May 30

Blog #98 – Media Images for Women and Toxic Masculinity

So, we watched Tough Guise 2, a searing film on our toxic masculinity culture, and Killing Us Softly 4, a strong indictment about advertising’s impact on women and girls’ bodies and self-esteem.

Tough Guise 2 doesn’t say that every man is violent, acts as gender police, or strikes a cool pose modeled after black urban images.  But it does talk about the epidemic of violence that is conducted by men (77% – 99% of aggravated assault, armed robbery, murder, domestic violence, and rape), and discusses how men are the victims of this violence.  Fathers and older males can perpetuate the tough persona by trying to make us tougher or not show emotions in public in order to avoid feeling shame.  Men of color are stuck in media stereotypes as well (whether it’s Bruce Lee, Latinos, or Native Americans).  One of the things that the film stated was that this latest emphasis on masculinity was that it’s a sign of a culture in retreat, that white males are experiencing more and more economic insecurity and becoming the victims of a p.c. culture and expanding rights for women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks.  This kind of explains the spread of “bum fights” and attacks on gay people, but not completely.  What is needed, according to the film maker, Jackson Katz, is a less narrow definition of masculinity, one that includes women (see Jack Myers’ article), and also shows a multi-varied and accurate representations of men in media.


Killing Us Softly 4 examines the way media and advertising influence women and girls and normalize what is desirable and accepted (thin, white, blond) even in other countries.   What these images do is promote the idea that women and girls must live up to a flawless image, one that can be assembled by computers or trimmed to fit the ideal if the real woman doesn’t measure up.  Some of these messages that media and advertising send is that women must be submissive, passive, and silent, and effortlessly perfect.  There’s also a huge emphasis on young people having sex, some ads bordering on pornographic.  Also, there’s the increasing sexualization of younger girls (see articles below).  With an increased exposure to these messages, girls are prone to eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem.  This has become a public health problem that needs to be solved.










Your questions:

  1. How do the two films crossover with their subject matter? Explain.
  2. How do both films focus on their issues as public health problems?
  3. Provide an explanation for at least one takeaway from each film.

Your blog comment should be at least 350 words total by Wednesday, May 31 by class. 



Author Jack Myers on Masculinity crisis in TIME, 2016 –

National Review‘s look at men dropping out of the workforce –

The American Psychological Association’s report on the Sexualization of Girls –

The Oversexualization of Young Girls –

What’s Wrong with the Media’s Portrayal of Women Today, and How to Reverse It –

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Posted May 30, 2017 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

70 thoughts on “Blog #98 – Media Images for Women and Toxic Masculinity

  1. Ian Birley

    The two videos talk about the portrayal of masculinity and femininity in media, and how it’s terrible and our society is terrible, supposedly. They crossover with talking about how what people see in media influences their view of the world. I can see how this can happen. However, the first video we watched, tough guise 2, was the most condescending, propagandizing, cherry picking piece of trash that I have ever witnessed in a classroom environment. That isn’t exaggeration. The distortion and misleading nature of the facts provided in the video along with the correlation without necessary causation makes me think that the author was begging the question the entire time.

    The first video says that, because of men are responsible for the majority of violent crime, we must change the meaning of masculinity to account for a relatively small amount of offenders. That is insane. The movie did not convince me whatsoever that masculinity as it is, is a bad thing. Instead, the movie showed me several clips from classic movies showing the antagonist being the antagonist, pinning the meaning of masculinity on those characters. The second movie focused on women’s portrayal in the media and how oversexualization in advertisement is an ad influence on society. I found that one to be a lot more reasonable as I can definitely say that I wouldn’t want anyone’s role model to be a Burger King advertisement. I don’t see anything wrong with a government penalizing businesses who mislead the public, and that’s exactly what the proposal is.

    I can’t take away anything from the first film. It was a pathetic excuse for a documentary; it felt more like propaganda, tearing at emotions and distorting facts, than an accurate portrayal of society and its problems. The idea of masculinity, being tough, strong, and self reliant, are inherently good traits to have. The good far outweighs the bad. From the second, I heard a lot of the same talking points that I have been for a while now, but I am not opposed to the penalization of these magazines as was proposed by the speaker.

