The Mask You Live In Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'The Mask You Live In' is a film by director Jennifer Siebel Newsom that examines the culture of toxic masculinity that contributes to psychological and societal problems. This asset contains classroom discussion questions about this documentary. Updated: 05/23/2019

The Mask You Live In

Jennifer Siebel Newsom is a documentary filmmaker who examines gender-based social norms and their impact on children. In 'The Mask You Live In,' the practice of socializing boys to be hypermasculine and its effect on society is scrutinized. The questions in this asset will guide classroom discussions about this film.


The questions in this section explore the social norms for boys.

  • The film opens with a George Orwell quote, 'He wears a mask and his face grows to fit it…' What do you think the quote means? Why do you think the filmmaker chose this quote? Provide an example from your life of this quote in action.
  • What does 'be a man' mean in today's society? What effect does this phrase have on boys? What are some character traits and actions that are associated with masculinity? Compare the expectations of girls and boys. How do you think the differences affect all children?
  • Compare scientific gender differences to culturally-based gender differences. Where do boys get messages about masculinity? What are some ways you've been conditioned to behave based on gender norms?
  • How has fatherhood changed over the last couple of generations? How are fathers relearning their role? What challenges do they face?
  • Compare relationships between men to relationships between women. How do social messages inhibit men's relationships? Why do boys bully each other?


The questions in this section will help students understand the problems associated with society's view of masculinity.

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