The Mask You Live In (2015) and the American Idea of Masculinity - Essay Sample

Date:  2021-06-22 21:18:36
3 pages  (592 words)
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The Mask you live in is a documentary that reveals that many American boys and men put on a mask on a daily basis so as to fit in the American idea of masculinity. The American idea of masculinity alludes that boys and men should not show their feelings. According to the American idea of masculinity, boys and men should always act tough and should not make decisions based on emotions. From a young age, boys are urged not to show their feelings, not to cry and not to allow people to disrespect them. The society encourages boys from a young age to be irrational, not to allow women to influence their decisions and so forth. Boys are urged to be promiscuous as a sign of masculinity. The documentary suggests that the American society has created an idea of masculinity that does not allow young boys to feel secure in their masculinity. For boys to fit in peer groups, they have to posture the same way that other boys in the groups are posturing. The paper critically examines the American idea of masculinity and its effects on mental and emotional health.

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In my view, from a very young age, boys are taught that they need to put on a mask that exudes masculinity so as to fit in the American society. I am certain that the mask is used to conceal anger, pain, and emotions. The mask urge young boys not to value relationships, not to be caring and not to be empathetic. The mask urges young boys and men to always look for trouble so that they may prove their masculinity. Aggression revealed by young boys could be out of pressure to reveal ones masculinity. The mask that many young boys and men wear makes them susceptible to developing mental health problems. Apparently, boys who wear the mask appear confident, but on the inside, they suffer from loneliness. Suicide ideation is a major problem associated with putting on the mask. The American idea of masculinity urges young boys to man and demand for respect using violence. My opinion would be to encourage young boys to be true and honest with true selves and not to put on a mask for the sake of pleasing their peers. The masks that many young boys wear are likely to deter them from living fulfilling lives as adolescents and adults.

My viewpoint is that the media plays a major role in constructing gender norms in the society. The media has created stereotypes that an ideal man should exude masculinity. As a result, young boys and men continue to engage in violence and self-destructive behaviors so as to live up to the ideal of a real man. The media has created a stereotype that a real man is a violent, masculine and macho. Young boys are compelled by social pressure to mold their character into a way that fits the medias portrayal of a real man. Many males engage in violence as a form of showing their masculinity and proving to their peers how masculine they are. Many males who engage in violence are not necessarily violent, but they engage in violence so that they can prove to society that they are masculine and man enough. I believe that its high time that the United States society overhauls its idea of masculinity so as to stop young boys from engaging in self-destructive behaviors that have negative effects on their mental and emotional health.

Work Cited

Newsom, Siebel, Jennifer. The Mask You Live In: Documentary. 2015. Video.

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