  2. Hank Peters-Wood

    The two films we watched over the past few days, Tough Guise 2 and Killing Us Softly 4, talk about the problems posed through media, advertisements, modern culture, etc. in relation to labeling the proper way to look and act for a certain gender. For men, we see that it is necessary to be “tough”. In order to do this, men must be strong, like guns and violence, and have a nonchalant attitude towards women and many other things, while still being quite sexist, homophobic, etc. Fighting, sex, and other forms of violence are all “achievements” for the new definition of masculinity. Movies, TV, video games, advertisements, comic books, action figures, groups (like the boyscouts), and just the common culture all create the bad image for men in today’s world. This causes boys to feel the need to drop their sensitive, kind, and other good characteristics, in order to be “tough”. Just as this film shows how men have needed to become something different and bad in order to meet societies norms, the other film shows us that women face a similar problem, but more associated to image. Magazines, fashion, media, advertisements and more all place a pressure on women and young girls to be “perfect”. Though this is impossible, it creates the need to be super skinny but still have curves, have no wrinkling, blemishes, etc., have great hair,and to just have the perfect, beautiful body. Through photoshopped and virtually touched up photos (and layers of cosmetics), media makes models look as if they are perfect, and this sets an unhealthy standard for a women’s body size. Just as the first film showed how culture promotes violence in men, the second film shows how culture promotes vulnerability and weakness to women, this is a dangerous duo. Ads and media also sexualize women, which promotes the idea that women are objects, not people. Both films show that media and common culture today promote dangerous standard for men and women, whether it is image or way to act. Also, the two films show how this can affect public health. By being exposed to violence everywhere, and by society accaprting it, men are much more likely to develop dangerous mental illnesses and act upon terrible actions. The exposure of all this violence and the way society accepts it makes men feel like it is ok to do violent things. For women, the way fashion and media has portrayed the woman body has caused people to try to mimic it. This has led to many mental health issues, like depression (due to lack of success at being perfect) and multiple eating disorders (because people are trying to obtain the “perfect” body). Both genders are in a society that puts pressure on becoming something unnatural and sometimes dangerous. For the first film, one of my takeaways is that society needs to stop accepting violence and “masculine” norms. Homophobia and sexism are unacceptable, whetcher it is used towards somebody of those groups or towards someone else for not being “tough”. Also, society needs to stop labeling things such as guns and fighting as manly, or we will continue to have boys shaping into violent men. These issues have happened for a long time, but I believe if ads and media stop portraying so much vivid violence as cool, and society ceases to accept it as so, we can move on to being more compassionate people. For women, I believe that the “perfect” image needs to disappear. We know that that is impossible to achieve and that the pictures we see are all fake. If models were just normal women, everybody would be exposed to sometimhjng much more natural, and women wouldn’t feel the pressure to change who they are, especially in an unhealthy fashion. In order to do this, modeling agencies and fashion companies need to stop forcing models to be stick thin, they need to stop the unnecessary photoshop, and just use normal women for their work. If these changes were made, I believe our world would be a happier, safer place.

  3. Celia Crompton

    Both films try to explain the epidemic that is societal expectations for men and women and their (huge) negative impact on the general population. In Tough Guise, the montage of brutally violent scenes from popular movies like Fight Club and First Blood, while Killing Us Softly 4 also included scenes from popular advertisements that dehumanize women. Both of these films employed pop culture to show how effective it can be on the public’s thinking. A main idea of both films is how media is the number 1 influencer of the masculine or feminine physique. Both also talk about the other side briefly, and how media effects everyone’s behavior, buying habits, etc. Tough Guise focuses on toxic masculinity as a public health problem because he believes it causes men to resort to violence and guns and deters them from dealing with “sensitive” issues like PTSD and depression. He links these ideas to stats like how men commit most violent crimes and shootings. These are very clearly public health problems in most people’s opinions. Killing Us Softly links eating disorders like anorexia, sexual violence, objectification and other common public health issues facing women each day to the nature of the ads and media, like how supermodels, the epitome of beauty, are commonly anorexic or photo shopped to meet standards and then portrayed as real women. In Tough Guise, I found myself more acutely aware of the issues and boundaries that men face every day in being emotional, sensitive, compassionate, and beautiful. They are conformed to a small box where they are expected to be a “tough guy “or else they’re a loser. I definitely will be more of an advocate for men’s rights and their right to have feelings and ideas of beauty for themselves. As for Killing Me Softly, I know I will be more careful the next time I find myself being jealous of a seemingly perfect, TALL model. I will also refrain from buying misogynistic branding items and companies. I will also try to help generations of girls younger than me be the same way. I definitely took away a new passion for being a women in any shape or form and making sure other women feel comfortable in their own skin as well.

  4. Jason Schumacher

    1. In the second film towards the end, the women speaker talks about how men act like, and how media forces a tough guy voice that doesn’t let men show their “soft” side. Something that the 1st film focused on completely. And another point that the second movie “Killing us Softly 4” focused on is the role that women play in ads, and in media is the soft type that cannot defend them self’s this was focused less on the movie “Tough Guise”, but still served as a second-hand point in the film.

    2. In the “Tough Guise” film the point made that most problems that affect others (i.e. mass shooting, rape, murder, thievery) are caused predominantly by men. So far to stop this problem men are not made to stop, instead of women are taught how to protect themselves from men cannot handle this problem themselves. in the second film “Killing us softly” the speaker talks about how women are trying to make themselves look like the magazine pictures of women in which are airbrushed to “perfection”, and as some women do this the could die of anorexia, and other conditions. The speaker suggests that magazines should be forced to use real, and un-photoshopped models that way women won’t be made to feel bad about themselves when they see the so-called “perfect” looking woman that they don’t match up to with beauty.

    3. In the first video, I have found that most of all men are evil violent scumbags that roam this earth and if any guy that shows one bit of their “feminine” side will be ground to a pulp, or beaten severally. Most men are controlled by this and to prove that they are “real men” they go out to gang rape a woman or commit mass murder. When I saw that in the video I was completely astonished how much it happens and how much I have witnessed this happen (very few times close to none). I am not trying to make this seem larger than the speaker was trying to put it, but this is how he was putting it. he blew everything up to size not just so we could see the problems (including “toxic masculinity”) but so we could feel it breathing down my own neck. I am not saying there are some people who have “toxic masculinity”, but what I am saying it is like the nucleus compared to an atom in the whole where the nucleus is 10000X smaller. In the second movie, the problems are much more realistic and I can see where the speaker is coming from and how to solve the problem. At first I was thinking that it wasn’t realistic because of things like Americas obesity problem and others like it, then I went to thinking that most women don’t try to thin themselves so much that they literally disappear and that most women today follow celebrity’s Instagram’s and want to look like them with their looks (big bits like the Kardashians). After a little while, the speaker did touch upon most of my questions in mind. Even though some of the ads that were shown were somewhat rare in magazines the speaker did not explain how showing a mostly unclothed woman in a magazine is a risky move for their company.

    sorry for posting this in class my internet at home was being “repaired” by Comcast and this is the only class that (other than English) that I have the internet in school.

