The question of “What makes a man?” is present and the central theme of this fascinating documentary directed by Jennifer Seibel Newsom. It chronicles the cultural standards of what it means to be a man, but before that, a boy growing up in America. This has been one of the hot button topics over the last few years in the social studies of people in America and it presents some often questionable perspectives on what’s right and wrong, but manages to vear in a direction that bring up an even more substantial point that is worth debating later on.
As I mentioned, I wasn’t sure I was going to buy into what this documentary had planned on telling me, but while it starts off as a sugary sermon of new age thinking it will reveal where you are in the debate of what makes a man and what is good for our boys growing up to become a great man in the long run. Like most good documentaries it is oozing with facts – which are always worth confirming after viewing – that may startle or reaffirm what you already knew.
The countless testimonies from all walks of life present a unique perspective on what is happening to our boys in public and private schools as well as the environments they tend to call home. We get former NFL players, inner city parents and children, to the more well off white family as a spread of who this affects, but I quickly realized their demographic and focus was on mostly one of those demographics, the lower income families of color. This presented something for me that I was hoping would have been more evenly distributed through different groups of young boys and their families, but it showed us exactly what we needed to see.
Expect more documentary reviews soon and please suggest some documentaries worth reviewing
After taking in about 45 minutes of the documentary I soon realized this isn’t about the standards of what makes a man, but in fact how we are affecting the standards of what makes us male as a whole. Men are in a shift of roles as are women which is creating a different dynamic for both genders entirely. The harsh reality of this documentary isn’t merely to repeat the expressions such as; “You’re a pussy” “Be a man” “What are you gay?” or things of that nature, but in fact the lack of male role models for these young boys across the board. It’s an epidemic that has plagued our country for as long as most of us can remember and it’s sad, but this documentary shares how valuable a man in the life of boys are and the consequences of not having a male figure in a boy’s life.
I would hope one day this director or someone else could make a female version of this documentary in order for us to compare and contrast what is happening to the children of this nation and what we can do to better them as well as bring up a group of boys can show the emotions they feel as well as preserve the kindhearted nature of what it means to really be a man for your family and friends.