Several months ago I had the opportunity to attend a special screening for “The Mask You Live In,” a documentary that explores how our boys navigate America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

Produced by The Representation Project, which “inspires individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting stereotypes so that everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, or circumstance, can fulfill their human potential,” I found so much in the film that mirrored my own view of masculinity, especially the way I saw it as a young boy. It can take a lot of work to un-do the damage our culturally accepted messaging creates, and some of the individuals featured in the documentary are doing great things in that effort.

Take a look at the trailer.

The film is currently available for community, school, and corporate screenings, but may be more universally available in the future. For more information, visit the film’s website here.

Nick Coughlin

Nick Coughlin is the founder and publisher of Compassionate Man. He lives in South Minneapolis with his two dogs, Onyx and Boli. You can reach him by emailing

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