Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity
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Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity

1999, Psychology  -   83 Comments
Ratings: 7.06/10 from 115 users.

Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in MasculinityThe question that really comes out of this is: Why are boys behaving in this way? Why is 90% of violence committed by boys and men?

That's a point that a lot of people don't want to hear, but if you look at the culture these kids are immersed in, violence is a normal, natural part, not just of the world, but of being masculine or being a male person in the world.

It's not just in these few places (like video games or movies) but it's in what passes for normal culture. It is part of the normal training and conditioning and socialization of boys and men.

In this innovative and wide-ranging analysis, Jackson Katz argues that widespread violence in American society, including the tragic school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, Jonesboro, Arkansas, and elsewhere, needs to be understood as part of an ongoing crisis in masculinity.

This exciting new media literacy tool - utilizing racially diverse subject matter and examples - will enlighten and provoke students (both males and females) to evaluate their own participation in the culture of contemporary masculinity.

More great documentaries

83 Comments / User Reviews

  1. revspinnaker

    As a masculist I wonder how child abuse enablers like Jackson Katz can sleep at night. The violence he and his feminist C.I.A. girlfriends conveniently omit is maternal violence against children, the most prolific and sadistic kind. Rapists are not born but made from traumatic childhood experiences that are statistically most often inflicted by their mothers, and C.I.A. feminist shill Jacko knows that.
    Want to stop rape Jacko? You and your fascist girlfriends know the reality; show me a child that's been burned with cigarettes, starved, chained to a bed, pimped, trafficked... and I'll show you a woman in the house.
    If men were the perpetrators we'd never hear the end of it from sicophantic "allies" like you.
    "Feminist ally" + "child abuse enabler."

  2. Roze van der Steen

    Violence has nothing to do with American culture, or with any race or class, for that matter. It has been a part of life in all parts of the world, and all throughout history, from primitive tribes to advanced civilizations. Look at characters such as Hannibal or Genghis Khan. As for the violent movie industry, it wouldn't be that way if people didn't enjoy watching it. I have seen many parents teach their children nothing but peaceful ways, but they still hit each other with stones or sticks. It sounds politically incorrect but we are wired for it. Truth is not always what we want to believe. Look at our closest relatives, the Chimpanzees, and the horrible gang murders they commit. That said, they also have the capacity for kindness and empathy, and it is the same with humans. This is how you can tell that society is not the cause of it: some kids are incredibly kind and sensitive, while others are bullies, enjoying beating others up. Sometimes two boys raised in the same family are totally different. One enjoys violent movies and the other one doesn't. This happens all the time and everywhere.

  3. roadwarriortim

    i think this is a really good topic , however i do not think this low budget film gives it the attention that it deserves, ie the talking head from beginning to end, of course the main stream media will not touch it as the industry as it exists would be dead. the topic is 10 stars , the presentation is only 3 stars , long way to go on this subject , right ?

  4. LoggerheadShrike

    Some of the statistics used in this documentary are not really explained well. Part of the high statistics for male violence have to do not with any inherent difference, but social views. It's slapstick comedy when a woman strikes a man; it isn't taken seriously. So it doesn't show up in the statistics. But some studies taking this into account have demonstrated women are equally prone to use physical violence. Because they are physically smaller, it is less likely to result in serious injury, but the use of it is no less frequent.

    Natural tendencies associated with the genders can be observed in other mammals. There are differences between the genders, but they are very subtle and low-key compared to the exaggerated differences human culture imposes.

    I don't think there is a crisis in masculinity so much as a crisis in gender identities. The notion of separate cultures for the genders isn't working anymore yet no alternative has been provided, so people are trying to squeeze themselves into these increasingly impossible roles, whose raison d'etre has vanished and which are increasingly maladapted to the present environment. No doubt the culture will adapt in time, and is likely in the early stages of that process now, but with fundamental institutions that have existed since civilization began it is going to take quite some time. At least a century, I would imagine.

  5. RockSalt

    I honestly thought scrolling down to the comments I would see some really well thought-out responses to this documentary. Sadly, I was mistaken. Many of you appear to have never watched the documentary, be too stuck in your misogynist ways, or take this documentary to be the absolute truth. This documentary needs to be watched in conjunction with other research, and watched objectively; while he makes some really good points, his hypodermic needle approach to media theory lacks depth and does not account for peoples' intelligence and ability to ignore media messages, or use media critically (a la a critical media theory approach) for their own means. Should be read in conjunction with Hegemonic Masculinity theory, and critical approaches to the Columbine shootings which focus on masculinity and popular culture influences. This documentary is not an attack on men, but an exploration of the violent ideals society places on men.

  6. Amalie

    dont missunderstand me but you act out from what you been through, guess thats why we all hear with one ear and missunderstand so often in this big topic(s)
    Great great great documentary ^^
    Its truly a eye-opener if we listen and try take in what he is saying and showing here, without fallin in the trap he exactly talk about ^^

    now i should stop writing, just opened so much apinions and new way of looking on things where i judges quicker :)
    should i end with saying ironicaly, as i often heard:
    im talking alot -- but im a woman you know
    peace ^^

  7. Amalie

    I got raped when i was 14. im 20 now.
    i got alot of help and lucky enough im getting rid of the "men are bad, evil and will do you harm"
    listen when you get traumatized as example, you connect some from it to learn not get into that again, defense mechanism. after it i was scared of my dad, or nervous, couldnt really sit in same room.

