The HeForShe club screened The Mask You Live In on Wednesday, October 11 at the Freida Brown Student Center. The 2015 award-winning documentary film was written, directed, and produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, to discuss identity based on gender and in particular, masculinity.
In the documentary, boys and young men struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating the narrow definition of masculinity. Though the film explores what Ms. Newsom perceived to be harmful notions of masculinity in the American culture, “There are many similarities available in our African societies,” noted HeForShe Club Secretary Miss Joy Nyokabi.
According to Ms. Nyokabi, the club’s agenda is to hold discussions around movies and documentaries related to gender and depicting real life situations as experienced by men and women in African society.
The screening was followed by a brief discussion facilitated by Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Ngure Wa Mwachofi and basketball coach Harrison Kaudia, which explored masculinity in Africa in relation to gender roles, careers, sports as well as emotional intelligence.
The audience mainly composed of male students and members of the rugby team, exchanged perspectives in relation to individual experiences connected with the concept of masculinity. Such examples as “Man up! You throw like a girl! Be a man and stop those tears!” were provided as evidence of the increased pressure on boys and young men in our societies, to hide their emotions, “grab a mask” and ultimately distort their true identity.
Initiated by UN Women in September 2014, HeForShe is a 1.5 million-member movement that invites “people around the world to stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality.”
Film explores notions of masculinity
- Written by By Antonio Longangi