masculinity today and why so many young men are struggling in coping with the demands of adulthood. Insightful, provocative, and illuminating, Guyland probes the complex issues facing young men today and helps us to understand why and how things have changed.”
- Pedro Noguera | Professor of Education at New York University
“Michael Kimmel has been a champion not only for women’s rights, but also a strong advocate for redefining manhood in positive ways. Guyland is a powerful exploration of what it means to be a young man today.”
- Michael Kaufman | Co-Founder of the White Ribbon Campaign | Co-Author of The Guy’s Guide to Feminism
“Guyland is much more than a critique of traditional masculinity. It’s a 30-minute resource for 16 to 24-year-old guys who want to figure out just what kind of a man they want to become. Michael Kimmel’s insights and lots of poignant media clips combine to explain how so many young males seem to be ‘deer in the headlights’ of historical changes in gender relations, work, family, and sexuality. The hazards of male ‘adultolescence,’ which are often painted as normal or even desirable, can include suppression of emotions, physical and emotional scars from hazing rituals, excessive alcohol and drug use, homophobia, sexual abuse of women, and failed relationships. Guyland reveals how conformity to traditional masculinity can hurt both men and women, and better still, it will help male viewers rethink and reshape their life and identity.”
- Don Sabo | Founder and Director of the Center for Research on Physical Activity, Sport & Health (CRPASH) at D’Youville College
“This is a unique, timely, and immensely insightful look at the state of gender in the early 21st century. Michael Kimmel has produced the most telling examination of the world of compulsory heterosexual masculinity. While presented with some humour, no one who views this video can remain under any illusion that there is something drastically amiss in ‘guyland’ today. One step to redressing the ongoing tragedy of modern masculinity would be to make this video compulsory viewing in every school in the country.”
- Stephen Whitehead | Visiting Professor in Gender Studies at Shih Hsin University | Author of Men and Masculinities
“In turns amusing and disturbing, Guyland offers glimpses into how many young men navigate the treacherous waters of ‘adultolescence.’“
- Christopher E. Forth | Professor of History & Howard Chair of Humanities & Western Civilization at the University of Kansas | Author of Masculinity in the Modern West
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (USA, 2006)
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes is a 2006 documentary film written, produced, and directed by Byron Hurt. The documentary explores the issues of masculinity, violence, homophobia and sexism in hip hop music and culture, through interviews with artists, academics and fans.
Filmmaker Byron Hurt, a life-long hip-hop fan, was watching rap music videos on BET when he realized that each video was nearly identical. Guys in fancy cars threw money at the camera while scantily clad women danced in the background. As he discovered how stereotypical rap videos had become, Hurt, a former college quarterback turned activist, decided to make a film about the gender politics of hip-hop, the music and the culture that he grew up with. “The more I grew and the more I learned about sexism and violence and homophobia, the more those lyrics became unacceptable to me,” he says. “And I began to become more conflicted about the music that I loved.” The result is HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, a riveting documentary that tackles issues of masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia in today’s hip-hop culture.
Sparking dialogue on hip-hop and its declarations on gender, HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes provides thoughtful insight from intelligent, divergent voices including rap artists, industry executives, rap fans and social critics from inside and outside the hip-hop generation. The film includes interviews with famous rappers such as Mos Def, Fat Joe, Chuck D and Jadakiss and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons; along with commentary from Michael Eric Dyson, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Kevin Powell and Sarah Jones and interviews with young women at Spelman College, a historically black school and one of the nation’s leading liberal arts institutions.
The film also explores such pressing issues as women and violence in rap music, representations of manhood in hip-hop culture, what today’s rap lyrics reveal to their listeners and homoeroticism in hip-hop. A “loving critique” from a self-proclaimed “hip-hop head,” HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes discloses the complex intersection of culture, commerce and gender through on-the-street interviews with aspiring rappers and fans at hip-hop events throughout the country.
