Friday night I watched a documentary, (when I think about it, I actually watch a lot of documentaries…). It’s called ‘The mask you live in’ and it’s about what it means to be a man, society’s and our view of what masculinity is and how the pressure to “be a man” can do a lot of damage. Just as a lot of girls are feeling the pressure to be feminine, skinny and all that shit, boys are having some issues of their own, and this movie kinda explores those, the reasons behind them, the result of them etc.
I actually really liked it and found it very interesting to watch. This whole thing with how the words “be a man”, “grow some balls, “don’t cry” and “don’t be a pussy” are some of the most destructive words a guy can hear, I thought was really interesting to hear about.
Though this movie is an exploration of American masculinity, I could see myself in a lot of the things that were being said, and at some points I was actually rather touched, (as in I felt like I could cry but I didn’t).
It also reminded me of this song I’m obsessed with a the moment called ‘Fragile’, because the first line in the song is basically “Crazy to think that a man can’t hurt”. (I thought it was fitting to mention:P) Also, go listen to it and fall in love with it now, (or preferably when you’re done reading this post, or maybe even while you’re reading it. Huh…)
At one point in the movie, this group of guys at around 15-16 years I think, sat down together with this teacher, who was also a youth advocate on the school, and they did an exercise. They all got a piece of paper with a picture of a mask on, and the teacher told them to, on the front, write what they thought represented them, things they let people see, and on the back they had to write the things they didn’t let people see. The things that were behind the mask.
As expected the words on the fronts were “funny”, “happy”, “kindness”, “smile”,
“friendly” and in general positive words. On the backs it was a little different. Words like “sadness”, “pain”, “anger” and “fear” kept repeating themselves, and I really related to that.
I’ve always had trouble expressing my feelings, (though I’ve gotten a lot better), and I would always, (I still do sometimes), suppress the pain, sadness and anger to the point where I was physically hurting.
I’d mastered how to fool people, I knew exactly which mask to put on and how to act. The only person who has always been able to see through my bullshit has been my mom. She’d always crack my tough exterior, and I’d end up crying for hours. The lump in my throat would then finally disintegrate and I could breathe for a while.
(I don’t know how this turned into the sob story of my life, but I regret nothing:P)
The movie is great, so if you have the time, you should definitely go watch it:)
One of my favorite quotes from the movie:
“He wears a mask and his face grows to fit it” – George Orwell