Man Oh Man

Growing up male in America
Year Released
Film Length(s)
18 mins


Man Oh Man takes a loving, curious look at the forces which mold young boys into men. Men from all walks of life speak with humor and sadness about what is expected of them. This film explores personal definitions of masculinity, inter-gender communications, self-worth, gender stereotyping, and changing roles. As an honest representation of one filmmaker's glimpse into the male world, it is guaranteed to spark audience interest and stimulate discussion.

Featured review

A refreshing, stunning new film on American men produced through the eyes and obvious talent of a young woman, J Clements-"it hasn t been easy to make this film but it is worth my effort to see men for who they are and where they have came from and not just who I want them to be". Through a creative, carefully selected pastiche of personal archival family footage, off-camera interviews with men of varying backgrounds, ages and attitudes, and a principal on-camera interview with rock musician, Jeff Ebbage, as well as personal narration and title cards from the filmmaker's perspective viewers are presented a thought-provoking overview of today's changing man. In addition to presenting alarming statistics regarding men concerning the toll their traditional masculinity demands, various men share their thoughts on fathers, sports, suicide, youth, women, the business world, etc. "Once it (masculinity) sucks you in, you can't stop it becomes an obsession." Producer Clements offers a lively juxtaposition of cross-cultural images of women and men (girls and boys) as narrative background to poignant statements by men regarding their lives. "Being a successful man is being true to myself it might be trite and corny but it is accurate." This gentle, quiet, technically sound film offers a non-threatening--but vivid re-examination of masculinity. Jeff Ebbage's original soundtrack of guitar music lightly carries viewers through the film's information packed 18 minutes. Man Oh Man deserves current attention as must viewing for high school and college students, adults who work with youth, college courses focusing on family and community life, social psychologists, psychologists, and educators from the elementary level onward as well as local and national women's and men's organizations.
Nurturing Today
David Giveans


Clements surveyed men and boys on the street to find out about what it means to be male. She interviewed men from all walks of life, rich and poor, urban and rural, and old and young. She uses her own family footage with her father, as well as family footage from Jeff Ebbage, the main interviewee. At just 18 minutes in length it makes for the perfect discussion starter. Man Oh Man, though made a long time ago, is still relevant for today. How are things different? How are things the same? Are men still socialized to hide their emotions? Is there pressure to be the strongest one in the room? What are the implications of that for men?


A young woman seeking to understand the men in her life is drawn to the idea of gathering from average American men their comments about what it means to them to be male. The result is this video montage of men, at work and at play, sharing their thoughts on life and manhood. The narrator's voice-over recollections of her own childhood and youth are interwoven with the interviews to reveal how her relations with men have always been clouded, obscured by the prevailing stereotypes of what men ought to be. Quoted statistics showing higher mortality, disease, and suicide rates for men bear out her sense of the deleterious effects of those stereotypes, while comments from the individuals interviewed reflect the problems many experience in trying to live up to the societal expectations that they be aggressive, competitive, sexually assertive, warlike, emotionally reserved, all-knowinq, and all-powerful. An outstanding film on the male in our society today, and excellent material to motivate discussion on the subject. Recommended. Subject Areas: Sociology, Social Comment, Guidance
Landers Film Review
Landers Film Review
If you want to understand men beyond our roles as protectors, breadwinner and warrior, then see this film.
Dr. Shepherd Bliss
Dr. Shepherd Bliss
Sensetive and unique. It provides an excellent springboard for discussion. Its broad appeal makes it a practical and valuable addition to the collection of academic, secondary, and public libraries. Highly recommended.
Debra Gilchrist
Librarian, Pacific Lutheran University
Young American boys receive many conflicting messages about acceptable behavior. Is it okay for them to cry, play with dolls, and want to be more like their mothers than their fathers? This documentary explores how American society conveys messages about how a boy or young man should act that are often quite different than those conveyed to their female counterparts. Stereotypes and modern roles for men are also discussed.
Elizabeth Smith
NY Times

Awards and Screenings

Regional Winner, Student Emmy Awards, 1987
Silver Apple, National Educational Film and Video Festival, 1987
Finalist, American Film & Video Festival, 1987

Director Commentary

I made this film as my thesis film (yes 16mm)--back in the late 1980s. This film still resonates with viewers--I know because I sometimes show it to high school classes, and the students say--YES, this is still part of our culture, our socialization.

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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