I am a Man: Black masculinity in America (USA, 1998)
Award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt explores what it means to be a black man in America. Traveling to more than fifteen cities and towns across the country, Hurt gathers reflections on black masculinity from men and women of a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and a host of leading scholars and cultural critics. What results is an engaging and honest dialogue about race, gender, and identity in America. Features bell hooks, Michael Eric Dyson, John Henrick Clarke, Kevin Powell, Andrew Young, Dr. Alvin Poussaint, MC Hammer, Jackson Katz, and many others.
Sections: Introduction | Images | The Cool Pose | Emotions | Black Male Homosexuality | Black Males: Violence and Fears | Sexism: Men’s Violence Against Women | Fathers | The Future
Duration: 60 min
Date Produced: 1998
Macho (Nicaragua, 1999)
“Macho” provides an in-depth profile of Men Against Violence (Nicaragua) and its ground-breaking work towards eliminating attitudes of male chauvinism (known as machismo in Spanish) that have perpetuated violent acts against women in Nicaragua and Latin America. The film strongly demonstrates that despite living in one of the most destitute countries in Latin America, this group has succeeded in providing a model that is used by men worldwide to discuss issues of violence and advocate for the rights of women.
“Macho” offers a rare glimpse at the methods used by Men Against Violence to discuss the abuse of power and the damage it causes families and communities. It also is a powerful film that challenges assumptions about “machismo” and its continued application to Latino culture. In the end, “Macho” demonstrates that violence against women and sexual abuse is a worldwide epidemic that needs to be addressed by all men in every country. Can be purchased through Women Make Movies (www.wmm.com)
Dir. Lucinda Broadbent, 1999
Language: Spanish w/ english subtitles
Manhood and Violence: Fatal Peril (USA, 2003)
The Resolve to Stop the Violence Program places male convicts in highly structured encounter groups, helping them recognize the warped concepts of masculinity behind their violent behavior. This documentary follows nine inmates through the rigorous self-discovery process, recording their growing sense of accountability and willingness to change. With commentary from law enforcement officers, violence-prevention experts, victims’ relatives, and the inmates themselves, the video also follows up on RSVP participants after their release, highlighting the ultimate benefit of the program—a dramatic reduction in recidivism among its graduates. (58 minutes)
ManUp (South Africa, 2016)
South Africa is a violent country with some of the highest levels of gender-based violence in the world. Men are the primary perpetrators of such violence. Man Up! offers a critical look at manhood in South Africa by unpacking the realities of men’s life experiences in order to make sense of their violence. The film follows the stories of Sikhangele Mabulu and Monwabisi Mbetane as they reflect on their childhood socialisation that made violence an acceptable form of male expression.
Man Up! suggests that it is the narrow construction of masculinity that makes powerless men resort to violence as a means of asserting their manhood. Through the work of the NGO Sonke Gender Justice, the film looks at the powerful role men can play in bringing about change within their homes and communities to lead more gender equitable and fulfilling lives.
Available: https://genderjustice.org.za/video/man-up/. Also at https://vimeo.com/reelepics
Man Up (Australia, 2016)
Harden up. Suck it up. Man up. We’ve been telling our men this for years, but is it healthy? Suicide is now the leading cause of death for Australian men aged 15-44. And alarming new research suggests that some men choose to take their own life, rather than appear weak by asking for help. Man Up is a three-part documentary series and social awareness campaign funded by the Movember Foundation and hosted by Triple M radio personality Gus Worland. It aims to get to the bottom of the male suicide crisis, effect real social change and hopefully even save lives.
Men Against the Tide (India, 2014)
This 2014 film profiles diverse male role models from around India who empower women using everything from sports to skills training to religious participation to community theater. The film was produced as part of the Hero Project - Women and Girls Lead Global’s campaign in India.
The Hero Project encourages young men and boys to take heroic actions against gender-based violence and discrimination in their own communities.
Availability: See https://www.facebook.com/wglgi
My Masculinity Helps (USA, 2013)
My Masculinity Helps explores the role of African American men and boys in the prevention of sexual violence. It shows African American male allies (psychologist, professor, peer educator, attorney, pastor, athlete, middle and high school students, activist) demonstrating understanding and support for survivors of sexual violence. Strategies for assistance and prevention are provided. Survivors also share their stories and what has helped them. The film serves as a counter-narrative to often inaccurate and misleading portrayals of African American masculinity. Our goal is to engage boys and men in the deconstruction of gender roles, masculinity, and power and in the prevention of sexual violence. It can be used in schools, colleges, and athletic, professional, community, and faith-based organizations.
