The Empathy Gap:
In The Bro Code and Generation M, filmmaker Thomas Keith examined how American culture bombards young men with sexist and misogynistic messages. In The Empathy Gap, he looks more closely at the ways these messages short-circuit men's ability to empathize with women, respect them as equals, and take feminism seriously. Keith begins by exploring some of the key messages about manhood that boys absorb from the culture -- that they should acquire material wealth, meet conflict with aggression, harden themselves, suppress all human emotion except anger, and view women primarily as sexual objects -- then argues that these messages not only devalue women but also undercut men's innate capacity for caring and empathy. Along the way, he draws fascinating parallels between sexism and racism, spelling out how each is rooted in cultural norms that discourage empathy, and shows how men who break with these norms live happier and healthier lives.
Features Jennifer Siebel-Newsom, Tony Porter, Michael Messner, Derrick Jensen, Kevin Powell, J.W. Wiley, Charlotte Watson, Eddie Moore Jr., C.J. Pascoe, Julia T. Wood, and others.
The Bro Code:
Filmmaker Thomas Keith, a professor of philosophy at California State University, Long Beach, provides an engrossing look at the forces in male culture that condition boys and men to dehumanize and disrespect women. Breaking down a range of contemporary media forms targeted explicitly at young men, Keith teases out the main maxims of "bro culture" and "the bro code," and examines how this seemingly ironic mentality reinforces misogyny and gender violence in the real world. Whether he's looking at movies and music videos that glamorize womanizing, pornography that trades in the brutalization of women, comedians who make fun of sexual assault, or the recent groundswell in men's magazines and cable TV shows that revel in reactionary myths of American manhood, the message Keith uncovers in virtually every corner of our "entertainment" culture is clear: that it's not only normal -- but cool -- for boys and men to control and humiliate women. Along the way, The Bro Code makes a powerful case that there's nothing normal, natural, or inevitable about this toxic ideal of American manhood, and challenges young people to fight back against the resurgent idea that being a "bro" -- and a man -- means glorifying sexism, bullying, and abuse.
Featuring interviews with Michael Kimmel, Robert Jensen, Shira Tarrant, J.W. Wiley, Douglas Rushkoff, Eric Anderson, and Neal King.
Despite the achievements of the women's movement over the past four decades, misogyny remains a persistent force in American culture. In this important documentary, Thomas Keith, professor of philosophy at California State University-Long Beach, looks specifically at misogyny and sexism in mainstream American media, exploring how negative definitions of femininity and hateful attitudes toward women get constructed and perpetuated at the very heart of our popular culture.
The film tracks the destructive dynamics of misogyny across a broad and disturbing range of media phenomena: including the hyper-sexualization of commercial products aimed at girls, the explosion of violence in video games aimed at boys, the near-hysterical sexist rants of hip-hop artists and talk radio shock jocks, and the harsh, patronizing caricatures of femininity and feminism that reverberate throughout the mainstream of American popular culture.
Along the way, Generation M forces us to confront the dangerous real-life consequences of misogyny in all its forms - making a compelling case that when we devalue more than half the population based on gender, we harm boys and men as well as women and girls.
Featuring interviews with gender violence prevention educators Byron Hurt, Jackson Katz, and Jean Kilbourne.