January 9, 2019 –
Resistance Films 1/9/19 Wed. 6:30 – 8:30 pm Forbes Library, Northampton, community room downstairs.
“Boys Like Us” –filmed in Northampton by a Northampton High School senior--explores how masculinity in progressive communities is expressed and created as well as the ways men participate in gender equality. Interviews with community leaders, men’s group members, parents, students, teachers, and professors offer insight into this invisible topic. The documentary focuses on Northampton, Massachusetts, a city with a history of female empowerment from the founding of the all women's Smith College in 1871 to being dubbed "Lesbianville" U.S.A in 1992. Deploying scholar Loretta Ross's strategy of “calling in,” this film engages men with privilege and power as important actors of social justice in order to understand how they can help advance feminism and destroy toxic masculinity.
Filmmaker Sylvia Thread created “Boys Like Us”, as her senior capstone project at NHS. She intends to major in film and human rights. She is interested in how the art of film can educate people, particularly about social justice issues. She believes that film can be an influential tool that can empower the oppressed and cultivate empathy. In high school, she ran the Feminist Collective and organized Social Justice Week. As a senior Shread created Boys Like Us a documentary that studies masculinity in progressive towns like Northampton. The film was inspired by Loretta Ross's form of “calling in” activism and Syl's interest in toxic masculinity. The idea was sparked by the realization that while she could educate herself and the women around her on feminist issues, that did not stop men from catcalling, sexually assaulting, and controlling women through violence. Using a critical feminist lens, Shread started to listen to men talk about their role in society as actors in the feminist movement or as bystanders confused by violent masculinity.
Three Northampton men interviewed in the film—Tom Weiner, Thomas Schiff, and Bill Dwight—will participate in a post-film panel discussion .
Bios of panelists:
Bill Dwight served as a Northampton City Councilor for 16 years, and was Council President for six years. He was a local radio program host for six years: a brief stint taking over for Rachel Maddow on the River, then five years doing the Bill Dwight Show which is now the Bill Newman Show. He advised folks on film choices at Pleasant St Video for 25 years.
He still serves as the Council liaison to the Northampton Mayor’s Youth Commission. You can now find him selling pies at the Florence Pie Bar. (He adds: “ I drove a truck for six years. I was a clown for a magic act once. Pipeline worker. Bouncer. Bartender. Farm worker. Stuff like that. “
Tom Weiner is a retired 3rd-6th grade teacher who taught for 40 years at the Smith College Campus School in Northampton. He is the author of 3 books, Called to Serve: Stories of Men and Women Confronted by Vietnam War Draft (adapted into the play, “The Draft” and available as a film of the play), Photographed Letters on Wings: How Microfilmed V-Mail Helped Win World War II, and Intimate Stories: Four Men’s and Women’s Support Groups Share Their Reflections. He has been in a pro-feminist men’s group for 29 years. He is married and has four children and four grandchildren.
Tom Schiff, Ed.D. Director of Phallacies, Inc., that engages men in critical conversations and direct action to challenge mainstream ideas of masculinity and foster physical and emotional health and community well-being.
Tom has over 35 years of experience working with men and boys on issues of health, leadership, violence, race and racism, sexual harassment, sexism, and homophobia. He has worked public school systems, small local non-profits, health care organizations and the National Football League. He founded the UMass Amherst Men and Masculinities Center, and as an adjunct faculty member in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UMass.