    I got a friend (boy) who got abused by his mom, he have another view there, he was scared of woman long time, saw them as the bad people here. very interesting talks we got about how you react after what you have been into.

    is it totally out in the woods trying to go over to the experiment Pavlovs dogs. Give dogs dinner, ring with a bell each time, then begin to ring the bell without giving food and the dogs connect the sound with the food (read about it if i dont explain good enough here ^^)
    a little same direction i would say that fear/hate for men i had was only because of what i sadly got into. Too learn from mistakes you try sort out with yourself what did go wrong, as 14 years old i connected men with violence and rape, my friend opposite.

    Another thing with men is stronger, in someway i would think if woman was build stronger than men, the history would also have looked the same and maybe woman would be more violence than me :)

    Too see both side of a story is important :)

    1. Amalie

      haha so great i end with saying "would be more violence than me"
      well let me edit ^^ men*

      Have a great day all ^^

    2. B.J.

      You're right. Having power is a burden as well as a strength. Men are generally more powerful and larger and are biologically equipped to physically dominate women. It can be a very difficult burden to carry when one is being harmed or perceives being harmed. The natural response to protect oneself is fight or flight. It is also why socially we have difficulty feeling the same compassion for male victims because we believe they should be able to protect themselves.

      The part that is missing for society is that we're all raised with different environments and react to things in very individual ways. Women can and are every bit as violent as men if they are wired that way and the man they're with is not wired that way. I'd also argue that men, because of innate power, have a deeper propensity for outward aggressive violence. It's in our biology, serves a purpose - to protect. Ultimately, we're in control and if we lose control the damage we can produce may be severe.

      We try to train our men to not harm women but it seems we don't take female abuse seriously which in many cases exacerbates the problem. Most abuse and violence in the home is reciprocal (obvious), and the burden is generally placed on the male to control himself as the result could be devastating if he doesn't.

  8. Megan Farmer Nielsen

    Video is not working

  9. Stefan Kragulj

    The video is not working for me

  10. .drea.

    Not working?

  11. VickyZoo

    As a female highschool teacher, and the head of a genderstudies department I find this documentary educational and eye opening. I put it in the same catgory as "MissRepresentation" in that it talks about what all of us see in society but are unable to understand why we let it be so acceptable. Those of you that see it as a attack on masculinity are looking at it from the wrong perspective.

    1. Epicurus

      i completely agree with you. this is a great documentary and i have used it in two essays i have done for psychology and anthropology on gender roles.

  12. jbriggs_87

    this movie is bullsh***. boys have never been less tough.

  13. Kev Lin

    in order to understand behaviors one must unerstand "conditioning". Violence can be condtioned out of an entire species just as easily as it is to condition violence into them. If one disagrees with this statment then im asking them to research the history of dogs and the recent study on White Foxes that took place a few years ago; these scientist proved that animals can change their violent behavior through changing its environment, in the end the white foxes began to look like dogs because of the change in behavior. It is a myth in our modern culture that humans are violent, no questiions asked, but im sorry you must question everything in order to find truth

    1. AlekNovy

      They changed the foxes genetically. That's not nurture. They literally bred it out of them, genetically.

      Nurture is when two specimens of equal genetics behave differently. The experiment you refer to had the foxes change genetics over time.

    2. LoggerheadShrike

      True, but genetics are a product of the environment. They did selective breeding in the silver fox experiments in order to study the effects of domestication so it's not a great example of the environment altering behaviour ... that's not what they were studying, though. But in principle, anything that could be achieved by selective breeding could be achieved by an environment which selects for the same criteria; because this too will change the genetics of the species.

      For that matter, selective breeding itself is a part of the environment, and has been since long before the dawn of recorded history.

  14. nakmuay818

    the men endorsing this video are losers, arguing for a more pussified society to try and level the playing field. if they were alpha, they'd have no desire to change the status quo. i'm not endorsing violence or intolerance, i'm endorsing competition. i think james caan was spot on... the man who is 'not to be trifled with' has equipped himself with the brains and brawn necessary to imbue genuine self-confidence. And self-confidence, friends is the definition of alpha. A man who can impose his will upon his environment through logical persuasion, and defend his establishment through force if necessary against undeserving usurpers, is king. The rest of you nitpicking from the sidelines to have the rules of the game changed will be phased out by natural selection. Arm yourself by cultivating the gifts God gave you, of intelligence and strength, or else pick up a pompom and play your position.

    1. refter

      hahaha level: straight out of puberty. i cannot say i am impressed with the movie but what i liked particularly about this doc was a notion that right wing people with their radical attitudes are actually compensating for their inner insecurities. after this i cannot not see you as gay.

    2. Lindoug

      You sound like some Darwinist social elite. I like your narrow inclusion of "men" and "man", competition is an underlying logic of capitalism and no, competition for resources has always been around since the time of agriculture so we can't argue against that right? Since when did having a sole King and Alpha turned out to be a democratic force, if not dictatorship? Oh yes, and since when did logical persuasion always led to peace, oh you mean Nazi Germany? Great! Because of thought processes like these, individualistic and competition driven, our societies have a chance to experience turmoil. I do not believe you will be saying the same things if you grew up being bullied.

