The Boy Game (DVD 8955) views bullying from a gendered perspective. The film – only 16 minutes long – posits that the bullying epidemic is in part caused by social pressure among boys to conform to the resilient, tough gender norms common among males of their age group. Interestingly, The Boy Game is not a documentary, but rather a short film that uses a fictionalized encounter based on real testimony. Its story of three boys struggling with their outward image is used to draw attention to real gender and social pressures.
Official description from the distributor's website:
The Boy Game tackles bullying among boys at its core:the culture of toughness and silence boys live by. Targets need to be protected, absolutely, but rather than vilify bullies, The Boy Game looks to unpack the the complex dynamics that lead some boys to bully and the majority to stand watching in silent conflict.
The truth is all boys suffer under cultural codes that demand toughness and silence. Boys desperately need a way to talk about the painful gender straitjacketing they are subject to, to develop the resilience needed to stand up, be themselves, and redefine masculinity in terms of emotional, tolerant strength.
Based on off-the-record interviews with boys nationwide, then fashioned into a hard hitting scenario, it was shot like a doc to capture the intense pressures boys face every day.