The Representation Project film will debut at Sundance Film Festival in January 2015.
“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. The Mask You Live In asks: As a society, how are we failing our boys?”
“America’s narrow definition of masculinity is harming boys, men, and society at large.”
I’m very excited for this film and here’s why…..
Three years ago I made the decision to part from the norm of my large girl empowerment community and include boys in my work. It didn’t feel right to me to polish just one side of a coin, both sides needed attention. You aren’t pro-girl if you are also anti-boy. It doesn’t work that way.
I could see the boys behind the masks. Some of my fans and customers were very angry with me for making this decision, they strongly felt that girls had it so rough and boys were just fine with all their privilege and maleness. In a way, I understood how they felt betrayed by me. I also understood why they were so wrong.
The issues facing boys, while different from those facing girls, are no less important and no less impactful to our larger society.
At the time I made this change with my business my son was a preschooler and I saw how the world was rushing in on him, just as I had a few years prior with my daughter. I didn’t agree with the messages he was being taught by culture about his gender and how he should “be a man”. Just as I had been fighting for my daughter’s right not to be rushed through her girlhood, I understood I had to do the same for my son.
My son – and your son – do not need to be men……they need time and space to be a BOY. Allowing him the full human experience is what will grow him into a confident, intelligent, emotionally intelligent, empathetic, strong, moral, respectable and respectful man. All of this forced toughening up and performance of “being a man” makes boys and man nothing more than fragile and empty. We rob our boys of their humanity when we encourage this to define masculinity.
Our sons are under no obligation to be anything other than the human being they were born to be. That includes the freedom to feel and express uncertainty, vulnerability, fear, love, joy, silliness, and healthy outlets for anger.
Allowing boys the space to be full people is not only what is most fair to them, it improves things for girls. These boys then grow up to be better friends, peers throughout school, romantic partners, fathers/uncles/grandfathers, coworkers, and members of society. We need to decouple the idea that anger, aggression, and violence are inherent “male” qualities.
This mask we teach our boys to wear, needs to be no more.
From the Representation Project:
“With The Mask You Live In, we’re expanding the conversation to include how our culture is harming boys and men. Research shows 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.