    3. LoggerheadShrike

      Who said anything about a sole king? Or logical persuasion, or any of that? Where did you pull all this stuff from? Do you think that a sole king is the end result of historical evolution? Obviously not! Most of the lines of kings died out or were reduced to figureheads. All over the world. That was the evolution. The countries that tried to keep kings with absolute power, fell behind the ones that introduced parliaments or became republics. Don't you know even the most basic history?

      You complain about people arguing for a more "pussified" society and then whine about how you were bullied or something when challenged. How ironic! Anyway that is the rule of existance: adapt or die. It's not an opinion. Times change, and you change with them, or you become an isolated anachronism and are soon forgotten. It's a rule of nature, a law of the universe. It's just the way it is. If you want to go back to a more knuckle-dragger way of life, well, you're just out of luck! Things don't go that direction, not over the long run, not among those that survive. It's up to you whether you want to be part of a culture that adapts and wants to have a place in the future, or one that is (lethally) trapped in narcissism and nostalgia and destined to fade away.

    4. LoggerheadShrike

      To be honest, I think you're the one trying to change the rules of the game. The rules of the game are simple: those who adapt thrive, those who stick to old habits in a changing environment, die out. You're calling for the latter, protesting change, wanting the rules to be different so that not changing can be the key to survival, but that is not how the game works. The ability to change and adapt is the single most important aspect of the game and determines who gets phased out by natural selection, before any other factor.

      Change, constantly, or die. That's the rules. Doing the same old things, that is true weakness and eventual death, you might not like it but that's just how it is.

  15. Meghan

    I happen to have met the Jackson Katz, the man many people are talking badly about on here. He is an extremely intelligent and thoughtful individual. I also watched this movie in a class I took and found it to be incredibly insightful. I am currently a high school teacher and have classes of mainly high school boys, and I see a lot of what this documentary discusses. I enjoyed this documentary so much then, I've checked out his other work and am watching this again!

    1. B.J.

      Just remember that is is very basic stuff and is low level sociology at best.

  16. davy11

    turn this off after 15 minutes. couldnt listen to that id**t any longer

    1. Epicurus

      what didnt you like?

      this documentary was suggested to me by a professor at my university and i think it was very good.

      but granted you only gave it 15 what was it that you disliked so much?

  17. ronsfi

    Who ever was involved with making this documentary should have their a55 beat!

  18. the555hit

    Jackson is very much on it and clear with it. Dangerously close to preachy/proselytising but on account of the content it never goes overboard.

    He says men (and much of women) are going to have to change. It's natural that we should look at life as a binary thing -- male/female forever --- it's all we've ever known, from amoeba upwards. But it's not about changing male behaviour -- because that ain't going to happen. Tthe future long longterm is unigender, not female ---- men having served their purpose (to excess) and gotten extincted --- but human and of a single gender. And then what happens to good old evolution you ask. Just have to wait and see.

    The OTT sociopathy/criminality of men we witness currently as a last backlash of the macho uh, 'tail' will be phased out as more women take more power over time. Technology (brains) is always gonna win, however your 6-pack 'n biceps and women are filling the brainy professions as men drop out into porn and vid games and beer (all part of the plan guys if you think about it) (hey i'm just the messenger spare your ammunition). Life doesn't give a fk about gender, as it were --- but which ok, has served its purpose up until now, but faces along with men, total redundancy.

    Since that old binary fission system currently threatens to do us all in something has to change, and it will, and radical. It's not about a cull as such, of males but selective breeding (with no need for infanticide -- as per females in China). Sounds bizarre today well, but tomorrow i guess we'll see. If it sounds like a drag to anybody addicted to his cock (urs truly included..) go check out the alternative --- another millenium of this? Of war? Abuse of resources? Hollywood action/rape/misogyny movies? Football and wrestling? Gangstas/Rap? .. Too fkn boring, face it, so do us a favour someone? Test-tube this way, but don't let's worry guys, sex will still happen, but it'll be the real thing, not the reel thing and it might look a bit different. Some bright guy once said 'good satisfying sex without violence is impossible', and maybe that's the ultimate challenge of this looming new reality --- can life be any good without muscle 'n beer 'n steroids 'n guns. I guess we're just going to have to find out.

  19. qatzelok

    It's a fairly good film for raising awareness of the real dangers of bullying.

    But the film's narrative contains an unfortunate (but blatant) racist/classist subtext: the narrator is of a particular social class (he calls himself an "anti-violence educator." ie. doesn't have to work for a living) and he is ranting on about how scary and violent black and working class white males are. They're a pretty easy target for someone who has all day to think about how to attack other men (with words instead of fists). And if his story is just a fig leaf for his own animal-vs-animal competition for prey (audience), then it isn't really useful as a educational tool, is it?

    He never mentions the role that economic violence/predation plays in creating physical desperation that degenerates into physical brutality. Like a lot of pseudo-documentarians, he examines just enough symptoms of a larger phenomenon to build a story that elevates the sub-culture making/watching the video. This is a self-empowering video that works to disempower blacks, working class males, and other people who have to carry the weight of an obscenely wealthy banker-driven culture of hyperconsumption and slavery.

