As many of my regular readers know, in the past I’ve brought attention to Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s last film, Miss Representation, which looked at how media images shaped female self-identity and behaviour. In travelling to promote the film, she became aware that there was a male version of the media and societal pressures that surround women.
There’s a great deal of nonsense out there suggesting that women feel more or are more in touch but this is ridiculous. We all think the same thoughts and we all release the same chemistry to ourselves as a result, so while the male and female experience might be slightly different, it’s not like one side or the other is completely missing out on some emotion.
We all feel love, we all feel pain, we all feel the sadness of loss and the thrill of success. We may be able to have experiences the other group cannot, but we will not feel any emotion that the other gender does not.
Boys have a much higher adolescent suicide rate than girls. The pressures on boys are more subtle, but no less damaging. Both Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In are important projects that discuss the ugly side effects that result from when corporate advertising and marketing is left to create our culture’s “normal identities.” Because they won’t pick what’s natural or healthy. They will always always always pick what is most profitable. And most profitable will always always always be what you are not.
I’m confident you’ll find these films worthwhile so I encourage you to seek them out and to actually pay Ms. Newsom for her excellent work in helping to create a healthier society. And to see the trailer for Ms. Newsom’s latest film, you can watch it here:
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.