New Documentary Explores the Pressures of Male Gender Stereotypes


The terrifyingly intelligent and beautiful Jennifer Siebel Newsom has launched a project (on Kickstarter, duh) to fund her documentary about the pressures of masculinity on boys today. The film, titled “The Mask You Live In,” examines how societal standards of boys and men being emotionally unattached, among other “manly” characteristics, has effected an entire generation of young men.

Considering Siebel Newsom’s success with Miss Representation, the documentary already looks promising. At the root of the film is a problem Siebel Newsom calls the “boy crisis”

“Our society’s failure to recognize and care for the social and emotional well-being of our boys contributes to a nation of young men who navigate adversity and conflict with an incomplete emotional skill set. Whether boys and later men have chosen to resist or conform to this masculine norm, there is loneliness, anxiety, and pain.”

Siebel Newsom claims that boys in the US are more likely to fail out of school, binge drink, commit a violent crime, or take their own lives. Hearing the stories of young boys mimicking the unemotional male models they’re surrounded by is pretty heartbreaking. Here’s an excerpt from the preview:

“From middle school, I had four really close friends and we did everything together. Once I kind of went into high school I struggle finding people I can talk to about things because I feel like I have to deal with it myself and I’m not supposed to get help.”

From the preview, it seems the film seeks to link violent shootings, from Colorado to Newtown, to the underlying problems of masculinity and its relation emotional detachment, which makes Siebel Newsom’s film especially pertinent and timely.

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