2011 brought us Miss Representation, one of the most influential documentaries on women and the media ever made. Across the world, feminist resource centers, colleges, universities, and countless individuals have screened the film. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out. We only have great things to say about Jennifer Siebel Newsom's work. And now she's bringing us something new.
At Miss Representation screenings, many people asked Jennifer about issues of male representation in media and the current "crisis of masculinity." The Mask You Live In, Jennifer's latest project, is a response to these valid inquiries. It's like the classic feminist doc Tough Guise, if that film had much-needed updates to its stats, cultural landscape, and pop cultural references. This is masculinity 101; crucial knowledge that we can only get by listening to men and masculine-identified people speak about their experiences in a space made for analysis and learning.
Jennifer herself is a talented and inquisitive media maker, but she is also a mother to a young boy. She sited her son as a major motivation behind making this film. She wants to make sure that he grows up in a world where men aren't placed in opposition to their feelings or taught to mask their true selves.
In Jennifer's words: "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."
"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," and that's what this film seeks to address.
The film currently has 28 days left to reach its $80,000 goal. If only people could take the money donated to last month's loathsome and aggressive, Kickstarter-funded dating guide for men and invest it here! Visit The Mask You Live In's Kickstarter page to chip in, watch the trailer, and help give this important topic the attention it deserves.
All images via: The Mask You Live In Kickstarter page.