When filmmaker Michael Rohrbaugh began directing his latest short film American Male, he says “the goal of the film was to explore America’s narrow, and often toxic, notions of what it means to be a man.”
Rohrbaugh believes that thanks to centuries of homophobia, many young men (both straight and closeted) walk around secretly terrified that they’ll be labeled “gay” – a term too many Americans still conflate with being “weak” or “less-than”.
As a result, he continued, “these young men overcompensate, adhering to strict gender norms that restrict who they’re allowed to be, and how they’re allowed to behave. Unfortunately, this need to overcompensate often comes with a serious psychological toll.”
You can watch the stunning film below:
American Male is a winner of MTV Network’s Look Different Creator Competition, which invited emerging filmmakers to create groundbreaking films on the topic of privilege. Created by filmmaker Michael Rohrbaugh – www.michaelrohrbaugh.com – the film explores issues of masculinity, shame, and internalized homophobia.
This fall, Rohrbaugh will be directing a network documentary exploring LGBT issues in American sports. He will also be going to market with his feature script, American Grunt, a military drama set during the final days of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Rohrbaugh is extremely grateful for the opportunity to share this deeply personal film with the help of MTV Networks.