    I still don’t know why we can see some of the worst parts of saving Pvt. Ryan and quite a bit of inappropriate pictures, but still not be able to watch Saving Pvt. Ryan.

  5. Lizzie P

    1.) Both films, Tough Guise and Killing Us Softly, examine the different stereotypes that each gender is expected to be like. Tough Guise talks about how most violence is done by men. A possible reason for this could be the stereotype that men face in which they must be tough, emotionless, and manly. Men are seen as soft if they back down from a fight or even cry. There is this whole patriarchal ideology in which being a man is about being tough. On the other hand, the film Killing Us Softly talks about the “ideal” image of a woman. Many advertisements show this ideal and unrealistic woman (blonde, blue eyes, tall, and thin). Many girls feel insecure and are pressured to get thinner and thinner and thinner. Eating disorders and self-esteem issues are becoming more and more common. The two films crossover as they both express a stereotype that each gender is expected to live up to. If they don’t measure up to this, then it affects them mentally and socially.

    2.) Each film reflects a public health problem. Tough Guise reflects on the issue of toxic masculinity and how this can affect violence. Many men fight or act violently to feel tough. The issue is that men commit 77-99% of violent crimes. Something needs to be done. The film shows how the media spreads this belief (with clips from movies, ads, etc.) and also shows statistics to prove his point. The second film, Killing Us Softly, also addresses public health problems. With the stress of looking like the perfect girl comes an increase in self esteem issues, eating disorders, and depression. This film also stresses pornographic ads, which can influence rape or men taking control of women and viewing them as objects instead of people. Many ads were shown in this film that promote the idea that a girl must be perfect and others were shown sexualizing females.

    3.) I really enjoyed both films. I thought they were very interesting and I had never studied those topics in depth before. Tough Guise was extremely surprising to me. I had no idea that so many more males commit crimes than females. I didn’t realize how big of an issue toxic masculinity is. While I had been more aware about the issues expressed in Killing Us Softly, I never realized how many ads are out there that stress being perfect. It was shocking to me to hear that ad companies can use many features from various girls and morph them together into one perfect girl. It would be interesting to hear how Instagram or other forms of social media affect the “ideal” image of a woman. Overall, I found both films to be really well done. The evidence used in each film helped get the point across easily and both speakers were clear and easy to understand.

  6. Ethan P

    1. The films cross over in subject matter as they both discuss the faults of modern society and their effects on men and women. “Tough Guise” was centered more strictly on how the modern, societal standard for men has created a barrier between what men feel and what society wants them to do. For example, men are often told that crying or showing emotion isn’t “manly” and that they shouldn’t show emotion. This, of course, is not healthy, which is exemplified by men accounting for ninety percent of all suicide cases, two thirds of which are by guns. “Killing Us Softly” was focused more on how advertising’s malpractices often result in societal changes of what to expect from women, often forcing women into an impossible mold. For example, many supermodels that people see as attractive are not as attractive as they appear; their appearances have either been altered by computers or they lead unhealthy lifestyles (like anorexia) in order to keep their “perfect appearance.” These ads change women’s view of what their body should be, and creates self-esteem and self-image issues. Both films, by nature, delve into the psychological aspects of how what we perceive in our lives can negatively alter how we view who we should be.

    2. Both films talk about the psychological effects of modern society on men and women. “Tough Guise,” as I previously mentioned, talked about how men can be driven to depression and maybe even suicide because they do not fell as if they fulfill the requirements of being a man. They may also take their frustration with society out on society itself, as best exemplified by cases of mass shootings (like at Sandy Hook Elementary School). “Killing Us Softly” discussed more about conventional public health when it explored eating disorders. It talked about how many fashion companies expect too much of their models, and as a result of which, cause eating disorders. Because these women are paraded around the media as being beautiful, many women feel as if they do not fit what society expects, and therefore also turn to eating disorders. This creates a problem because what is considered the “healthy” body is far from what it is admired for being. In class, someone mentioned how people might see someone with an eating disorder and compliment them on their lifestyle, incorrectly assuming that the person has a healthy lifestyle, which will only feed the disorder more. These and other examples show how both films discusses public health.

    3. For “Tough Guise,” I have a hard time finding any real takeaways based on how the film was set up. Both films successfully argued their opinion, but “Tough Guise,” ironically, felt as if it were being hostile in its delivery of the information, almost as if Jackson Katz didn’t want anyone to disagree with him. It also cherry picked its data to support its claim, which led it losing its sense of credibility. And, while I understand that the overall message was that not all men enact violence, but most violence is enacted by men, it never overtly mentioned that. Throughout the film, I got the sense like Katz was trying to paint men as a time bomb for violence, and then blame society for creating the time bomb. The film also used a false logic in some of its arguments, like when it mentioned that domestic violence should be a men’s issue as most domestic violence is committed by men, and that men should be taught not to be domestically abusive. I can say through personal experience of talking to someone who was abusive in relationships (this person is not someone who I’m related to or have lived with) that this simply is not true. The person knew that all of his abuses were wrong, and knew that he was going to be looked down upon for his actions, but did them anyways. So the issue of domestic violence isn’t as simple as just educating against violence.
    On the topic of “Killing Us Softly,” this film did a much better job explaining its position and offering rational logic than “Tough Guise.” One takeaway that I got from this film was that the media has a negative impact on people’s perceptions of themselves. Before watching this film, I was aware of how people could get depression or eating disorders from wanting to be skinnier, I just simply didn’t know that the overall source of the problem was from the media.