Directed by Marc A. Grimmett, 30 minutes, 2013
Director of Photography, David Hambridge
Produced by N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Raise Our Men (New Zealand, 2017, White Ribbon New Zealand)
The Raise Our Men film features interviews with New Zealand men about their experience of growing up and conforming to male stereotypes (the man box).
The film was developed by White Ribbon New Zealand as part of their 2017 campaign, because how we encourage and expect men to behave, directly affects the high level of domestic violence and sexual harm in this country.
The film picks up on four key links:
- Men learn they have more power than women and so feel they are entitled to use violence against women.
- Men hold to a rigid division of what men do and what women do (gender roles), and use violence to enforce this.
- Men tend to express anger through aggression and are not encouraged to express all the other feelings they have.
- Men take their traditional masculinity identity from peers and the media, rather than developing their own more healthy identity.
The film features interviews with nine Kiwi (NZ) men, and in telling their stories, it shows that change is possible - when men are shown and supported to choose a different respectful path.
White Ribbon hopes the film will prompt discussion about how we raise our boys and male behaviour, and encourage men to use the White Ribbon Toolboxes that outline how to have respectful relationships and respectful sexual relationships.
The film will become a resource for anyone working with men, and young men, to promote positive, respectful behaviour and will be made freely available. Communities that wish to put on free screenings should contact White Ribbon at firstname.lastname@example.org or individuals can watch the film on White Ribbon’s website www.whiteribbon.org.nz, where the toolboxes for men are also available.
Rush (Australia, 1999)
RUSH is a contemporary look at the increasing phenomenon of ‘joyriding’ and its consequences, and reflects important issues for boys on the brink of manhood. The obsession with speed, ‘joyriding’ and car theft is the catalyst for telling the personal stories of three young Australian men. The implications of their worlds, and a ‘culture’ which has caused them to break the law, provides a deeper understanding to their motivations and lives.
“This excellent special provides an intimate observation of youth today... Boys on the brink of manhood? At the end of this terrific hour, it appears more like madness”
The Herald Sun - Melbourne
“It is a credit to the makers of RUSH, particularly director Philippe Charluet,that the program doesn’t attempt to sugarcoat the men’s situation. Instead it lets the stories of the men’s lives, disturbing as they are, speak for themselves”
Darrin Farrant - The Age
Sex and Selfhood: New Issues for Men of Conscience
A series of frank, provocative video talks by John Stoltenberg, designed to open four issues of sexuality and personal identity for group discussion: sexual objectification, male bonding, homophobia, and pornography. The set of four 20-minute VHS videotapes comes with a Facilitator’s Guidebook containing poster designs for outreach, interactive discussion guides, and reproducible worksheets.
Availability: Contact Kundschier Video Design, 5305 Woodlawn Boulevard, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417, 612-722-5534, fax 612-722-7327, email@example.com.
The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men (USA, 2011)
Filmmaker Thomas Keith, a professor of philosophy at California State University, Long Beach, provides an engrossing look at the forces in male culture that condition boys and men to dehumanize and disrespect women. Breaking down a range of contemporary media forms targeted explicitly at young men, Keith teases out the main maxims of “bro culture” and “the bro code,” and examines how this seemingly ironic mentality reinforces misogyny and gender violence in the real world. Whether he’s looking at movies and music videos that glamorize womanizing, pornography that trades in the brutalization of women, comedians who make fun of sexual assault, or the recent groundswell in men’s magazines and cable TV shows that revel in reactionary myths of American manhood, the message Keith uncovers in virtually every corner of our “entertainment” culture is clear: that it’s not only normal -- but cool -- for boys and men to control and humiliate women. Along the way, The Bro Code makes a powerful case that there’s nothing normal, natural, or inevitable about this toxic ideal of American manhood, and challenges young people to fight back against the resurgent idea that being a “bro” -- and a man -- means glorifying sexism, bullying, and abuse.
