Tough Guise is a very informative and not only disturbing, but also disheartening, documentary that showcases the impacts that violence and masculinity can have on men and everyone else in society. Throughout my entire life I have always considered the extreme amounts of grotesque violence and gore associated with video games, movies, and even sports as a culturally acceptable reason of what it takes to “be a man” and while that is still true to some extent, our society as a whole needs to change and conform to the new ways that violence is negatively impacting our society. I had always assumed that men were most responsible for crime and destruction in our country, but after seeing the staggering statistics, it shows that violence in this country is a problem that there is no exact answer of how to fix it. The ideals, values, and norms of what true strength and toughness in our society has changed significantly over the last few decades and the increasing amounts of violence and crime have put us in a place where as a society we need to change or we will continue to see extreme acts of destruction often in our country and around the world.
One of the most resounding storylines throughout the entire video was the impact that the media has on this violence and the ways in which they portray these events to the public will directly impact the way we all think about violence as a whole. When there is an event like a mass shooting at an elementary school, politicians and businessmen alike will use this as a platform to pitch to the public their solutions to stopping these types of violence. For example, directly proceeding the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murder, the CEO of the National Rifleman’s Association said, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun”. Groups such as the NRA and big time Hollywood directors and studios of movies with an enormous amount of guns, killing, and blood constantly butt heads over the true cause of gun violence in our country. In reality an argument could be made that both are at fault or it could be made that neither are at fault, but what is known is that the mentality of these people who commit these treacherous acts are not simply just those with mental illness. Instead those who have been bullied, picked on, made fun over, harassed, belittled, and treated inhumane take opportunities like these as a personal vendetta against the world to make up for all the wrong that has been done to them in the only way they know possible.
Many argue that the line of acceptance of violence in sports, movies, and video games vs. real life instances of mass terror and killing is a very subjective line. Fans of sports teams and players will condone and endorse big hits and borderline dirty play in order to reinforce the cultural values associated with being a “tough guy” in the sports world but seem to not understand how there could be instances of this violence outside the sports world. This problem in our society runs deeper than just sports, but more of an identity problem in which men no longer know what exactly for it takes for them to be considered a man and will do many things to overcompensate to show the world they are deserving of their man card. This video brings to life and explains how many of the different instances of inequality not only in sports but also in our society can impact individuals in different ways and hence can cause them to make an irrational decision to prove to the world how tough and masculine they are. Our society has changed quite a bit from the ways it used to be in the 50’s and 60’s and with those changes comes new responsibilities for men to act in ways that yes, assert their masculinity and toughness to the world, but also in ways in which they can be considered “normal” members of society.
Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood and American Culture. Dir. Jackson Katz, Jason Young, Jeremy Earp, and Sut Jhally. UCF/Kanopy, 2013. Film.