Short film 'American Male' takes a deeper look at the weight of masculinity. - Most of us were taught from young to follow ‘gender boundaries,’ and warned that if we don’t act according to how society expects us to do, we would be shamed, rejected and even bullied. In a new short film titled American Male, a college student tries his best to not only conform to the ‘ideal’ standards of masculinity, he tries to outplay it.
Being in a fraternity, he is immersed in an outwardly masculine lifestyle, and he actively engages in it too to prove his worth.
Playing beer pong, lifting weights, watching sports with his bros, hazing pledges, you name it.
However, it doesn’t all come natural to him.
In the voiceover, he pores over the differences between how men and women are expected to behave, down to the tiniest nuances.
He constantly reminds himself how he should behave and the things he mustn’t do — so as to appear as straight as possible.
Order beer. Not wine. And beef, not chicken. Never light beer, though. And no tofu. Can’t get more gay than tofu,’ he tells himself.
Little does he know that the internalised homophobia is eating him from inside out.
In the end, all the suppression of his true self and his feelings makes him feel dehumanised. ‘I am no longer a person but a set of social cues,’ he says.
Watch this haunting short film here:
Directed by Michael Rohrbaugh, the film is one of the three winners of MTV’s Look Different creator competition.
The competition is an anti-bias campaign which seeks to explore the subject of privilege with the help of emerging filmmakers.
Rohrbaugh told The Huffington Post that his film seeks to highlight the ways in which young, American men navigate a culture of overcompensation to ‘prove their manhood’ and the consequential heavy psychological toll.
‘I would like for viewers to gain a better understanding of what life feels like in the closet,’ he said. ‘I also hope they’ll reflect upon their own lives and think about falsehoods that might be holding them back.’
He added, ‘So many of the social norms we’ve been taught are rooted in discrimination, and so many young people are taught to feel ashamed of who they are, raised to believe that “there’s something wrong with them,” that “they’re not normal” or “not who they should be.” Those types of lies are really destructive, which is why they must be exposed and debunked.’
The other two winning films, See Me In My Black Skin and Love Reset, also dive into the problematic concept of masculinity, but explore it through the lens of race.
They will be out in October and November respectively.
Reported by Gay Star News