Duration: 58 min
Date Produced: 2011
The Empathy Gap: masculinity and the courage to change (USA, 2015)
In The Bro Code and Generation M, filmmaker Thomas Keith examined how American culture bombards young men with sexist and misogynistic messages. In The Empathy Gap, he looks more closely at the ways these messages short-circuit men’s ability to empathize with women, respect them as equals, and take feminism seriously.
Keith begins by exploring some of the key messages about manhood that boys absorb from the culture -- that they should acquire material wealth, meet conflict with aggression, harden themselves, suppress all human emotion except anger, and view women primarily as sexual objects -- then argues that these messages not only devalue women but also undercut men’s innate capacity for caring and empathy. Along the way, he draws fascinating parallels between sexism and racism, spelling out how each is rooted in cultural norms that discourage empathy, and shows how men who break with these norms live happier and healthier lives.
Features Jennifer Siebel-Newsom, Tony Porter, Michael Messner, Derrick Jensen, Kevin Powell, J.W. Wiley, Charlotte Watson, Eddie Moore Jr., C.J. Pascoe, Julia T. Wood, and others.
Ideal for courses and workshops that look at masculinity, gender violence, gender identity, and media culture.
DVD (With English Subtitles)
* 7-Day Streaming Rental
* 1-Year or 3-Year Streaming Subscription
* Perpetual Digital Rights Management
The Feminist in Cellblock Y (2018)
Richard Edmond Vargas, also known as “Richie Reseda” is a convicted felon who has been serving time in an all-male prison in Soledad, California, for armed robbery since he was a teen.
“The Feminist on Cellblock Y,” a documentary produced by filmmaker Contessa Gayles, follows the now 25-year-old Reseda and his fellow prison mates as they participate in an inmate rehabilitation program centered around feminist literature.
It’s said in the documentary, “a lot of them come out even worse than they were before,” referring to the inmates.
In order to counter that particular manifestation, these men spend their days learning about the patriarchy, discovering the power of vulnerability, and personally combating toxic masculinity. Additionally, the program encourages the men to confront all of the areas where these toxic ideals of masculinity have prevailed in their lives.
“We cannot challenge our harmful behavior without challenging patriarchy,” Reseda says in the film.
Available: YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYxTzsabkH8.
The Man Card (USA, 2020)
For years, right-wing politicians and pundits have accused the left of playing “the race card” and “the woman card” and engaging in identity politics. This eye-opening documentary turns the tables and takes dead aim at the right’s own longstanding use of white male identity politics in American presidential elections. Ranging from Richard Nixon’s tough-talking, fear-stoking law-and-order campaign in 1968 to Donald Trump’s hyper-macho revival of these same tactics in 2020, The Man Card shows how the right has employed a deliberate strategy to frame Democrats and liberals as soft, brand the Republican Party as the party of “real men,” and position conservatives as defenders of white male power and authority in the face of seismic demographic changes and ongoing struggles for equality.
The Man Card pays special attention to how the right has used white-male identity politics to channel the legitimate, class-based grievances of millions of white men into unbridled resentment of people of color, immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community, and so-called “liberal elites.” It also shows how this siege mentality has undercut the presidential prospects of women and undermined the nation’s ability to adapt to a changing world.
A co-production of the Media Education Foundation and Eat the Moon Films, The Man Card was directed by acclaimed filmmakers Peter Hutchison and Lucas Sabean, and was created and co-written by political analyst Jackson Katz, the author of the award-winning book Man Enough: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton & the Politics of Presidential Masculinity.
The Mask You Live In (USA, 2015)
The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.
Pressured by the media, their peer group, and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men.
Experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education, and media also weigh in, offering empirical evidence of the “boy crisis” and tactics to combat it.
The Mask You Live In ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.
The Men’s Story Project: Out Loud! (Chile, 2014)
This groundbreaking documentary highlights diverse Chilean men - celebrities, community leaders, and first-time presenters – boldly sharing personal stories with a live audience at a popular theater in Santiago. The stories critically explore social ideas about masculinity and gender relations, and links of these with key health and justice issues. With unusual public candor, the presenters address topics including family relationships; fatherhood in the context of divorce; breaking the cycle of domestic violence; bullying; substance abuse; homosexuality and the Church; transgender identity and LGBT rights; living with HIV/AIDS; men’s changing social roles; poverty, manual labor and classism; physical disability and self-actualization; and the healing power of self-acceptance, community and love.