    Perhaps the film's producers are inadvertently working towards their own self interest, but whether it's self conscious or not, the subjectively skewed choice of symptoms they examine distorts most of the positive message that could be gained with a more objective narrative voice. The absence of any mention of economic predation turns this "issue" story into propaganda against economically-disadvantaged groups - something we'd expect from commercial media.

    Rather than attacking that primary abuse of power and resource allocation, the film seems to go after the victims of exploitation themselves by calling them violent: why not call these lower social-ranking males "repulsive" like the elites of olde?

    1. Vivek Chaudhary

      I am pretty sure Katz DOES say that in the film though...

    2. Del

      "Symptoms of a larger phenomenon" that creates physical brutality only in males presumably. Working class women are also economically oppressed, and yet violence remains largely a male response.

      The point of the documentary is to examine the cultural phenomenon of violence as it is constructed as a masculine trait/behaviour /characteristic.

      With which point you implicitly agree.

    3. qatzelok

      "The point of the documentary is to examine the cultural phenomenon of violence as it is constructed as a masculine trait/behaviour /characteristic.With which point you implicitly agree."

      Yes, but the doc examines ONLY how this violence manifests itself physically among groups who don't possess many financial resources. This is a symptom, and not a cause.

      Since it is the financial elite who run our societies and set the example, leading us into a dog-eat-dog world of economic predation, the financial elites really deserve a much closer look since they are the cause of so much trickle-down violence.

      Trashing black men and working class whites has been done to death in Bankster (commercial) media. Is this doc a whiny, leftist-flavored version of the same money-driven propaganda against disadvantaged groups?

    4. LoggerheadShrike

      Agreed ... except ... the elites are not only the cause of trickle-down violence, they're the sole cause of much direct violence. How is the status quo ultimately enforced? Evictions are violence, arrests for property crime are violence, military-style police assaults on protestors are violence, and naturally, wanton killing in foreign nations to steal their resources, is just armed robbery, and certainly violence. All this occurs on a much greater scale and is far more lethal and threatening to society than a few fistfights in the schoolyard or even the occasional gangland murder. Deaths are counted not in the hundreds or thousands but in the hundreds of thousands or even millions, and the level of property damage goes beyond a few smashed windows or a stolen lunch - more like whole cities being destroyed.

      Moreover, it ignores the extraordinary levels of domestic violence found in affluent homes, in favour of a stereotype. The reality is that domestic violence is commonplace in affluent communities ... besides being more commonplace, the only other major difference is that they keep their victims quiet by trapping them with money, power, and shame, and go to much greater lengths to normalize their abuse.

      Because this documentary turns a blind eye to the phenomenon of violence in general, and zeroes in on only that violence deemed unacceptable to a certain group, a group which feels violence is acceptable, every day, in order to reap benefits for themselves, this documentary is no more than a collection of ironic and hypocritical self-serving prejudices.

    5. B.J.

      Del, if my wife attacks me I am 220lbs and she is 135lbs. She can't really hurt me unless she picks up a weapon and even then she'd be in tough.. The simple fact that 99% of the most physically powerful humans on earth are males and in 95%+ of couples we're talking about a scenario that involves a strong male & weaker female. Men are more physically powerful thus can be very damaging. It might help in understanding why the male response is more common, because in the grand scheme of things it provide a perceptually effective short term means to an end.

  20. Robert Pulice

    You're really on the side of the Lord, and it's about time someone spilled the volatile fuel that so many are content with however many people that it hurts. Thank you for this enriching experience.

  21. Benjamin Edwards

    I have to admit, I thought this was going to be some lame Marxist propaganda, but he makes some really salient and cogent points. I believe he really touches on a hyper-macho revolution that started in the 1960s (notice the HUGE increase in rape that began then) and has been really damaging American culture in so many ways ever since. It is most obvious in the misogyny and mindless hyper-macho gangster behavior in US urban culture that has gone so far in completely ruining American culture. God help all of the young boys growing up now who are exposed to this stupidity. 5-star documentary.

    1. AlekNovy

      notice the HUGE increase in rape that began then)

      There hasn't been a "huge increase in rape", there's only been an increase in "rape stats", because feminists merely expanded the definition.

      Read Christina Hoff Sommer's piece on the latest CDC expansion, where merely "asking too often" for sex is now also "rape".

      Feminists did the following:

      -Not verbally asking for sex is rape (Miss so and so, may I have penetrative sex with you)

      -Asking for sex is now ALSO rape

      In other words, feminists have just redefined ALL heterosexual sex as rape. They finally succeeded.

    2. iesika

      Rape stats are increasing because reporting is increasing, not because of changed definitions. In many states, it's still legal for man to violently rape his wife as often as he feels like it.

      When 2/3 of men will be raped in their lifetime (and 1/3 raped more than once), then we can talk about how all women are entitled bitches. Until then, go to hell.

    3. LesterWise

      Is that statistic correct? 2 out of 3? Wow, that makes me want to cry. That means that there are a lot of rapist in the world.

