Straightlaced – How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up

// 11 January 2009

Straightlaced.jpgThis film – made up of 50 interviews with US teens – sounds like an interesting project:

There is no disputing the fact that gender-based stereotypes and anti-gay attitudes affect the lives of all students today. The pressure to conform to conventional expectations about gender is strongly tied to anti-gay attitudes-the girls who won’t play sports because they don’t want to be called “lezzies”; the boys who make crude comments about girls’ bodies just to prove to their peers that they aren’t gay; the students who won’t raise their hands in class because it’s gay to be smart.

Straightlaced provides a way into a much-needed dialogue about gender roles and homophobia among teenagers. With refreshing honesty, the diverse youth in the film open up about the pressure to conform to rigid gender role expectations. Boys who have to act tough even though they may feel vulnerable, or girls who have to dress provocatively just to fit in, reveal the toll it takes on them to live up to gender role expectations and how that limits who they really want to be.

There are very few media resources for teens that address anti-gay prejudice, and those that do, focus solely on the lives of young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Straightlaced not only includes the perspectives of teens who self-identify as LGBT it focuses on straight teenagers and those who identify themselves on all points of the gender spectrum.

Any student who watches the film will find someone whose experience with these issues mirrors their own. This is not a film for students about “those other people” — it is a film about them. Audiences will walk away from the film inspired to challenge anti-gay assumptions and actions among others, and for themselves.

You can watch the trailer on the production company’s website – the film premiers this week in the US. It’s also worth checking out the clips from their other films.

(H/T Sokari & CampbellX)

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