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09/22/2016 09:45 am ET

New Film Takes A Hard Look At Masculinity And Homophobia In America

"So many of the social norms we've been taught are rooted in discrimination."

A riveting new short film is taking a gripping and unfiltered look at the effects of masculine ideals on both American culture and the actions and development of men who may be attracted to men.

“American Male” is the winner of MTV’s Look Different Creator Competition, which invited up-and-coming filmmakers to create work surrounding the topic of privilege.

The powerful film examines the toxic masculinity often pervasive in groups of young, American men and the way disturbing interplay that can be found between same-sex desire and violent homophobia within that group. Filmmaker Michael Rohrbaugh told The Huffington Post that he wanted to showcase the ways in which young, American men navigate a culture of overcompensation to “prove their manhood,” resulting in a heavy psychological toll.

“I would like for viewers to gain a better understanding of what life feels like in the closet,” Rohrbaugh told The Huffington Post. “I also hope they’ll reflect upon their own lives and think about falsehoods that might be holding them back. So many of the social norms we’ve been taught are rooted in discrimination, and so many young people are taught to feel ashamed of who they are, raised to believe that ‘there’s something wrong with them,’ that ‘they’re not normal’ or ‘not who they should be.’ Those types of lies are really destructive, which is why they must be exposed and debunked.”

“American Male” can be viewed above, and head here to lean more about MTV’s Look Different Creator Competition.

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