    4. LoggerheadShrike

      Rape has been redefined. Check a copy of the relevant legal statutes from 1960, and then today. There is a vastly broader definition now. It's not arguable that the expansion hasn't been redefined, it's there in black and white on the books for all who care to look, to see.

      Even so, it is not true that there has been any vast increase in sexual assaults. Since the early 90s, the numbers have been dropping sharply, in keeping with most other violent crime statistics, which have also been falling.

      It is true that women are more than ten times more likely to be victims, but even so, prevalence is not so great as you suggest. Many studies have been conducted over the past 30 years and they almost all consistently show the same rate of prevalence: about 15-20%. This is far too common and unacceptably high, but exaggerating those numbers is not helpful and merely sensationalizes (and therefore trivializes) the issue.

  22. Alek Olson

    The moment you think you know everything, you stop learning. Er something like that cant remember it exactly, good quote.
    Im sure the theme in the movie was dont be a "wussy" and let yourself be controlled, by what other people think or do.
    Unless they have a gun pointed at you! HAHAHa!
    Still wont affect me, personally. Even as a sensitive male, docile and all that 'I WILL DIE FOR WHAT I BELIEVE IN!'.
    Its a principle of mine, like RESPECT!

  23. Michel Nachbar

    This was obviously made by feminists and cultural marxists, obvious propaganda /indoctrination is obvious.

  24. Will Conley

    This documentary should only be watched by people who are capable of abstract thought.

  25. Petyr Herpaderp

    Wow! Cool story, bro.

  26. Karen Rose

    It's the genetic modification of the broken x, modelled on its evil e.t parent race.

  27. Yusiley S

    Humans NEED to stop giving excuses for their behavior on biology. It's getting old... oh sorry... it is already too old of an excuse and it's pathetic. You have a neocortex use it dumb asses!I'm sick and tired of mens' weak argument of "oh it's our nature"... so f--king what! It's in my nature to kill and eat people. That's what my brain is wired to do, but I manage to control those impulses and not kill and eat anyone. So why can't these retards control their impulses and natural instincts?... is this documentary stating men are too weak-minded and stupid to make rational decisions?... that men are too immature and subhuman to be able to control their own behavior and instincts? >_> Please! Stop giving men a free ride to act irresponsible, immature children... in other others stop encourage men in being idiots by giving them excuses.

    1. oej

      She mad. I ain't mad.

  28. Ilyess Lasfar

    LOVED IT. Should be compulsory watch followed by an in-depth workshop style session in every high school!

    errr ehum, below post by Raoul Vandelayer seems to indicate that he must not have been breastfed as a child. No but in all seriousness, there are plenty of sources for healthy masculine ideals besides "living the bullshit" or "the mask" . You can inspire yourself (and/or your children) by stories of great men. From grand political leaders like Malcolm X, Abraham Lincoln, etc. to well balanced sports icons like that baseball dude that was mentioned in the film. The point is, you can choose healthy masculine Ideals, instead of feeding off of the garbage that is being spoon-fed to us by TV and the garbage producing mass media machine.

  29. Sandra Fredine

    This is simply the best documentary I have ever watched and couldn't be more timely. Parents MUST watch - FATHERS must watch. I don't even know how to emphasize this enough.

  30. yolandam

    The media glorifies men and violence and society allows it. It isn't an escapegoat to blame the media, they are going to push the envelope as far as they can. We as a people need to take notice and shut it down. Don't participate in violent movies and allow our children to watch.

  31. jubbs_sher

    this docoumentary speaks worlds of sense!!!

  32. snail1123

    food allergies.....check it out. It is amazing the way food affects us psychologically, men and women.

  33. clix

    @ James Cann

    The media is merely a reflection of society and an all to easy scapegoat.

    I will respond to your comment in full when I have time, but at the mean time, I implore you to watch a documentary called The War You Don't See on this site. It will clearly demonstrate the media is neither a reflection of a society nor a scapegoat.

  34. James Cann


    To address your points, yes I did watch the whole of the doc as well as the doc on The Emasculating Truth on what it means to be manly nowadays. Both were thought provoking but also skewed to incite discussion. Perhaps i did restate some points that were refuted but as far as I can objectively conclude I didn't touch on intercity youth and rural southern men(perhaps you have mistaken me for another) that's your perspective I suppose. As far as daring me to go in one of such surroundings and show the other fellas, well I happen to live in the roughest neighborhood in my city because it also happens to be close to work where I drive limousine.

    I dress for the environment when walking to work because I'm constantly being sized up and interviewed by the predators that loiter around and if I didn't I'd eventually be viewed as an outsider and ripe for the pickings. Now I should state that I'm actually quite intimating at over 6 foot and currently about 220 pounds so i don't have a lot of people challenging me. But if I was challenged I can handle myself because after 30 years of martial arts training and teaching and having spent over 4 years training and fighting in Thailand, I'm fairly confident that if it came to blows I'd come away okay. Guns and knives are another story.

