From the director of Miss Representation - an exploration of American masculinity.
UPDATE: We surpassed our initial funding goal! Our new goal is 2,500 backers - spread the word!
Compared to girls, research shows that boys in the U.S. are more likely to be diagnosed with a behavior disorder, prescribed stimulant medications, fail out of school, binge drink, commit a violent crime, and/or take their own lives.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom's new documentary film, The Mask You Live In, asks: As a society, how are we failing our boys?
Why This Film Matters
At a young age, boys learn that to express compassion or empathy is to show weakness. They hear confusing messages that force them to repress their emotions, establish hierarchies, and constantly prove their masculinity. They often feel compelled to abide by a rigid code of conduct that affects their relationships, narrows their definition of success and, in some cases, leads to acts of violence resulting in what many researchers call a “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.
The Mask You Live In documentary will examine how gender stereotypes are interconnected with race, class, and circumstance, and how kids are further influenced by the education system, sports culture, and mass media- video games and pornography in particular. The film also highlights the importance of placing emphasis on the social and emotional needs of boys through healthy family communication, alternative teaching strategies, conscious media consumption, positive role modeling and innovative mentorship programs.
To make a film that sparks a national conversation around masculinity and ultimately creates a more balanced, equitable society for all.
The Mask You Live In film will target youth, families, caregivers, coaches, and mental health professionals. But we are confident the film will speak to the masses.
Our previous film, Miss Representation, has proven that there is demand for this kind of storytelling. Further, we’ve seen the impact that documentary filmmaking, accompanied by social action campaigns, can have in shifting consciousness, changing behavior, and ultimately transforming culture. As a result, we are confident in our ability to do it again with The Mask You Live In documentary. But we need your help.
Now that we've passed our original funding goal (in less than two weeks!), we want to seize the momentum and build a huge community of support around this film. We want 2,500 backers before the end of the campaign. Not only would additional funds improve the quality of our film, but it would mean 2,500 people dedicated to challenging limiting gender stereotypes. And 2,500 people committed to building a safe and more equal future for all of us.
We believe building this base of support would be an extraordinary step towards creating a truly national conversation around masculinity. Whether it results in $1 or $100, if each of us recruits just one more person we can make a huge difference! Spread the word.
What We Need to Make This Film
We are currently in production and will use your contributions to finish filming our vignettes and put together a rough cut edit of the film. From there, we will use remaining funds to design and incorporate motion picture graphics for the many statistics and illustrations you will see throughout the film.
What Will the Film Look Like?
The 75 minute film will feature powerful interviews with popular thought leaders and celebrities as well as academics and experts in neuroscience, biology, psychology, anthropology, sociology, ethics, education, sports, media, and history. Shot in a style consistent with Miss Representation, these white backdrop interviews will anchor the film’s messaging while emotional vignettes showcase a wide range of life experiences and perspectives from boys and men who are struggling with different issues related to masculinity.
I’m extremely passionate about this topic and have been researching it with my team for quite some time, but we’ve also enlisted an amazing group of expert film content advisors to help guide our thinking:
• Byron Hurt, Co-Founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention, Director of Beyond Beats and Rhymes
• Michael Kimmel, PhD. Author of Guyland
• Jackson Katz, Co-Founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention, Director of Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity
• William Pollack, Author of Real Boys and Real Boys’ Voices
• Esta Soler, Founder of Futures Without Violence
• Niobe Way, Ed.D. Author of Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection
About Miss Representation:
Miss Representation is the award-winning documentary film that exposes how mainstream media contributes to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman or girl to feel powerful herself.
MissRepresentation.org is a non-profit social action campaign and media organization established to shift people’s consciousness, inspire individual and community action, and ultimately transform culture so everyone, regardless of gender, age or circumstance can fulfill their potential.
Miss Representation is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization (Tax ID: 45-1611066)
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We are determined to make this film. Yet as with any production, scheduling and financial hurdles could stand in the way of finishing the project within the planned timeline. If this were to occur we would update our backers immediately of any changes.
The Mask You Live In is a project of MissRepresentation.org - a 501(c)(3). You will be able to deduct donations to our film that exceed the value of the gift which you are receiving.
Want a full deduction? Simply opt out of your pledge gift and you can claim the full amount.