Hyper-masculinity in Moonlight

The subject of hyper-masculinity in African-American males shines in “Moonlight”. The film follows the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles with his identity and sexuality in the ghettos of Miami. The main character, Chiron, faces the crisis of being a homosexual black male. To further add, the lifestyle of where he lives places him at a disadvantage. From a young age, black men are taught to be “tough”, “cold”, and “hostile”. Anything that doesn’t fit the criteria of being “gangster” or “hard” leads one to the idea of homosexuality. But why is being homosexual a sign of being weak? If showing emotion and being expressive means you’re not “masculine”, how does this affect our relationships with others, also ourselves? What does it mean to be a “man”? What does it mean to be “homosexual”? Why are categorical definitions given to each term? In the film, not being hyper-masculine caused Chiron to be bullied. Why are children teased for this behavior? For being silent? For being “soft”? For not being being so aggressive in all they do? I believe teaching our boys to shy away from showing emotions and being transparent about their feelings leads to a life full of faulty relationships and identity issues. Navigating our boys to believe they should lack empathy eventually builds up feelings of desolation and sorrow. “Moonlight” delivers the topic of hyper-masculinity in a way that shows all, no sugarcoating.

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