Documentaries for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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We have witnessed the profound social impact that documentary films can have, and so we’ve put together a special selection of films about the cultural forces that contribute to domestic & sexual violence.

Watch trailers for these films below!

 

Social and developmental psychologist and author Lynn Phillips explores the line between consent and coercion in this thought-provoking look at popular culture and the ways real girls and women navigate their heterosexual relationships and hookups. Featuring dramatizations of interviews that Phillips conducted with hundreds of young women, the film examines how the wider culture’s frequently contradictory messages about pleasure, danger, agency, and victimization enter into women’s most intimate relationships with men. The result is a refreshingly candid, and nuanced, look at how young women are forced to grapple with deeply ambivalent cultural attitudes about female sexuality. Essential for courses that look at popular culture, gender norms, sexuality, and sexual violence.

Viewer Discretion Advised: Contains Sexual Imagery & Language & Explores Adult Themes

A high school version — edited for profanity — is available on the same DVD.

 

Dreamworlds 3

Dreamworlds 3, the latest in Sut Jhally’s critically acclaimed Dreamworlds series, takes a clarifying look at the warped world of music video. Ranging across hundreds of images and stories from scores of music videos, Jhally uncovers a dangerous industry preoccupation with reactionary ideals of femininity and masculinity, and shows how these ideals have glamorized a deeply sexist worldview in the face of the women’s movement and the fight for women’s rights. In the end, Dreamworlds 3 challenges young people to think seriously about how forms of entertainment that might seen innocuous and inconsequential can be implicated in serious real-world problems like gender violence, misogyny, homophobia, and racism.

 
 Wrestling with Manhood is the first educational program to pay attention to the enormous popularity of professional wrestling among male youth, addressing its relationship to real-life violence and probing the social values that sustain it as a powerful cultural force. Richly illustrating their analysis with numerous examples, Sut Jhally and Jackson Katz – the award-winning creators of the videos Dreamworlds and Tough Guise, respectively – offer a new way to think about the enduring problems of men’s violence against women and bullying in our schools.
Drawing the connection between professional wrestling and the construction of contemporary masculinity, they show how so-called “entertainment” is related to homophobia, sexual assault and relationship violence. They further argue that to not engage with wrestling in a serious manner allows cynical promoters of violence and sexism an uncontested role in the process by which boys become “men.”

 

Spitting Game

Filmmaker Denice Ann Evans draws heavily on the voices of students in this powerful and timely exploration of hookup culture on college campuses. Supplementing student testimony with analysis from experts and health professionals, the film’s main concern is whether hookup culture is offering young people a new and potentially liberating set of sexual rules, or whether it’s simply reinforcing traditional gender roles and blurring the line between consent and coercion. The result is an invaluable teaching tool, one that asks tough questions about the relationship between hookup culture, gender politics, and the alarming levels of sexual assault and binge drinking that continue to plague college campuses.

 

The Line

A young woman is raped when a one-night stand far from home goes terribly wrong. In the aftermath, as she struggles to make sense of what happened, she decides to make a film about the relationship between her own experience and the tangle of political, legal, and cultural questions that surround issues of sex and consent. Using a hidden camera, filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman goes head-to-head with the man who assaulted her, recording their conversation in an attempt to move through the trauma of her experience and achieve a better understanding of the sometimes ambiguous line between consent and coercion. The result is a powerful documentary about the terrible personal reality of rape and sexual violence — and the more complicated and ambivalent ways sexual assault is often framed and understood in the wider culture. Schwartzman, as the prismatic main character, is likeable, while embodying the needs, desires, and inner conflicts common among young sexually active American women. Completed after being presented in classrooms on dozens of college campuses, The Line is structured to invite and reward students’ trust, making them comfortable enough to discuss sex, consent, legal rights, and the politics surrounding gender violence while examining issues too often deemed embarrassing, shameful, or taboo.

 

Tough Guise 2

In this highly anticipated update of the influential and widely acclaimed Tough Guise, pioneering anti-violence educator and cultural theorist Jackson Katz argues that the ongoing epidemic of men’s violence in America is rooted in our inability as a society to move beyond outmoded ideals of manhood. In a sweeping analysis that cuts across racial, ethnic, and class lines, Katz examines mass shootings, day-to-day gun violence, violence against women, bullying, gay-bashing, and American militarism against the backdrop of a culture that has normalized violent and regressive forms of masculinity in the face of challenges to traditional male power and authority. Along the way, the film provides a stunning look at the violent, sexist, and homophobic messages boys and young men routinely receive from virtually every corner of the culture, from television, movies, video games, and advertising to pornography, the sports culture, and U.S. political culture. Tough Guise 2 stands to empower a new generation of young men — and women — to challenge the myth that being a real man means putting up a false front and engaging in violent and self-destructive behavior.