By Douglas Taplin & Richard Gaudio
National Film Board of Canada
Our culture is obsessed with youth, and with the distorted images of youth and beauty conveyed by the mass media, so it's no surprise that young people often become equally obsessed with trying to mold themselves to fit those stereotypes. Girls may starve themselves or purge in pursuit of the impossible thinness of a fashion model, while boys may exercise endlessly and gulp down diet supplements and steroids, trying to achieve the muscular, "shredded" or "ripped," image of action-movie stars and comic book superheroes.
This provocative documentary hangs out with a diverse group of teenage boys whose lives are focused on transforming their bodies. It explores the damaging lengths to which they go, and the risks they are willing to take, to achieve the ideal male shape portrayed by the media. "If this screws me up, it screws me up," says one. "I want to get big quick." They spend hours alternately on the weight bench and in front of the mirror. They have endless conversations about their weight goals and their body-fat percentages. But they also talk with a long-time body-builder, who tells them that one hundred percent of the people she has competed against in her career have experienced health problems (including death) as a result of what they have done to their bodies.
This documentary is designed to provoke discussion and encourage further exploration among teenagers, both boys and girls, about healthy body image and about where to draw the line between healthy and dangerous behavior.
DVD version has both closed-captions and audio description.
Purchase $219 DVD
Order No. QA-436
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-820-0
Awards & Conference Screenings
Director's Citation, Black Maria Film Festival
Western Psychological Association
Finalist, International Health & Medical Media Competition
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