  7. Michael Wainer

    1. These films both cross over in their use of discussion of the media. Both Tough Guise 2 and Killing Us Softly Part 4 tend to talk about the issues that are caused by the media. Tough Guise 2 talks about toxic masculinity. They describe how video games and movies create a culture of violence among boy. They create an expectation of toughness that leads to the mass amount of violence committed by men. Killing Us Softly Part 4 complains about how the media has created the perfect woman, and women have to struggle to live up to this ideal. In the end, I felt that both movies had a very narrow focus and failed to consider other factors of the issues other than the ones that helped to support their claims.

    2. Both movies focus on the public health issues of their respective topics, but approach them differently. Tough Guise talks about how men negatively affect society through Toxic Masculinity. It describes how the way men are currently raised causes them to be a threat to the rest of society. It talks about the high rates of murder, rape and all violent crime that is caused by men. It says that violence needs to be described as a male problem rather than just a problem as it is now. In this movie the public health issue is what the men cause to the public. Killing Us Softly Part 4 talks about the victimization of women by the media. It says that the standard created by the ideal image negatively affects girls because the body types seen in pop culture generally only apply to around 5% of the population. This causes an increase in the most common mental disorders of women (depression, eating disorders, and low self-esteem) because they have unrealistic expectations that they can never reach. In this case the public health issue is the mental health, which can eventually lead to physical health problems.

    3. In the first film we watched I had mostly negative takeaways. I would like to explain why I feel that toxic masculinity is the main reason that violence occurs. I feel that the video did not take into consideration the other factors that lead to violent situations. It did not mention thing like mental health, bullying, or the household the boys grew up in. Because of lack of evidence for these factors I feel that it is unfair to support the conclusion of Toxic Masculinity. The second film I felt was mostly positive, however I did have one negative takeaway. I disagreed when the narrator said that it’s a problem when people feel that they must exercise in order to eat junk food. I feel that in order to maintain a healthy weight and overall lifestyle one must exercise. If you eat a lot of junk food you are going to have to exercise more to maintain that lifestyle because of the simple formula of energy in energy out. This makes exercise a critical factor in health and life and should not be seen as a bad thing.

  8. Jordan L

    1. How do the two films crossover with their subject matter? Explain.
    In the films “Tough Guise 2” and “Killing Us Softly” they have very similar subject matter. The two films cross over when blaming the cause of the conflict, which in both films is the media. In Tough Guise 2, the film talks about how media like the news, video games, and movies influence men and boys to become violent and desensitized. These videos and games portrait men and boys to act as tough and stoic as possible. Movies like “Fight Club” and “Rambo” are good examples of this since they involve characters with no emotion and are addicted to fighting and shooting guns. Overall, the film says that the media can be highly contributed to the significant amount of murder and violence committed by men. In Killing Us Softly, The film explains how media like magazines are also creating bad expectations. Magazines are taking almost genetically perfect women and men putting them on the cover of magazines. Even though these women are near perfectibility, magazines still edit and Photoshop these pictures which creates an unreal expectation for women. These edited images on the cover of magazines cause women to have problems like depression, eating disorders, and low self-esteem. In conclusion, the two films used the majority of the time to accuse media of their issues but I think there are other causes that pertain to these problems.

    2. How do both films focus on their issues as public health problems?
    Both films focus on their issues as public health problems, but they process them differently. In Tough Guise 2, the film talks about how toxic masculinity is affecting public health problems. The film includes that through video games and movies that men are made violent and unemotional which make them a threat to society. The film also states that most violent crimes are contributed by men, especially rape, sexual assault, and murder. Additionally the movie highlights that these conflicts that occur are not a problem with society but a problem with men and how they are programed. In Killing Us Softly, the film emphasizes how women as a whole are being victimized through unrealistic expectations on magazine covers. These high standards force women to come down with mental issues which can lead to physical issues. In this situation, the issue displayed in this film is causing public health problems through unrealistic standards which force a ton of women in to anorexia.

    3. Provide an explanation for at least one takeaway from each film.
    In Tough Guise 2, I had several takeaways. One takeaway that I had was that the movie failed to cover other causes to the the high rate of violence caused by men in America. I wanted the move to mention that this high crime rate could be contributed to how the boy was raised or if any mental illness was involved. Additionally, the film didn’t give any evidence to support that the media was causing the issues with crime involving men even though before movies or video games were made, men are the majority of crime. Lastly, I think that it is unfair that the film didn’t consider that men are more genetically violent than women. So overall, I cannot agree with the idea of toxic masculinity in Tough Guise 2. In Killing Us Softly, I had several takeaways too. Firstly, I think that the film failed to accurately cover that the same issues were happening with men too. The film did say that the act of putting a unrealistic image in front of men is different than women, however they didn’t give a good explanation on why. Also, I believe that the filmed failed to acknowledge the thought that maybe women can be a lot more emotional than men which can cause the mental issues discussed in the video.

  9. Ny'dea Terrell

    1. How do the two films crossover with their subject matter? Explain.

    Within the first film we watched, “Tough Guise 2”, its focal point was men’s violence and how the media portrays it. When women commit a crime, their gender is always proclaimed by the media. Notwithstanding when they report a crime committed by a man, it is always stated as “the suspect” or “the perpetrator”, but their gender is never mentioned. If they were to include that in the report, many citizens would begin to notice that the majority of crimes are being committed by men. For example 86% of armed robberies and 99% of rapes are committed by men. There is no shortage of statistics that prove that men are perpetrate against others compared to women. Thus has been a reaction to men feeling as if their masculinity is being swept away, so this is their form of retaliation. Despite all that men have done and continue to do women are still in the spotlight and not for all positive reasons. In the film “Killing Us Softly 4”, women are constantly being ridiculed if they do not have the look of an “ideal woman”. Models must have petite frames, according to their bosses, and not even some of the top models can achieve that. If they do not contain the look the company is looking for, photoshop is used. Women are expected to act in a pure way, but also in a sexualized manner in some situations at the same time. If a woman acts to pure she is too uptight, but if she is showing behavior of too much sex appeal, she is to be disgraced. Men can model in a risqué fashion, but not receive any form of ridicule. Many of the requirements to be a perfectly looking women, have caused low self-esteem, eating disorders, and many other symptoms in girls in the modern day. The overlapping similarity between these two films, is the need to ridicule women for the same actions as men. Both films recognize how men can easily be let off the hook for completing the same or sometimes worse behavior as women, and not receive any repercussions.

