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The Mask You Live In – Press Release

By February 9, 2016October 21st, 2016Press Releases



Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s Look at How Phrases Like “Be a Man” Can Negatively Impact Male Youth Lands on Digital HD & DVD From Virgil Films in March


New York, NY (February 9, 2016) As a society, are we failing our boys? That is the essential question that is explored in THE MASK YOU LIVE IN, a powerful new film about how notions of masculinity are instilled in American boys –sometimes to their lasting detriment. This thought-provoking and important film arrives on digital HD, video on demand and DVD from Virgil Films on March 8, 2016.

“The three most destructive words that every man receives when he was a boy is when he’s told to ‘be a man,’ ” says coach and former NFL player Joe Ehrmann, one of the many people – psychologists, teachers, mentors and others – who offer valuable insights in THE MASK YOU LIVE IN. How the pressure has warped many boys’ and young men’s views of themselves and how they get along – or don’t – with others is at the heart of this film by writer-director-producer Jennifer Siebel Newsom, creator of the acclaimed Miss Representation, which was about the portrayal of women in the media.

Her enlightening new film draws on research showing that compared to girls, boys in the U.S. are more likely to be diagnosed with a behavior disorder, prescribed stimulant medications, fail out of school, binge drink, commit a violent crime or take their own lives. Part of that can be attributed to the incessant drumming into their minds damaging ideas about masculinity.

THE MASK YOU LIVE IN follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s limited definition of masculinity. Pressured by the media, their peer groups and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify women and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men.

Experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education and media also weigh in, offering empirical evidence of the “boy crisis” and tactics to combat it. THE MASK YOU LIVE IN ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.

An Official Selection at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, THE MASK YOU LIVE IN has been widely praised. “The film shames modern culture’s strict adherence to stereotypes, with a particularly strong condemnation of the short, heavily-gendered phrases that have become unfortunate staples of our language,” said Jonathan Wells of The Telegraph. Sara Bliss of Yahoo! wrote, “The film is powerful, exploring how common phrases like ‘be a man,’ ‘be tough,’ ‘don’t be a pussy,’ a win-at-all-costs sports culture, violent video games, and lack of emotional vocabulary, is encouraging boys to repress their emotions.”


Press Contact:

Stacey Cusack

Daniela Sapkar

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DVD, Digital, VOD release: March 8, 2016
Running time: 90 minutes
Not rated

Virgil Films

Author Virgil Films

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