    But the thing is I don't project weakness nor do I attempt to be intimidating,I'm soft spoken and friendly to almost everyone, I mind my own business, have had very few complaints about my attitude or driving in the last 7 years. On rare occasions I've been forced into situations with drunks and violent men in order to protect the women in my life and clients I drive and have been obligated to handle it. The reality is that there are violent jerks everywhere and I'd much rather be prepared for this reality that to believe we live in a peaceful utopia of love and understanding and an altruistic society. We don't. Nor have we ever. I don't know what the solution is, if I did I'd perhaps produce a doc on it. The producers of this doc also as far as I can tell, haven't provided a solution either.

    Because there isn't one. History has shown that not much gets done with just talking about things. In order to get change, revolutions have to happen. In order to have a traffic light installed on a dangerous corner, some people have to die before others take notice. I don't like it. Ideally I'd love to talk rationally to these violent men, sit around and sing Kumbahya and get a group hug at the end but it's unlikely to happen any other place then in my dreams. Is the media to blame for violence? Is Jerry Springer fans and the UFC to blame?Rap music? It's dubious. Perhaps the generalization that mans nature is violent, that nature itself is violent and the Darwinian perspective is clique, but I haven't seen the antithesis work in reality hitherto.

    The media is merely a reflection of society and an all to easy scapegoat. Society has a tendency to honor it's live conformists and dead criminals.Genghis Khan, Alexander The Great and every other conquerors in history probably didn't have much time for watching TV or concerned what the neighbors thought. The winners need not explain. And, there is much more fascination with them, than watching docs on Gandhi and Mother Theresa. We live in a rather peaceful world compared to ancient times. I haven't had to be violent outside the Muay Thai ring for a few years now.

    I like that and feel lucky. But I also like the fact that if trouble shows up in my face and I can't talk my way out, I have other options that will instantly be respected. We all have choices for survival and those with the most options survive better. We all want our kids to grow up in a peaceful and loving environment and not be bullied, but just because our grandfather happened to be named Gaylord I think we do a disservice to our kids to name them the same. We all must portray our game face that is fitting to the situation at hand. I personally treat others the way I want to be treated and attempt to be different to everyone and blend into their moods. I don't talk to my mother the same way I talk to my friends or strangers that get into my face... I blend and flow. A tough guise? Perhaps. Reality?...most certainly.

    1. the555hit

      you're a thoughtful individual which sits well in balance with your martial abilities and you make great points. i don't think anybody anti-macho-violence-culture would have any problem with your way. Nightclub bouncers get a bad rap but they've been some of the easiest going friendliest i've met with nothing to prove.

  35. clix

    @James Cann

    Did you watch the documentary at all? You basically re-stated the points that were refuted throughout the documentary without providing any additional information other than the tired paradigm. According to you, intercity youth and rural southern men (the most aggressive and violence prone) are prime target of women. The aggressive behavior of such group of people, among many similar others who are less identifiable, are not driven by challenges of resource procurement, but by social and class standing.

    I dare you to go in one of such surroundings and 'show the other fellas, you're not to be trifled with'. Most likely, they will trifle with you and win. Does that mean they're stronger and more suited to survive than you? No. It just means they are more violence prone, and can readily execute such action.

  36. James Cann

    Life is kind of a warfare against the malice of others. Don't feed your dog for a week and see if his unconditional love changes. Nothing respects weakness. Women are hardwired to find the alpha male and breed with him so that less desirable males don't pass on their beta genes. Maybe this doc will get him on Oprah but in the real world he'd just get stomped. If anything, in my experience men have become society robots and are less manly than ever before. I blame the feminist movement which has overcompensated and turned men into obliging providers. Women say they want sensitive guys, but they really want guys to obey them.I say, grow a pair. Although I don't condone bullies or unnecessary violence of any kind. But every now and then, you have to show the other fellas, you're not to be trifled with too.

    1. Green Scream

      I like that darwinian sense of yours
      women are as menipulative as men are, even more.
      Men are the ones who should be afriad of women not the other way around.

  37. clix


    Sorry, no refund as it appears you weren't paying attention anyway. There is as much blame assigned as to how men affect each other, not to mention women, in shaping the limited self-image of men.

    Even at that, are you denying that the media does help form quite a bit of our self-image in our society? If not, what problem do you have with the fact that it be exposed in every facet of our lives? Or are you one who fancies cynicism just for its own sake?

    1. LittleRayovSun

      Apparently he didn't read the title either; You'd think with a title like "Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity" He would have guessed that it had SOMETHING to do with how the media brain washes us. Hellooo.

  38. MistaGreen

    Yet another documentary that focuses on how the media pretty much brain washes and molds us. Can I get my 53 minutes back?

  39. Milton

    Manhood has been misrepresented in so many ways that it's unbelievable.You get taught at an early time in your life that if you are not physically "hard" that you are weak. That's only one of many lies men are brainwashed to believe. I always thought that manhood was more spirutal/mental than brawn but to be called weak by someone or people in general is the "kiss of death" for most men. No one wants to be called that. Some men spend their lives trying to prove that they are anything but soft or weak. So they jump at the chance to prove they are not weak by any and all means and will jump at the chance to use violence, whether it is warranted or not. There are times to be violent;obviously if someone breaks into a man's home, he has to protect his family. But to use violence as an means to an end is wrong. People losing their live and many men going to prison because someone "dissed"them. You can go through life without violence if you understand that there will be insecure people who will attempt to provoke you. People killing people because of a dirty look. I say "hi" to people that I see "mean mugging" me and keep going. I have nothing to prove.