    2. How do both films focus on their issues as public health problems?

    In the film “Tough Guise 2”, when men commit a crime, the media always insist that it occurred, due to a mental problem. They excuse a crime, based on a presumed idea that has been imprinted into our brains. It could be proclaimed by reporters that a “suspected to suffer from a mental illness”, without being verified by a medical professional. In the our film “Killing Us Softly 4”, ads of women with hourglass figures that are only somewhat obtainable by fiver percent of the population. Women/girls who have seen these advertisements have driven themselves to attempting to look as models do. It has shaped our minds to the executives thoughts that you are not good enough if you can’t fit into a size less than a seven. This has caused many viewers to adopt qualities of low self-esteem, eating disorders, and body shaming. These viewers believe that it is better to let yourself deteriorate from the inside, which not only includes the fats in your body, but your own conscious, then to stick out and be yourself. We are teaching generations of women to stick to the status quo, which is not humanly achievable.

    3. Provide an explanation for at least one takeaway from each film.

    In the first film ,“Tough Guise 2”, left me with the end result thought that the media is built around protecting the image of men. There will be no way to eliminate the lack of no action to stop violence from men. When a woman commits a crime, she is seen as barbaric and needs to be reformed. But the media starts off with protecting the image of man, by making an excuse for them. I have learned that it all starts with media, because they control how and when the news will be shared. From the film, “Killing Us Softly 4”, I have learned to be cognizant of ads and how much I left them guide my decisions. I no longer think of the simple purpose of a commercial, but now I can read into it more. It has left me with the knowledge that the ad is not suppose to affect you economically persay, but psychology, which leads to economically. The more times I have viewed a commercial, the more susceptible I am to want to invest in that product.

  10. Nick Capinjola

    The two films focus on the way our media in this generation has grown to teach men and women the “normal” and right ways to live their lives. I’m my opinion the two films cross over when “Killing Us Softly” begins to share remarks about how media influences women to have the perfect body and sexual performance and in “tough guise” it shows how violence and gore in media teaches men to be hard and dominate. In Killing Us Softly they talk about advertisements objectify women to sell a product, and women feel they need to look like super models or they are not pretty, likewise in the other movie it talked about violence inspiring men to love the life of an alpha male, with no feelings. I think the bigger message from both films is that media in our current generation needs to be changed for the betterment of society and the health of our population.
    Both films claim this toxic use of media as a public health issue because it uses the incredibly receptive audiences and teaches our generation to conform to social norms or they will be an outlier or “weird”. In the first film the author and speaker presents specific evidence that shows that most violent crimes are committed by men, and almost all school shooters were men. This is all coming from the violence that we as men feel we need to conform to which we see in all outlets of media. Similarly for women, the second film talks about how models are getting skinnier and skinnier and America is at an all time high in eating disorders because of this social norm of being extremely skinny. To fix the unhealthy impressions which are made on us we need to fix the way media outputs social norms and messages to us.
    Even though I do not agree with most of the statements in both films I did take away one major point from the films. I learned that as a society we feel extremely obligated to align ourselves with someone or something we view as “good, perfect”. I feel that we need to all be our own person and not obsess over super models or pop stars. I personally feel o have done a good job of avoiding the preuse of being normal or fit in with the crowd. I like many of my peers I have different political views, some of which are much less common and looked at as bad by a large population of my generation. From the film and my former beliefs o truly believe that we as a society need to learn how to be our own person and not let media take such a large role in our lives.

