Health and Wellness Films Explore Identity Culture

As part of Berkshire's Health and Wellness: Decisions, Identity, Development program, fourth form students at Berkshire participated in two film screenings this winter. The films are part of the The Representation Project.

On Nov. 5, students screened Miss Representation, a film that explores the idea of female leadership, specifically the portrayal of women in popular media as having value based on youth or appearance. The second film, The Mask You Live In, was shown on Jan. 6. The film explores how young men can stay true to themselves within America's narrow definition of masculinity.

The screening of these films, and the subsequent breakout discussion groups and in-class discussions, tie into the Health and Wellness curriculum both in continuing to help students think about how they define their own identity, but also how they stay true to themselves in social situations and in the face of peer pressure which was the primary focus of the fall curriculum.

As the second semester of Health and Wellness curriculum moves to focus on healthy relationships and reproductive health, the films provide students with a foundation for thinking about how gender is portrayed in media and social media, and how these portrayals can lead to internalized messages about everything from appearance to how-to approach friendships and dating relationships.

"These films are important for students as they open up a conversation for students about popular culture and gender norms and expectations," said Tess Adams, health and wellness coordinator at Berkshire. "These conversations are essential during a time developmentally when social relationships, social acceptance, and self image become a primary focus for many young people."