The 9 Best Documentaries About Masculinity

Sep 21, 2023 | Best Of, Sexuality, Social

When it comes to understanding masculinity, there’s no better way to do so than through the lens of documentaries. Documentaries offer a unique and immersive approach to exploring both culture and history that can really help us get an in-depth look. From exploring toxic masculinity to examining the role of men in modern society, these films provide an invaluable opportunity to learn more about ourselves and the world around us. Here are some of the best documentaries about masculinity that will give you a better understanding of what it means to be a man.


1. Toxic masculinity in Canada | Paradise Canada

Canada is a paradise for equality – or at least, that’s the image Canadian society holds. But underneath the surface lies a complex and often toxic relationship between men and women. Emy Koopman sheds light on this struggle in her documentary Toxic Masculinity in Canada, exploring how traditional gender roles can be challenged in the modern era. Through interviews with people on the front lines of this fight, she reveals how gender stereotypes often fall short when it comes to creating meaningful change. We hear from activists and experts who are challenging the standards of masculinity that can result in violence or discrimination towards women. With a special focus on indigenous communities, Koopman highlights how these issues intersect with colonialism and colonization.


2. India’s Positive Masculinity Movement (Boys Who Like Girls)

Ved lives in the Mumbai slums, a place plagued with toxic masculinity. Under the guidance of Harish, a kind-hearted gentleman pushing for change, Ved discovers that he can move beyond the expectations set by his father and make something positive out of his life. Through Harish’s help, Ved embarks on an unexpected journey as he takes his first steps into adulthood and falls in love with dancing. India’s Positive Masculinity Movement has enabled Ved to find his own path, and now he stands as a symbol of the impact that can be achieved through positive masculine influence.


3. ‘Be A Man’: Modernists and Traditionalists Debate Masculinity

The concept of masculinity has become a topic of discussion amongst modernists and traditionalists. How do these two sides view the role of men in society? This documentary dives into their perspectives on the definition of manhood, exploring topics such as societal expectations, gender roles, and more. Viewers will gain insight into why some believe that certain traits are expected of men, while others are pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a “man.” The film also looks at how these views have changed over time and how they might continue to evolve in the future. What is masculinity? This documentary offers an in-depth look at this question, offering a thought-provoking exploration into one of today’s most relevant topics.


4. Men Vs Money: Exploring Modern Masculinity (Grayson Perry Documentary)

Modern masculinity is an ever-evolving concept, and Grayson Perry dives into this idea in his documentary Men Vs Money. In this captivating exploration of 21st century England, he examines how various aspects of the male gender identity interact with wealth and power on a societal level. From interviewing powerful business men to chatting with average Joes, Grayson Perry gives an insightful and nuanced look at the complex relationship between modern masculinity and money. He offers a unique perspective on male identity in today’s society, delving into both the positive and negative aspects of the phenomenon.


5. The New Wave of American Masculinity

The American male is constantly redefining what masculinity means. From competitive eaters to stay-at-home dads, there are a variety of ways that men are challenging traditional definitions of machoism. Join Gavin Haynes, UK Correspondent, as he journeys across the United States to explore this new wave of American masculinity in full. Witness firsthand the beauty and diversity of male identity in all its forms, from the testosterone-driven activities like fraternity hazings and monster truck rallies to quieter expressions of strength found in men’s support groups.


6. Bankers Repulsed By Grayson Perry’s Ode To Masculinity

City traders and hedge fund managers in London are known for their rational demeanor. However, Grayson Perry believes that the strong instinctive feelings of aggression and passion haven’t been completely forgotten in the journey from hunting mammoths to clicking mice. In order to express this sentiment, he created a thought-provoking art exhibition in the City of London which challenged its audience. The bankers and businessmen were met with his intricate sculptures and portraits, which depicted the complex nature of masculinity in modern society.


7. Toxic masculinity and gender roles | “Boys Who Like Girls

Ved was no longer just a naive teen, but one who had to grapple with the realities of growing up in a society that was faced with the MeToo movement – and how it shaped gender roles. Taking his first steps into adulthood, Ved found solace in Harish – an inspirational mentor who is passionate about eradicating toxic masculinity. This documentary follows their journey as they confront the challenges of gender expectations and redefine what it means to be a man. From this inspiring story, we learn that strength is not measured by traditional norms; rather, strength comes from standing up for what is right — even if it means going against societal conventions.


8. Police Vs Criminals | Exploring Modern Masculinity (Grayson Perry Documentary)

In today’s society, masculinity is evolving in different ways. How do men define themselves and their roles in society? Artist Grayson Perry attempts to answer this question by exploring the lives of both police officers and local criminals living in 21st century England. Nearly 80% of crime in the UK are committed by men – a statistic that highlights how complex gender identities can be. In this documentary, Grayson Perry dives into the lives of both law-abiding citizens and criminals alike to uncover similarities and differences in their respective approaches to masculinity. He meets with police officers who are responsible for maintaining law and order while also spending time with local criminals who have chosen a life of crime.


9. What Even Is Masculinity

What Is Masculinity?This documentary explores the often misunderstood and mislabeled concept of masculinity. Through interviews with both men and women from all walks of life, it seeks to answer that question in a way that is open to all sides of the discussion. We hear stories from those who have benefited from traditional gender roles, as well as individuals who have felt disadvantaged by them.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B