Glamour: What inspired you to look into how we’re pigeonholing boys?
Jennifer Siebel Newsom: While I was on the road for Miss Representation, people asked me, “Isn’t there a boy crisis too?” I was pregnant with my son, Hunter, so I started looking into the facts. Compared with girls, boys are more likely to binge-drink, to commit a violent crime, to take their own lives. I wanted to look into how society is failing our boys. I made this film for my son.
Glamour: “Stop with the tears.” “Be a man.” Why are those types of messages damaging?
JSN: Boys are told to disconnect from their emotions, and if they’re still crying at ages 10, 11, 12, they’re “in trouble.” If we’re perpetuating that norm—boys aren’t allowed to cry—we’re taking away their emotional literacy. It shouldn’t be any surprise that we see depression, anxiety, and a tendency toward escapist behaviors like drugs and alcohol.