Divine's 'You Think You're A Man' is one of the most misunderstood songs of the 80s.
Written by a drag artist and designed as an attack on toxic masculinity, it became embraced as an Australian drinking song by a generation of lads immersed in heterosexual rugby league culture.
The song bubbled up to the surface once more when director Kim Gehrig began reflecting on shifts in Australian identity, in particular the hardening - in every respect - of masculinity.
"Having grown up in Sydney, but residing in London, I couldn’t help but notice the changing size of men on each of my visits back," she explained recently. "Hanging at the beach I became aware of how pumped up Aussie men had become. I continued to observe a culture of young men who seemed to feel a kind of pressure to conform somehow. To be something quite specific."
"Was it that they felt they needed to be ‘real men’. ‘Real Aussie men’. And what did that even mean?"
Working on a short film, fellow Australian artist Kirin J Callinan agreed to cover Divine's song, adding a maudlin sense of mystique to 'You Think You're A Man'.
Exceptionally well shot, the subsequent film focussed on Australian beach culture, an attempt to observe and understand this shift. Kim continues: "As a woman, I felt it might be interesting to lend a female gaze to the subject matter and this film is the result of that. I was not interested however in placing judgement on anyone or blaming any one thing... I just wanted to try and understand how it feels to be a young boy growing up in a culture where there are such specific expectations on what it means to be a man."
Produced by Revolver and Somesuch, you can check out the film below.
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