  11. Davit Tran

    1. In Tough Guise and Killing Us Softly, both the films talk a large amount about the media portrayal of both men and women. In social media today, we see unrealistic standards of both men and women. Kids soak up this information the most and with advertisements that sexualize the women body, and advertisements that make men out to be violent, kids will try to their best abilities to imitate these unrealistic standards. Young girls grow up seeing magazine covers with 6ft, 90lbs models and try to mirror the exact same image, but we know it’s impossible. But to defy the impossible, many young teens especially female teenagers resort to starving themselves, which is an eating disorder and takes an unhealthy to your body. In advertisements, women are also represented as weak and submissive to males. This teaches young girls that they should be submissive and weak and never defend themselves. On the other hand, for boys, their advertisement is very macho alpha. Boys are taught to be violent either with guns, or even fans. Men aren’t overly sexualized, but they are overly “violenceized”. In games, movies, or any types of advertisements, we see the “macho” male, holding a beer in one hand and a gun in the other. Media like that teaches boys that you can and should only be like that. You can’t show emotion, weakness, or compassion. The film Tough Guise goes deep into how these influences cause men to be violent in their futures.
    2. In Tough Guise, the film goes more into more mental health issues like depression, loneliness, and violent tendencies. Like I said previously, kids soak up information like sponges and when they see men in Hollywood portraying characters like Rambo, Scarface, and Edward Norton (fight club actor) they want to be like them. These characters are violent and tend to shoot people for no reasons. In real life, it would be considered inhumane, but in film it is praised and wins awards. So when kids see these films, they become so intrigued with living up to their “heroes” that they start developing the characters characteristics. It takes them away from humanity and they start developing mental health problems like depression because they can’t be exactly like their heroes, or loneliness because they can’t fit in, and violent tendencies because that’s what their hero does. For girls, there is one issue that Killing Us Softly really focuses on. Girls grow up seeing “perfect” 90lb 6ft models and they strive to be those models. But because it is genetically impossible for some girls, they resort to starving themselves and developing eating disorders. These girls are told that there is only one desirable body type, and they strive for it. But once they don’t get the body type, the start developing more eating disorders, and depression. Both of the guys and girls have disorders and mental health issues that sometimes lead to suicide or inflicting pain on others.
    3. After watching Tough Guise, I realized how violent the media and film industries portray men and boys. Before I never came to that realization but when the film showed and grouped all the clips of men shooting and starting fights with people I realized how violent men are portrayed. For example, the film shows how games like Call of Duty fantasizes weapons and even partner up with actual gun manufactures. Gun companies partner up with Call of Duty to commercialize their “newest and greatest” guns for boys and men to buy it. Watching Killing Us Softly, I wondered if my sisters ever felt like the girls in the videos. I always knew that women were always over sexualized in the media, but the video showed me how they were also oppressed. In the film, the women in the advertisements would be bonded and bloodied and beaten. They were paid to act like children. This is to comply to the child pornography fetish that people have today.

  12. Jack Walt

    1. The films “Tough Guise 2” and “Killing Us Softly 4” relate to each other in a couple of ways. Both films expose the narrow portrayal in society of what it means to be a man and women. In Tough Guise, director Andrew Katz speaks on the culture created by sources of entertainment like movies. He explains that a chain of influence was created from these sources to groups of men and onto other men. As for Killing Us Softly, Jean Kilbourne projects many advertisements demeaning women. They project the image of what a perfect women should look like and we see this chain of influence in women, especially in young ladies. Also, both films discuss the significance of the media on these stereotypical images. Katz brings up the avoidance by the media to relate gender to violence, even though statistics show a much larger percentage of crime is committed by men than women. This lack of recognition somewhat lets the male gender off the hook for these bad deeds. The media, especially advertising goes one step further with women by putting images out there that are artificial and deceptive. Their sorry attempt to motivate women and entice men only makes women feel worse about themselves and accomplishes nothing.

    2. Tough Guise relates the statistic about men and violence as a problem for civilization. Katz pushes the idea that if the relation is addressed, the men who commit brutal crimes, including mass shootings, can be prevented. Killing Us Softly cites anorexia and suicide as a result of the deceptive advertising. She says that small steps, like including larger women in advertising and lessening the use of pornography, can go a long way in the mental and physical well being of women.

    3. It was an eye opening experience for me seeing all of those advertisements dehumanizing women. The language and pictures used were extremely disrespectful, yet I never noticed it until the film. I think that once emotional effects on women were explained, I understood the constant images that women have to see, reminding them that they are not perfect. Men simply don’t face this problem. The mass shooting statistic that showed over 90% were committed by men surprised me. I expected the number to be over half, but that large of a margin was shocking.

  13. geoffwickersham (Post author)

    The films are both separate in certain ways but also similar. The first film covered the idea of toxic masculinity when men are forced to hide their true emotions to fit into society. They also describe the problems of school shootings and how they can be prevented early on in life if we eliminated both violent video games and violent movies. The second films focuses on the marketing culture and how it’s detrimental to society since our focus is always absorbing ads. The second film also describes how people are forced to fit into social norms from ads that are phot shopped to perfection. This causes women to starve themselves and become depressed. These two films are very similar in a sense that they focus on problems of society. The first film does this by saying the problems caused by masculinity and how this causes a social barrier that everyone must fit in. The second film does this also by describing the problems created by ads that negatively affect women. Don’t get me wrong I think that their is a problem with women starving themselves and it’s not helping that the models are only getting skinnier but their are also other factors leading into this problem. Another similar issue both covered by the films are social norms. I covered this a little bit but the two films talk about how everyone is trying to fit in and the ads are affecting this as well as the idea of masculinity. Doing so the first film covers how guys always try and fit in and the same as seen in the second film only with women.
    The films both focus on public health when they describe the negative outcomes of ads and masculinity that cause problems Among the younger generations. The first film describes it as the cause of school shootings as guys try and be tough to fit in. The second film is similar but the problems women face when trying to fit in. The first problem women face is starvation which is created by adds that create the perfect women in which everyone strives to become. This then leads to a low self esteem and depression.
    One takeaway from the first film is how negatively society forces you to become “normal” and how these affects are hurting mass amounts of women. The second film I would takeaway how ads are also negatively affecting our society and how sexual they have been getting. I would also takeaway a something similar to the first video which is how society is attempting to create a perfect person with using photoshop which is negatively affecting our society.