The presenters include Coco Legrand – Chile’s most popular comic; Pedro Sánchez Melivilo – a leader of Chile’s indigenous Mapuche community; and Andrés Rivera Duarte – the first transgender man to legally change sex in Chile. Mediums include prose, comedy, dance and photography. Educational goals of the production were developed via interviews with researchers, health care providers and educators regarding links of masculinities with key health and justice challenges in the country.
Sponsored by Amnesty International, CulturaSalud, Transsexuals for Dignity in Diversity, VivoPositivo (national network of PLHIV), Popular Education in Health, and other groups.
The Men’s Story Project is a research-based, replicable initiative that engages community members in bold, public testimonial-sharing as a means to build/visibilize the movement for healthy masculinities and gender justice. Films, educational tools, community engagement campaigns, campus/touring productions, public culminations of educational programs, and other initiatives can stem from this work. I invite groups to consider creating new local/national projects and join the growing MSP network!
“This incredibly moving film examines our societal beliefs about masculinity with rare authenticity and candor...This is the type of spark we need to catalyze a movement. I would love to see this project replicated in every city and town across the world—from New Delhi to Steubenville. Shifting social norms surrounding masculinity is crucial to breaking the cycle of violence.” -Esta Soler, President, Futures Without Violence
“The Men’s Story Project brings together very different men, all struggling with the similar challenge of overcoming harmful constructions of masculinity…These courageous men explore...experiences that are connected to men’s socialization, including drug abuse, poor health seeking behavior, identity through sexual activity, machismo, delinquency, violence, and homophobia. In the end, each man shares his path of overcoming these challenges. They do so with humor, grace, vulnerability, pain, and honesty. These compelling men help us understand that we can overcome rigid societal gender norms. In doing so, they also remind us of what it means to be human, to know oneself, to be connected to others, to love, and be loved.” -Andrew Levack, Director, U.S. Programs, Instituto Promundo
“I have worked with men for more than 20 years, and am well aware of the need that we all have to tell our stories. I also know that there are very few spaces where we can do it safely and authentically. Historias de Hombres provides a moving and powerful example of men overcoming their negative socialization and their fear, and sharing openly about painful and joyful experiences in their lives. It is an inspiring model on how to conduct difficult conversations and start the journey of healing that we all need to undertake to create a better world.” -Juan Carlos Areán, Director, National Latino Network for Healthy Families and Communities
“Rarely has anyone the courage to produce such an important and heartfelt film with the participation of a live audience. Each narrative, from each of the men…came together like threads of wonder, beauty, sensitivity, doubts and strengths woven to form a cohesive and beautiful whole. Here, men tell their stories in a fashion so candid that it renders them compelling, and ultimately we can all relate to the issues they address, such as social justice, violence, health and mental health problems, and gender and sexual identity. This film is inspirational and can be used by teachers and students tackling these pressing issues or warming up for dialogues on the meaning of masculinity. The men in this film are all Latino, from Chile…Nonetheless, the struggles they narrate and solutions they found have universal appeal. As a professor of Social Work, I will certainly use this film in several classes and recommend that others do the same.” -Rogério Pinto, Columbia University School of Social Work
“I laughed and I cried. The men in this film draw us into a deeply emotional experience, simply by sharing the raw stories of their lives… Most importantly, they are all stories of the search for love – to love and to be loved. One after another, these men demonstrate a vulnerability we do not usually associate with adult men…Through the Men’s Story Project, Jocelyn Lehrer offers us a unique window into the complexities of masculinity and its painful impacts on boys and men, girls and women. Her introduction on this film is a brilliant example of a woman being an ally for the healing and liberation of men. In both process and content, this film helps us all recover our humanness. Witnessing these men telling their stories, we join them in the process of transformation.” -Steven Botkin, Ed.D., Executive Director, Men’s Resources International
“Watching “Historias de Hombres” was a tremendous learning experience...The voices of the various masculinities expressed in the film invites us to pause and think. It encourages us to recognize the struggles of so many – for justice, equality, freedom. It encourages us all – members of a social body – to realize that each of us has much to do, say, or contribute in these struggles which are sometimes invisibilized... For those of us who work in the teaching of human rights, the film makes a great contribution about how we can teach from life and not just from books. Without question, this is a terrific work which should be spread widely.” -Ximena Gauche, J.D., Professor of Human Rights, University of Concepción, Chile
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/86582221. Spanish-language educator’s guide: http://mensstoryproject.org/films/the-mens-story-project-out-loud/
Men’s Story Project: www.mensstoryproject.org; www.youtube.com/user/mensstoryproject
The Smell of Burning Ants (USA, 1994)
The Smell of Burning Ants is a haunting documentary on the pains of growing up male. It explores the inner and outer cruelties that boys perpetrate and endure. The film provokes the viewer to reflect on how our society can deprive boys of wholeness.