  40. clix

    What a great piece of work, although I disagree with the presumption the film makes that homosexuality is a new form of male expression.

    It is time men wake up and see the box they have been placed in. Women, with better and more realistic self image are out-pacing men in every facet of life, including out living them. Some here argue that male violence is a natural part of life in order to secure resources. That may be true males who come from resource strapped ancient northern Europe, where brute force and aggression were the saving grace (please read the book Iceman Inheritance). Not all societies from ancient to modern times have been so violence prone nor male dominated. A point to ponder for those who believe that violence and male preponderance are the natural order of things. Get out a bit and learn about other cultures, ancient and modern, will ya?

    One thing is for sure for me. My two boys will not grow up to fit into this limited box of male self-image and denigrate women the way their preprocessors in the western world, including me, have done.

  41. pip

    I hate all of you. I just want to know whether this was a good documentary. I don't want to read an essay about your views on the subject. If I did, I would not be looking for a documentary to watch, I would be looking for an essay on this subject. I am very disappointed in you.

  42. Armchair Shrink

    I think that many of the paradigms and myths that we've built around gender in & of itself are counter-productive, severely limiting & frequently serve the hidden agendas of those who impose them onto societies & compel societies into enacting & perpetuate them.

    This film did show the damaging image of the submissive white barely post-adolescent woman unaware that she is in any danger, casually undressing only to be brutally attacked at her most vulnerable point by some crazed male (linking sex with violence). The film also showed one Asian woman being sexually assaulted. A good deal of time was also spent exploring the image of the violent Black man.

    What was conspicuously absent was any meaningful commentary about how the Rap/Hip Hop 'culture' has resurrected the ugliest & most harmful images of the hyper-sexualized Black woman. In their videos, these women (usually mixed-looking & fairer than most Blacks) are as interchangeable as eggs in a carton. They all have the same shallow, promiscuous, ridiculously submissive character & are useful only as masturbatory tools: their pleasure is irrelevant. Unlike the White women who get hacked to bits in horror flicks, who at least get to speak at times, these women shake their @$$E$ & moan. Along with the anti-feminist back-lash Katz mentions, he doesn't seem to see the ways in which many Black men perceive themselves to have been twice 'emasculated'. Firstly by the dominant culture, and secondly by the Black woman who is many times more likely to achieve social status and financial autonomy through education and career. Further grinding salt into this wound is the fact that more Black women of this calibre are choosing non-Black partners. Many Black women emerging with higher educations find themselves lacking Black male counterparts. Of the comparatively few Black men that are similarly educated, many of them choose non-Black partners as well.

    A part of the Western image of the manly man is that of 'getting The Girl'(often through rescuing her from peril as in many video games, movies & fairy tales) She is usually a tall, slender but shapely White woman; preferably with flowing blonde hair & blue eyes.Having 'won' this woman is the crowning symbol of status & success. Black men have been bombarded with this imagery by the same media that did it to White men.

    Another 'manly man' image that we see in the media is that of the beautiful non-White woman being chosen as the love interest of the White male hero. We NEVER see this imagery reversed. Imagine a film in which all White men are depicted as violent somewhat backwards duds so the beautiful White woman, in the end, sees that the East Indian male hero is much better than all the men of her own background.It speaks to the dominant male ethos that a White man is free to do & choose whatever he wants & by right of his evident superiority, the women of the entire planet are in his thrall.

    I remember a recent film in which the Asian male hero, Jackie Chan, 'got' Amber Valletta in the end & the film was not about the dreaded interracial couple & all the trouble their relationship causes for everyone in society OR about 'pity the poor mixed couple: how sad their life will be'-but such images are exceedingly rare. In this film, Chan was a decidedly Chinese man (not 'Americanized'& culturally disconnected). He did his Kung Fu shtick, but he was also caring & sensitive, gentle & ethical.It can be done!

    Katz' film is thought-provoking (for those brave enough to question & deconstruct the status quo)& a great tool for savvy social studies teachers to incorporate into their classroom.

  43. Emessaine

    Interesting video, thank you!
    I hated the spoilers though, argh!


    I think this documentary focuses more on violence in America. I understand that we, as animals, must use violence in certain situations (like dogs, lions and sharks). But I think, in our modern society, we have eliminated most of these situations. How often do I have to fight with my neighbor over some food or water? Exactly, not very often.
    Therefore, I think violence is a negative thing in this kind of society and we must try to eliminate as much as we can.
    What do you think?

  44. Arthurian

    another stupid documentary that seeks to emasculate men, men are supposed to be tough.

  45. toneone3000

    Its in our genes to be violent. I hate the fact that the world has become so metrosexual and soft. I am a United States Marine, and I have seen the true face of humanity. If you haven't had water or food in a week I bet a million dollars you would fight for it. Why are most people so disconnected from what humans really are? I watched this, and this guy is soft. All he does is focus on the media, there are no scientists to back this up. Even a person with half a brain should know that the media is filled with half truths. I have seen what humans really are. The reason that humans dont have fangs or claws, is because we are the cruelest animal.

