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TOUGH GUISE (Original 82 Minute Version)
TOUGH GUISE (Original 82 Minute Version)

82 minutes, 1999
Producer: Media Education Foundation, Director: Sut Jhally
DISCONTINUED but you can find this title at the Media Education Foundation website.

Tough Guise is the first film aimed at a general student audience to analyze masculinity as a social construction, a performance, or role, in short, a tough guise. Jackson Katz, a former all star football player and pre-eminent gender violence prevention trainer, takes us on a harrowing tour of contemporary masculinity using stunning imagery chosen from a broad range of popular culture. Tough Guise extends the feminist critique of gender developed over the past thirty years to men?s most intimate experiences of themselves.

Tough Guise focuses attention on the overwhelming, but largely overlooked statistical correlation between violent crime and gender in our society ?usually over 90% male ? and argues that as a result ?masculinity should be designated as a public health hazard.? Katz identifies several disturbing cultural developments over the last 30 years he thinks are responsible for the current alarming epidemics of date rape, domestic violence and high school massacres as in Littleton, Colorado. For example, he singles out hyper-violent male icons like Rocky, Rambo and Terminator, overt feminist bashers like Howard Stern, Andrew Dice Clay and Rush Limbaugh and the increasing celebration of male violence in professional sports, action games and slasher films. He relates these to a male backlash against women?s economic and social gains, gay liberation and even America?s perceived defeat in the Vietnam War, all of which threatened traditional assumptions of male supremacy.

Katz links violence to an American society he accuses of constructing masculinity around domination and violence. At the same time, he points to developments in popular culture, which are presenting more positive versions of masculinity with room for vulnerability and interdependence. These include celebrities like Garth Brooks, Christopher Reeve, Mark McGwire and QTip from ?A Tribe Called Quest,? and recent hit movies like The Full Monty, Saving Private Ryan, Good Will Hunting and Boyz in the Hood. Tough Guise is a powerful new tool for media literacy, mass communications and gender studies as well as campus student services and violence prevention programs. It is rare that a film will cause every viewer, male as well as female, to look at masculinity with a critical eye.


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