  14. Tania Miller

    Turning in late because I was absent Wednesday and Thursday
    1. While Killing Us Softly focusses on the expectation that women need to look put together and perfect at all times and Tough Guise focusses on the expectation of masculinity from all men — both films have some similarities. For one they both focus on the gender and unnecessarily high expectations for both. Men are supposed to be “manly” at all times. They have to look the part by being super fit and muscly, and they have to act the part by always being ready to fight and being aggressive as a whole. Women are meant to look perfect at all times, with their hair done, heels on, and outfit polished as well as a skinny body. These expectations are unnatural and impossible. Another thing that makes the films similar is how media plays a big part in both genders. Films often depict men as these super strong men with deep voices and guns. This is not at all an accurate representation of men in real life. With women there are ads all over of models in swimsuits that are a size 0. This is displayed all over the world as the ideal image of what a woman should look like. Media influences men and women greatly. Men watch movies and think they have to look like the Rock or Zac Efron while women look at models like Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne and ridicule themselves when they don’t look like that. Men and women alike think they are ugly if they don’t look like the famous people do.
    2. In regard to women, because of the ads showing these stick thin models women — often teens — think they are too fat or too ugly. Many resort to anorexia while others get plastic surgery thinking that will make them more beautiful. It all comes from a place of self loathing. With men they become very violent. Men think that they aren’t cool unless they fight and are aggressive, so they resort to fighting others to prove their manliness. The other end is suicide, it isn’t often brought to light but over 90% of suicides are done by men. These men feel unworthy if they’re not manly enough and are often bullied to suicide.
    3. Provide an explanation for at least one takeaway from each film. From Tough Guise I learned that the over 90% of suicides are done by men. Its crazy to find this out because I feel like many don’t know this. We often see in the news or on social media about girls who have committed suicide but never boys. Its sad to think that these deaths aren’t highlighted like woman’s are. From Killing Us Softly it surprised me that ads try and make food seductive. The fact that a woman eating chocolate or eating a salad would make someone want to buy the food really confuses me but what confuses me more is that its normal? I don’t look at someone eating food and think oh my gosh now I want that since that girl in a bra is eating it? No, what makes me want to buy food is the food itself. It bothers me that women are used as an object to influence people to buy things like food.

  15. Riley Montgomery

    Both films explore a certain mold each gender is expected to fill in society. In men it is expected for them to be tough and violent. They are expected not to show emotion, not cry, and work out their anger with violence. Most crimes are done by men. In media, when a woman commits a crime, her gender is often highlighted because that is not part of her mold, whereas it is supposed to be not surprising that men commit crimes. Men are also taught to objectify women and be controlling. Women are expected to have a certain body, flawless features, and be submissive to men. Advertisements only share their physical image but fail to highlight their personalities, their intelligence, and other character traits. And so when young girls see those advertisements they receive the message that how they look is most important. Because many ads are so sexual, many women accept that that is what they are for and many obsess over how they look. Both films discuss how society teaches men and women to think a certain way about themselves and teaches them to present themselves in a very specific way that is unhealthy.
    Both films discuss physical health problems. Many men who feel the need to conform but do not fit into that stereotype often commit suicide. Many men commit acts of violence to fit the mold of masculinity. In the women’s video, sexual ads promote a rape culture and encourage women to be submissive towards men. Ads also promote unhealthy bodies that cause anorexia, bulimia, and other health problems among girls. The ads make women much more self conscious about how they look, often leading to depression.
    A take away from the first film for me was that I never realized how much society and media push boys to conform to the masculine ideal of unemotional and violent. Boys grow up being taught to be tough- they were taught to play with trucks and soldier figurines; they were taught to play violent video games; they were taught not to cry. I think it’s sad that many boys are never given a choice or don’t feel they have one. I was surprised to know that 90% of suicides are committed by men. Regarding the second film, I did not realize how much advertisers distorted their images. Although I knew Photoshop is widely used, I did not know they morph multiple girls into one image. Those images tell girls to be girls that don’t exist. Those images aren’t perfect; they are unrealistic and unhealthy mentally and physically.

  16. geoffwickersham (Post author)

    Lindsey N.

    I saw a huge connection in the two films Tough Guise and Killing Us Softly 4, both talked about influence on youth quite a bit. In Tough Guise, Jackson Katz talked about how young boys are taught to not show emotion, they are taught to be gender police, and settle disputes with other men through violence. This is not the case with all men, but it is seen often in the majority of men at one point in time or another. In Killing Us Softly 4 there was a huge focus on what ads that focus on the perfection of women do to the minds of young girls, the majority of girls that are exposed to this type of advertising at a young age are prone to having depression, low self esteem, and eating disorders. For both men and women they are taught what is acceptable in today’s society and what is not.
    In Tough Guise male toxic masculinity is a public health problem because it can lead to domestic violence, rape, assault, and murder. In Killing Us Softly the inappropriate advertising of women leads to mental health disorders and physical health disorders.
    From Tough Guise I learned that the pressure coming from home to hide emotions and act like a man could cause a lot more “damage” to the way a child thinks, in the documentary it promoted violence from home. But for young boys pressure to be a man isn’t only coming from home it’s also coming from kids at school were terms like fag and p—y are used often. In Killing Us Softly I was never under the impression the objects are sextualized, but once I learned about it I saw how much advertizments that sextualize items really demen women and sometimes men.

  17. geoffwickersham (Post author)

