This short film is an important and uncompromising look at toxic masculinity and internalized homophobia in America

You might not realize it, but among some young American men there’s a real crisis and a battle of identity politics again. Things like hyper and toxic masculinity have a real effect on people, their lives, and their actions, including attitudes towards women, minority groups, and LGBTQ+ people.

Now a new short film produced by MTV is aiming to raise awareness and tackle the problems with extreme candour.

Titled American Male, the film was produced as part of of MTV’s Look Different creator campaign, which aimed to help lift the lid on and challenge the racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ biases and the privilege that many people take for granted.

Directed by Michael Rohrbaugh, the six-minute film opens up discussions about what is considered masculine in society, while highlighting how extreme masculinity and homophobia often go hand in hand.

“Order beer. Not wine. And beef, not chicken. Never light beer, though. And tofu. Can’t get more gay than tofu, the narrator of the film says. "Steer clear of the arts unless you live on the coasts. That means no theatre, dancing, painting, poetry, or prose. Too much reading is also risky because it makes you look soft and bookish... "What can I say, better safe than sorry."

The intense clip then goes on to explain the differences in societal perceptions of how men and women behave, including gestures, the type of music both listen to, the color of their clothing, and even the way that women and men carry their books.

Watch American Male below.

The film is based on the real life experiences of director Michael Rohrbaugh, who told The Huffington Post that he wanted to give viewers a closer look at what it was like to be hiding your sexuality in such a masculine environment among such staunch divisions and pressures of gender roles.

"So many of the social norms we’ve been taught are rooted in discrimination, and so many young people are taught to feel ashamed of who they are, raised to believe that ‘there’s something wrong with them,’ that ‘they’re not normal’ or ‘not who they should be.’ Those types of lies are really destructive, which is why they must be exposed and debunked," he said.

For more information on MTV’s “Look Different” campaign, visit their website.

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