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Film reminds students that sexism still exists

The+official+poster+for+%E2%80%9CThe+Bro+Code+illustrates+pop+culture+examples+of+sexism+in+our+society.+++From+the+official+Facebook+page
The official poster for “The Bro Code illustrates pop culture examples of sexism in our society.   From the official Facebook page

The official poster for “The Bro Code illustrates pop culture examples of sexism in our society. From the official Facebook page

The official poster for “The Bro Code illustrates pop culture examples of sexism in our society. From the official Facebook page

Jennifer Manalili

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An audience of sixty filed into the Saville Theatre to watch a presentation of the documentary “The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men” with director Dr. Thomas Keith.

The film which screened on Oct. 1 begs to ask  the question “Has anything really changed today?” With all of the advancements made throughout history does our culture still “sexist, dangerously sexist?”

“…In 2012, women are still thought to be looked upon as hostile and detrimental while men are encouraged to be sexist and misogynistic,” Keith said, “The kind of masculinity that continues to churn out. What can we do about that?”

The film highlights the sexism that prevails and remains relevant, and the outlets from which they are broadcast.

“Men are not born devaluing women, or objectifying them, or loathing them to the point that the worst possible insult is to be called feminine,” says btchflks.com. “No, men (and women) learn these attitudes from a culture that constantly reinforces the supremacy of the male and closely polices masculinity.”

The film depicts this conditioning process in four steps: Train Men to Womanize, Immerse Men in Porn, Make Rape Jokes and Obey the Masculinity Cops.

To illustrate these steps it makes pop culture references to celebrities like Ke$ha and Kim Kardashian and includes clips from “Rock of Love,” “Flavor of Love,” “Grand Theft Auto,” “Superbad” and many others.

“Womanizing at its core, is about power and entitlement and stripping down masculinity is all about controlling women…How are young men following womanizing acts of the past?” the film asks and points at MTV ratings juggernaut “Jersey Shore” as one answer.

“The show highlights traditional, old-fashioned sexist ways. Men are to get as much sex as they can with however many partners they can. And women are meant to compete with other women for the prize of being the sexiest, the naughtiest,” Keith said. “It did not create this idea but it reinforced it.”

“Kids will imitate Britney or the latest Britney clone,” said one commentator. “TV producers will imitate what kids are doing. And then no one is really creating anything.”

The film argues that media has trained men to be womanizers, citing fictional characters like James Bond and “Iron Man’s” Tony Stark as examples. And the idea remains prominent in music, where hip-hop culture expects women to be submissive and sexual.

“The idea is everywhere…If you aren’t the womanizing archetype then you aren’t a ‘real’ man.’ Men who don’t fit the “bro” archetype, including gay men or anyone considered a little feminine, are belittled.”

“Bro Code” speaks of pop culture’s growing reliance on rape jokes, citing “Family Guy” as one source, and also addresses gonzo porn, a genre experiencing growing widespread popularity within the past decade.

Gonzo refers to what Keith calls a “Very toxic, very angry. More hostile,” genre of pornography where viewers are attracted to seeing women degraded. He says the emergence could be a reaction to a growing gender dynamic, as women gain more titles in society.

“…Women outnumber men on college campuses. As women gain more power there seems to be a backlash coming from men in the form of this gonzo porn. I’ve heard men say and I quote ‘It’s putting women in their place. Getting more even.’”

Keith says that a new generation of men and women who oppose the bigotry and these stereotypes is the only hope for a future with gender equality.

“When kids start hearing these things, where are they taking it in their lives? …Environment can have a big impact. Socialization plays a big role. Lets see what we can do,” he said.

The message of the film has gained mileage, screening at colleges and conferences across the country, even stretching to South Africa and New Zealand.

Keith received a bachelor of arts in philosophy and a Masters and Ph.D in philosophy. He currently teaches at CSU Long Beach and California Polytechnic University and dedicates his work to anti-sexist and gender equality efforts.

His previous film, “Generation M: Misogyny in Media and Culture,” was released in 2008.

The event was held in partnership with the World Cultures Program.

For more information on Keith and the “Bro Code” film visit www.tomkeith.net.

For a list of World Cultures events visit www.sdcity.edu/worldcultures.

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Film reminds students that sexism still exists