Reading some notes I’d taken while watching the Miss Representation Project’s film, The Mask You Live In, a couple of years ago. This film is about the unrealistic stereotypes we railroad boys into, so that they deny their emotional development and expression – at their peril. And to the detriment of society in general.
This was an immensely sad film for me to watch, but I live in hope.
However, in a nutshell, here are some points I noted.
- Increasingly hyper-masculine images, products, etc and hyper-feminine images and products increase the pressure to fit into the “right” stereotype
- Boys (and men) feel they need to solve pain instead of exploring it
- The “mean-team” among boys as young as preschool age, is established within months of a cohort starting preschool. Boys not fitting in are in danger of being “fired” from the boys’ club and excluded
- A quarter of boys binge drink or do drugs to blot out loneliness; when they’re high they have permission to hug their friends and tell them they love them
- Every day, more than 3 boys commit suicide (I didn’t note the age of these boys but I seem to remember them being in the 12-15 year range); this is 5 X the rate of girls
And here’s the clincher in my opinion,
“boys yearn for guides and leadership from the men in their lives”