Friday, April 30, 2010

Documentary - An Emasculating Truth

This film comes from Documentary Heaven, a great source for all things documentary. While the film begins with a look at the decline in the male hormone, testosterone, in American men, it goes beyond that to ask some good questions about what it means to be a man.

My sense is that masculinity is in transition from older models that are no longer relevant or useful to a more evolved version that matches the current life conditions. But that need not include a decline in testosterone and masculine physicality. Through good health and exercise, we can maintain our hormone levels even while we become more emotionally and spiritually mature.

According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, testosterone is declining in American men at the alarming rate of one percent a year. But why? That’s what Casey Neistat and Oscar Boyson sought to uncover in their film An Emasculating Truth.

Ultimately, the short film goes beyond this question to further the current dialogue about today’s definition of masculinity in light of changing gender roles. Boyson, the film’s producer and on camera emcee, came to some very personal conclusions about what it means to be a man today, turning the camera on himself and asking the question ‘what does it mean to be a man?’

“Masculinity isn’t something people think about often,” said Boyson. “Our goal was to find a cross-section of people and ask them, what does being a man mean to you? This is an issue where there isn’t much middle ground and we wanted to find out why.”

The facts speak for themselves. Men suffered more than their fair share of lay-offs in the past year (80 percent to be exact), so much so that women now outnumber men in the work force for the first time in history. Women also outnumber men in higher education at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with nearly 60 percent of grad school enrollees being women.

Boys – our future men – are failing out of high school at alarming rates, 4.9 percent versus 3.8 percent of girls, and are being diagnosed with ADHD at rates three times higher than that of their female counterparts. In short, manhood is in peril … or at least going through a pretty significant transformation on its way to the new future state.

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