  46. some dude

    "Do you really want the Greeks/Romans to be your measure of societal norms? Well, then be prepared to start having sex with little boys…"

    "Is that seriously your argument? You are arguing that the status quo is a natural occurrence?"

    This is just pathetic. Using cheap sophisms in one comment, and calling me out for not-serious-enough argument.

    It's completely irrelevant if this "status quo" is natural occurrence or not. We have ability to change nature. Some people just don't want to. And there's nothing you can do about it.

    Let's say I didn't like what you said to me and I punch you in the face. What do you do? Call your mom, police, punch me back, run?

    Let's say I'm a real a--hole. I punch few other people around me, cause I didn't really like how they looked at me when I broke your nose.

    How will society respond to a guy like me? No education, no preventive measures, no punishment will ever completely eliminate violence. Do a research on life in prison. Very few convicts get a lifetime, most get out hurt someone again. They know they'll end up in prison again. They don't care.

  47. Lass

    Is that seriously your argument? You are arguing that the status quo is a natural occurence?

  48. Lass

    Do you really want the Greeks/Romans to be your measure of societal norms? Well, then be prepared to start having sex with little boys...

  49. some dude

    Have you ever considered the fact that violence is a necessity in a man's life. It will most likely occur in his life, and he needs to get used to it. And you don't have to e violent to be engaged in violence. Violence will come to you.

    People attack people, countries attack countries. It doesn't matter if you're violent or not. Violence will come to you.

    So why not be ready for it?

    1. sheriff13

      too true, better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6

  50. Malestrom

    I still deal with it. I bouncer at a bar and there is a cop there who thinks it's fun to back hand swat me in the groin and I can't get him to stop. It always seems someone wants to set up a pecking order. Yea men wrote love letters and sonnets, but some of those men were at war. Those who didn't go to war were hanged, so what choice did most men have that were soft, sweet and considerate but be called gay by the more brutal ones and subdued. I have seen this happen in 9th grade, where a kid was tender and he didn't want to fight and got raped for it. Most barbarians come in and take your home, wife, land and life when they perceive you as soft. They believe in survival of the fittest so men like Adolph Hitler are the epitome of their outlook on life, but when men like him win they cry foul.

  51. Core

    good written quietsamurai

  52. Malestrom

    No one in the black community is a 'poser'. It is kill or be killed. You look angry because you are angry. People fvck with you all day every day no matter where you go unless you do have people who watch out for you. So no one is giving a 'tough guy pose'. That's bs. You fight until you die and you die fighting and you aren't posing. You are tough because like me, you were the runt and everyone beat you. I use to kill animals with my bear hands who didn't obey me when I was a kid because I was on the bottom of the totem and there was no one to beat but the harmless and defenseless. I grew up so full of hate my mother had to leave the home once I was old enough to fend for myself because my brother and I would never stop fighting each other.

  53. Ren

    Gee, Samurai, I'm wondering if you're only looking at part of history here. Men also wrote epic poems of love. Men wrote legendary books about forgiveness and mercy. Men wrote and acted out sonnets of love and devotion, they painted flowers, they embraced other men, and mourned deeply.

    Furthermore, if we're going to take ancient Greek and Roman portrayals of men as infallible and unchangeable then I suppose it's time we all embraced pedophilia. Since it was considered normal for young boys to have homosexual relationships with much older men, why don't we consider it normal now? If it was, indeed, so great.

    Things change, dear. Societies and cultures move on. It's time you did too, or at the very least, accept it.

  54. quietsamurai

    It's called testosterone. Seriously, this guy is a dip****. The whole masculinity portion in male society goes ALL the way back to ancient times and is nothing new. Look at ancient Greek and Roman portrayals of men, they are nothing really different then what they are now. Guys will be guys, and they always will be. This guy needs to get over himself and realize this.

    1. Michael R Trice

      Nothing has changed? What about representations of homosexual affection? Or Cicero's writings on the Good Man?

  55. Laura Kamienski

    Thank you Jackson! I've been teaching women's and girl's self defense for over a decade and know that without your hard work and others like you e.g. Don McPherson, "Men Stopping Rape" etc my work is a futile effort. We live in a society that pigeonholes men and women into two very distinct boxes creating a recipe for violence. Until all of us are free to express a full range of emotions and qualities there will never be peace. Two thumbs up.

  56. eric

    What are images? why do we create all these images of each-other,to be normal, to be tough, to be nice, being beautiful; you are smart, you are dumb?

  57. Scott

    I just finished watching "Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity". I love the title of it and think it's really creative. I understand the overall idea speaking out against violence and not being necessarily influenced by what is in the media, but I think the film stretched a few things.

    Growing up, I played video games, had a BB gun, played with G.I. Joe toys, was into "professional" wrestling, played sports, and watched movies with guns and violence in them.

    I think the main thing, from what I know from myself and my friends growing up, is whether the parents are involved with their children. Today, a lot of parents are too busy watching Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, Jon and Kate +8, etc., and know more about the lives of people on tv, than they do their own children living in their house.

    Is the media to blame? As Jackson Katz said, sure it is partly. But how does this media get to the kids? Either the parents are allowing it, or the parents don't know/don't care the kids are doing it.