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Screening of “Masculinity/Femininity” with Q&A from Russell Sheaffer

Written by: Communicator StaffNovember 05, 2014

Madolyn Murray

As part of the Transgender Awareness Week held by IPFW’s Resource Center, a screening of Russell Sheaffer’s documentary, “Masculinity/Femininity”, will be held in the Walb Classic Ballroom Thursday, Nov. 6 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The screening will have a Q&A session and meet and greet with Sheaffer, who will also be on hand for a workshop before hand in Walb 114 from 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

“Masculinity/Femininity” is an experimental film in which artists, film theorists, filmmakers, gender theorists and academics are asked three questions that lead to performance art that serves as a commentary on how people define gender, especially the “binary” understanding of gender as being simply being male or female. “Masculinity/Femininity” has its roots in “Masculinity & Me”, a previous short film collaboration between Sheaffer and James Franco, as a commentary on ideal masculinity and the restrictive nature of trying to fit those expectations. When asked about how culture plays a role in that, Shaeffer said “What happens, though, when we have very specific ideas of what qualifies as man -or any other identity category, really – is that we set ourselves up for failure. There is no way that I’m ever going to be that perfect idea of man you have in your head.”

Screenings of the film have been at both film festivals and university campuses besides IPFW. Shaeffer said “People have been so eager to talk after the screenings – sometimes for hours) – and it seems like the film has the ability to really push people – folks very familiar with gender theory and folks who have never encountered gender theory before – to revisit their own ideas.”

He mentioned the recent push for transgender awareness, along with the idea of non-binary gender and the dialogs that result could assist people working out their own gender presentation.