    Both films explore a certain mold each gender is expected to fill in society. In men it is expected for them to be tough and violent. They are expected not to show emotion, not cry, and work out their anger with violence. Most crimes are done by men. In media, when a woman commits a crime, her gender is often highlighted because that is not part of her mold, whereas it is supposed to be not surprising that men commit crimes. Men are also taught to objectify women and be controlling. Women are expected to have a certain body, flawless features, and be submissive to men. Advertisements only share their physical image but fail to highlight their personalities, their intelligence, and other character traits. And so when young girls see those advertisements they receive the message that how they look is most important. Because many ads are so sexual, many women accept that that is what they are for and many obsess over how they look. Both films discuss how society teaches men and women to think a certain way about themselves and teaches them to present themselves in a very specific way that is unhealthy.
    Both films discuss physical health problems. Many men who feel the need to conform but do not fit into that stereotype often commit suicide. Many men commit acts of violence to fit the mold of masculinity. In the women’s video, sexual ads promote a rape culture and encourage women to be submissive towards men. Ads also promote unhealthy bodies that cause anorexia, bulimia, and other health problems among girls. The ads make women much more self conscious about how they look, often leading to depression.
    A take away from the first film for me was that I never realized how much society and media push boys to conform to the masculine ideal of unemotional and violent. Boys grow up being taught to be tough- they were taught to play with trucks and soldier figurines; they were taught to play violent video games; they were taught not to cry. I think it’s sad that many boys are never given a choice or don’t feel they have one. I was surprised to know that 90% of suicides are committed by men. Regarding the second film, I did not realize how much advertisers distorted their images. Although I knew photoshop is widely used, I did not know they morph multiple girls into one image. Those images tell girls to be girls that don’t exist. Those images aren’t perfect; they are unrealistic and unhealthy mentally and physically.


  18. geoffwickersham (Post author)

    Both films express a need and worry about the conditions of media and influencing unhealthy behavior in men and women. They both crossover with concerns about the other gender, including instances of domestic abuse influenced by ads and movie behavior. For example, ads and the rise of BDSM as an advertising tactic to make things look “sexy” influences girls to be submissive and guys to be dominant, leading to a domestic abuse favoring culture. Also, in the Tough Guise film, movies like Fight Club and First Blood publicize violence as a rite of passage for men to show their manliness, or their “man card”. Both films address these issues as public health problems. The Killing Us Softly film shows how skinny models and American advertising leads to an increase in eating disorders and self-hatred, because the most common type of model (tall, skinny) isn’t the most common body type. Also, it shows how advertising focuses on objectifying women to sell products, effectively publicizing and influencing people see women and themselves. On the other hand, the Tough Guise film discusses how men feel like they can’t address their own mental health problems because it would be deemed unmanly by their peers, which leads to mentally unstable induced shootings (which are almost always perpetrated by men) and suicide. From the Killing Us Softly Film, I took away that I need to help influence younger generations of girls to love their bodies how they are and help diversify the modeling and advertising industry. I took away from the Tough Guise film that I need to make sure that the guys around me feel included and letting them know that sensitivity is natural and that you need to embrace your emotions. Overall, the way the media plays on our emotions and insecurities to make money, and it needs to change, but it cannot without people becoming aware.


  19. Lindsay Martin

    Tough Guise and Killing Us Softly 4 both are trying to get the message of the bad societal pressure. Tough Guise focuses on masculinity, and how violence is taught from a young age. Men are introduced to video games with guns, violent sports, and violent movies that they feel the need to model themselves after. Boys are raised with programs like Boy Scouts, which teaches “masculine” things like wilderness survival and hunting. Killing Us Softly 4 also mentions society’s negative impacts, instead on women. Women feel the need to look a certain way- skinny, hourglass figure, long hair, clear skin, and small. They are taught to succumb to boys and to “stay in their place”- the kitchen (or the bedroom). Even ads are being used to sell products- by molding those products in the shape of various body parts.
    Tough Guise explains the damaging result of violence in men. It explains that men have to be viewed as “tough” and have no feminine qualities. Boys are taught to like guns and violence, and use women for their bodies. Fighting is used to solve issues as opposed to talking, and sex is seen as a trophy. So this culture promotes violence in the men. The video gives statistics, where men are an overwhelming majority of perpetrators of crime. Because of the exposure to violence, and society not only accepting, but promoting violence, more men are likely to act violently. Mental illness can also be a reaction to these values. Killing Us Softly 4 also explains how the media can cause health issues. In women, image is the biggest culprit. Women feel the pressure to be the prettiest- therefore the skinniest. Eating disorders are becoming more popular, women work out too much and don’t eat enough. Women are also taught to be small and vulnerable. This can teach something very dangerous- not feeling able to say no. The photoshopped models can also cause mental illnesses such as depression- women wonder why they don’t look that certain way.
    From Tough Guise, I realized that men shouldn’t be held to different standards than women. People should be taught the same values- a combination of toughness and kindness, so people are balanced. The society also needs to stop portraying violence as cool. It is glorified and can be very damaging to others. From Killing Us Softly 4, I learned that photoshop should be taken away. The images created are unrealistic, and women feel like they aren’t good enough. Photoshop is easily accessible, and it’s gotten to the point where you can’t tell whether an image is photoshopped or real.

  20. Beau Lerner

    Blog 98:
    Beau Lerner
    1. Both films crossover with their subject matter in terms of where men fall into this spectrum: while the first film focused almost exclusively on men and natural aggression and toxic masculinity, the second film did mostly talk about how women were portrayed in the media as sexual objects, but the second film did dive a little bit into how men are told by society and by their fathers not to show emotion and to “man up” all the time despite what their consciousness tells them to do.
    2. I would actually argue that the first film did not do a good job of arguing about their issues as public health problems. While a lot of the issues that the first film talked about can easily be traced back to problems with health and mental illness, the film simply ignored that fact and moved on to its points about masculinity, which, while mostly valid, was not completely able to show a full picture when the film would gloss over such an important factor. Meanwhile, the second film did a fantastic job addressing the issues as public health problems, as they talked about how anorexia was bad, how girls were more likely to have depression than boys (or at least they are more likely to speak up about it) and addressed all the mental health issues and how they intersect with modern feminist issues.
    3. From the first film, a great takeaway is being able to look at the media and modern culture from a different viewpoint, and see how many media pieces portray men as very violent and masculine, and a similar takaway from the second film is how women are often portrayed as weak, feeble sexual objects

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