In an ongoing attempt to recreate how our society and culture sees manhood, Women Make movies and A call to men are creating an interactive video game that allows you to interact witht he video and actually learn at the same time.

We must do everything we can to recreate our view of what it is to be a man…otherwise the violence and the dead bodies will continue to rise.  What it is to be a man, in many families, begin to be taught at birth. every decision is corrected and re corrected until you make the right decisions in  he way that the older males in the family decide is the correct choice.  This archaic form of creating the male gender to be an emotionless, testosterone drunk, sex crazed, womanizer needs to be eradicated form the annals of anthropology.

this new game might be just the catalyst to do this….but they need help. Here’s the whole story here, or you can read it here:

The Boy Game is a first of its kind interactive website that tackles bullying by engaging kids in a critical look at this culture’s hyper masculine norms of toughness.  Michael Kimmel, Pulitzer Prize nominated author of Manhood in America says, “if the conversation about bullying is going to advance, this is the project that will help us advance it”. We need to protect targets better, no question about it, but to deal with the toxic and pervasive bully/target/bystander crisis we need to stop just vilifying bullies and begin to unpack the complicated dynamics of boys that get swept up in the dyanmics of bullying and the many bystanders who are caught in the tense position of wanting to fit in while being totally uncomfortable with the aggression around them.  Violence breeds violence.  Victims are far more likely to become perpetrators.  This cutting edge site will be a free resource for educators nationwide to engage kids in a real discussion about the complex dynamics of the world boys live and how it could be different. How does this concern girls?  This project was started at the Ms. Foundation when they realized to ever a safe world for girls we need to first look at a culture that equates masculinity with toughess.  This is a world where boys oppress girls and terrorize gay youth to prove their masculinity. On the site kids choose one of three characters whose lives are intertwined to go through the story with: Reynaldo, who masks his own insecurities by acting tough who targets Noel, quiet and artistic, who is initially too scared of looking weak to say anything and Kenny, the bystander, deeply conflicted by wanting the protection and camraderie of Reynaldo’s group and to be friends with Noel. Based on off-the-record interviews with boys nationwide, then fashioned into a hard hitting scenario, it’s shot like a doc, to  capture the intense pressures boys face every day.

The site will provide a compelling, game like environment for educators to take middle and high school kids (boys alone and co-ed groups) to explore how the culture of toughness creates a platform for bullying and stops kids from standing up.

  • It will allow users to go into the story from the unique perspective of each of the characters
  • Interactive comics will take users deep into the mind of a bully, a target and a bystander, showing how all are conflicted by both wanting to connect and to seem tough enough
  • Amazing doc interviews with diverse men and boys will shed light on the issues the scenes bring up
  • Kids will be able to upload their videos that reflect their take on the issues and their lives
  • A free downloadable study guide will frame the issues, help educators raise critical dialogue and will have creative exercises to bring home the issues emotionally and intellecutally, including helping kids create their own videos to be uploaded onto the site.

Most importantly will be a free national resource

What we’ve done already

We’ve shot and finished a 16 minute linear version of the project from the vantage point of the bystander that has just been accepted for distribution with New Day Films, the largest social issue distributor in the country.  But we’re on indiegogo now raising money for the website because the website can do so many things a linear video can’t including allowing users to go into through the POV of each of the characters and be a fee resource.

Kenny Sosnowski, who plays the bystander, is the lead on an upcoming Nickelodeon series, ALIEN DAWN:

Director/Producer Background/Track Record

Hi, my name is Deirdre Fishel and I have a 20 year history writing/directing dramas and documentaries.  My dramatic feature Risk premiered in competition at Sundance,  and was broadcast on 35 channels worldwide. My feature doc Still Doing It premiered at SXSW and was broadcast in 15 countries.  Now I’m  excited about a hybrid form in which I interview kids off the record to get at what happens behind closed doors, fashion a hard-hitting scenario that cuts to the meat of the issues, then improv the script with talented actors. The teen dating violence video I did using this technique won a Cine Golden Eagle. To learn more visit:

What We Need

We are looking to raise $25,000 to:

  • Shoot the last 20% of the story assets, including powerful scenes that show boys struggling to organize and stand up, scenes that will provide a realistic tool kit for bystanders.
  • Develop the interactive comics with poignancy and humor that will get at the fears and fantasies all the characters have that lead to action and inaction
  • Build the wire frame for the site with our collaborator Michael Gibson, who developed the Webby-nominated Inside The Haiti Earthquake

With our site this well-developed, we will be in an extraordinary position to get the second $25,000 from either Creative Capital, with whom we’ve made it to the second round of grant reviews, or from the many corporations and foundations interested in being part of a national resource that can be aligned to state mandates for bullying education.

What You Get

  • A tax deductible donation from our fiscal sponsor Women Make Movies
  • Knowing you are part of helping to look at bullying not from the vantage point of the roles boys play, which demonizes bullies, but from the vantage point of a culture that limits all boys
  • Great perks: things like a beautiful poster, The Boy Game DVD, credits on the website, our help producing a video with your group, and more!

The Impact

The culture of toughness promoted in the media, by many coaches and even by some parents, equates masculinity with being silent and tough. Any other emotions are seen as “feminine” or “gay” and leave kids open to ridicule, even assault. Not only do LGBTQ kids suffer under this system, but all kids do. The fact of the matter is no one can fit into this box, because being silent and tough just isn’t human.

Boys desperately need a way to talk about the painful gender straitjacketing to which they are subjected, in order to develop the resilience needed to stand up, be themselves and redefine masculinity in terms of emotional, tolerant strength.

The 16-minute video portion of this project has been accepted for distribution with New Day Films and will begin a massive national launch in August.

Other Ways You Can Help

If you can’t contribute, you can still help:

  • Help us get the word out and make some noise about our campaign using the Indiegogo share tools!
  • If you know a boy or man who you think might be a great subject for one of our interviews, let us know!

Contact us!

Deirdre Fishel –  (718) 638-0028

Alice Shindelar –   (612) 978-4763