Without a doubt, documentaries are an effective educational tool that depicts real-life challenges and stories on film. A documentary film can offer a distinct viewpoint on the world that can alter the way we perceive it.
The US Embassy Ghana and Mobile hosted a screening and discussion of the documentary THE MASK YOU LIVE IN (directed by Siebel Newsom) as a part of the Shifting Blame Series initiative, which aims to reduce gender-based violence, on February 17, 2023. The film dissects the idea of masculinity, removing layers upon layers of pressures and expectations with the help of an amazing ensemble that includes neurologists, psychologists, academics, child advocates, and philosophers.
Educators from Ga East Municipality, Adenta Municipality, and La Nkwantanang Madina Municipal Assembly as well as interns from The Ark Foundation, participated in this film screening and discussion event to learn about the detrimental effects that our culture’s narrow definition of masculinity is having on our boys, men, and society as a whole and to discuss what can be done to salvage the issue.
The themes tackled in the movie:
- The notion of masculinity
- Learned behavior
- How emotions feed aggression
- Our Responsibility
The Mask You Live In documentary provided information, statistics and first-person testimonies of boys and young men caught in the emotionally demoralizing trap of a toxic masculinity created by society.
The documentary indeed challenged the participants’ assumptions, fostered empathy, and increased understanding about the peculiar needs of young boys. There are several methods that educators may use to fight toxic masculinity.
The discussion segment of the film screening event sparked an interesting conversation between the moderator, Florence Toffa, the director of Mobile Web Ghana, and the educators who were key participants of the event.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that teachers need to be more empathetic in order to be able to ask boys and children the proper questions and get the responses you’re looking for”, a participant’s perspective after viewing the film.
Another remarked, “I’ve learnt that no child is useless, so I won’t push any youngster away”
Others said that “we need to get down to the level of being in these lads’ shoes and have a listening ear toward young males”
What a fantastic initiative it was for the US Embassy Ghana and Mobile Web Ghana to screen the movie and have a conversation about it, as it helped these teachers who are change-makers in our society rethink their perspectives about the definition of masculinity. By engaging in frank dialogues about the dangers of toxic masculinity such as this ,these educators can encourage students to recognize the limitations and misconceptions of society’s gender ideals.