Through formative events of a boy’s life, we come to understand the ways in which men can become emotionally disconnected and alienated from their feminine side. The common dismissal that “boys will be boys” evolves into the chilling realization that boys frequently become angry, destructive and emotionally disabled men. The Smell of Burning Ants illustrates how boys are socialized by fear, power and shame. The film is a catalyst for discussion and an opportunity to begin the process of healing the wounds of childhood.
Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood & American Culture (USA, 2013)
In this highly anticipated update of the influential and widely acclaimed Tough Guise, pioneering anti-violence educator and cultural theorist Jackson Katz argues that the ongoing epidemic of men’s violence in America is rooted in our inability as a society to move beyond outmoded ideals of manhood. In a sweeping analysis that cuts across racial, ethnic, and class lines, Katz examines mass shootings, day-to-day gun violence, violence against women, bullying, gay-bashing, and American militarism against the backdrop of a culture that has normalized violent and regressive forms of masculinity in the face of challenges to traditional male power and authority. Along the way, the film provides a stunning look at the violent, sexist, and homophobic messages boys and young men routinely receive from virtually every corner of the culture, from television, movies, video games, and advertising to pornography, the sports culture, and U.S. political culture. Tough Guise 2 stands to empower a new generation of young men -- and women -- to challenge the myth that being a real man means putting up a false front and engaging in violent and self-destructive behavior.
The 52-minute version has been edited for length, and the 46-minute “clean” version has been edited for violence, sexual content, and strong language. While both versions are ideally suited for viewing in a single classroom period, the clean version may be more appropriate for junior high and high school-aged audiences.
Duration: (Full) 78 min, 52 minutes (Abridged), 46 minutes (Abridged - Clean)
ISBN: Full: 1-932869-91-3, Abridged: 1-932869-92-1
Date Produced: 2013
Subtitles: English and Spanish
Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity (USA, 1999)
Acclaimed anti-violence educator Jackson Katz argues that the epidemic of male violence that plagues American society needs to be understood and addressed as part of a much larger cultural crisis in masculinity. Whether he’s looking at bullying and school shootings or gay bashing, sexual assault, and violence against women, Katz makes a powerful case that male violence, misogyny, and homophobia are inextricably linked to how we define manhood as a culture. The film gives special attention to how American media have glamorized increasingly regressive and violence masculine ideals in the face of mounting social and economic threats to traditional white male heterosexual authority. Katz’s innovative cultural approach to gender violence prevention has been adopted by the NFL, the NCAA, and the U.S. Marine Corps.
When Men Change (Promundo, 2015)
When Men Change tells the story of four men who changed the way they think about gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, and violence. In recent years, there has been increased interest in exploring how men can contribute to promoting gender equality and preventing violence against women and girls. As the evidence base grows, now is the time to answer the question: “What works to engage men in achieving gender equality?”
Yes All Men (Australia)
Is masculinity killing Aussie men? They drink more, smoke more, do more drugs, deal more drugs and die younger. Men get bashed, robbed and murdered more - mostly by other men. The Feed asks why.
Duration: 27 min.