A caution sign reads, “Warning: this film contains scenes of graphic and extreme violence, coarse language and partial nudity” was displayed for moviegoers seeing “Tough Guise 2,” a film sponsored by the Boise State Women’s Center in partnership with the Gender Studies Club and Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society last Thursday, Feb. 6.
But the film was much more than a coarse display of provocation.
Detailing the hyper-masculinity and aggression that has permeated American culture for the last century or so, “Tough Guise 2” recognized the role media plays in coverage of violent shootings, gun culture and political discourse. It illustrated how media portrayals factor into men’s real-life attitudes about violence and male identity.
“It really changes the way I look at being a guy,” said Dan Morgan, peer educator at the Women’s Center. “This just really made me stand back and look at what I want to teach my kids later on. I don’t want them to have this hyper-masculinity.”
Morgan explained that he fears media exposure creates unrealistic perceptions of reality that are harmful to young developing minds.
“I don’t want them to live that life and be constantly surrounded by violence. I want them to be happier, more in-tune with who they truly are instead of (acquiring) that ‘tough guise,’” Morgan said.
Graduate student Miguel Lopez of Alpha Phi Sigma also attended the screening. Lopez said he does his part to help make sure the current ideology surrounding masculinity is not propagated any further.
“One of the things I’ve been specifically asked about is Robin Thicke’s song, ‘Blurred Lines,’” Lopez said. “The entire graduate program pretty much knows that it is a song that I pretty much won’t tolerate. One of the things we’re more focused on in the criminal justice system are misogynistic-type (cases), when you’re talking about sexual assault and rape culture.”
Kate Steven, program coordinator at the Women’s Center, recognized what men and women can do to reduce the effects of media influences that relay a message of fear and un-political correctness.
“For me, it’s about starting the conversation when you’re watching movies or television shows, or when someone says, ‘That’s so gay’ or something to that effect,” Steven said.
According to Steven, the conversations also include the effects of using the words “fag” or “pussy,” words that insinuate a notion of how ideal men should act.
“It’s about saying, ‘That’s not OK,’” Steven said.
Steven said “Tough Guise 2” is about looking deep within ourselves, man or woman, and finding the person we really want to be.
“I think it’s really important to realize that the Women’s Center isn’t just for women, it’s for everybody,” Steven said. “We want to talk about masculinity; we want to talk about pressures, not just violence against women perpetrated by men, but how men are affected by all these representations.”