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Cut cover image

Cut 2003


Distributed by Fanlight Productions, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by the Department of Communications, Stanford University
Directed by Elizabeth Pearson and Sally Rubin
VHS, color, 9 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Psychology, Health Sciences

Date Entered: 06/18/2004

Reviewed by Dean Hendrix, Health Sciences Library, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

The discussion surrounding adolescents’ body image, media representations of the human body and body dysmorphic disorder has usually concerned females. In the film, Cut, Elizabeth Pearson and Sally Rubin elucidate these issues from the male perspective. By piecing together interviews of six teenage males from Palo Alto High School in California, the filmmakers created a brief and cursory study of this emerging psychological issue. Though each boy provides a unique perspective to the conversation, the common thread that runs within their discourse is the desire and pressure to be big and muscular. Each boy makes the jump in logic that a muscular physique results in confidence, and that confidence results in popularity amongst boys and girls alike. Though some of the interviewees brush this assertion off verbally, their actions connote that body image is something extremely important to them. The male students’ preoccupation with body image is backed up by recent research.   With the insights coming from their peer group, high school students enrolled in health and psychology classes can benefit from watching this film.

Cut is recommended for high school media centers due to its scope, brevity and currency. For in-depth study of this issue, consult the footnoted articles or the books, The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis of Male Body Obsession by Harrison Pope and Looking Good: Male Body Image in Modern America by Lynne Luciano.

1. Leit, Richard A., Gray, James J. and Harrison G. Pope, Jr. "The Media's Representation of the Ideal Male Body: A Cause for Muscle Dysmorphia?" International Journal of Eating Disorders 31.3 (2002): 334-8.
2. O'Dea, Jennifer A. and Patrick A. Rawstone. "Male Adolescents Identify their Weight Gain Practices, Reasons for Desired Weight Gain, and Source of Weight Gain Information." Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 101.1 (2001): 105-7.
3. Pope, Harrison G., Jr., et al. "Body Image Perception Among Men in Three Countries." American Journal of Psychiatry 157.8 (2000): 1297-301.