Art, Entertainment, Media, Movies

Ring a Belle? (Review of the 2013 movie Belle)

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers of the movie Belle. If you haven’t watched it already, go see it, then come back and read this article! 🙂

Anybody who knows me knows how most of the movies out there tend to annoy the hell out of me. Part of it, I will admit, is because I am a pretty difficult person to satisfy and I always seem to find something to nit pick. But for the most part, what annoys me to no end is how almost every single movie (and TV show) I watch has sexist and/or racist elements in it that just drive me crazy (I’m sure you know the feeling). So just as I tweeted Amma Asante (the director of Belle, who in fact favourited my tweet, yay me!), watching Belle really felt like a much needed breath of fresh air.

Amma Asante faved my tweet

Honestly, when you got yourself a political drama about slavery with just a dash of Jane Austen added to it, it’s hard to go wrong. But what I loved most about the story isn’t only the fact that it centers around a woman of color (which is something that you almost never get to see in movies) but also and mostly that both the fact that the protagonist is a woman, and a person of mixed race wasn’t portrayed in a stereotypical way. What we have with Belle is a story about people, and while certain things that they cannot control (their gender and race) affect their lives and the way society treats them, those elements do not define them.

 belle belle

Regarding women first of all, we see that they are friends, sisters, mothers, daughters, rivals at times. For instance, I really enjoyed the relationship between Dido and Elizabeth which to me, captured what a true friendship generally is. Dido and Beth are like sisters, best friends who tell each other everything and enjoy each other’s company. They look out for each other constantly. When Dido gets to know that she can’t be introduced to society due to the fact that the Mansfields consider that she could never hope to find a suitable match due to the color of her skin, Beth is almost more upset about it than Dido is. Both girls run into each other’s arms for comfort. Because that’s what they are to each other: best friends, sisters, a safe haven. There is a common misconception that women hate each other but, if you are a woman, think for a moment, who are your best friends? Who are the people you feel you can tell anything to, the people who really got your back? Chances are they’re mostly women; and this movie depicted it wonderfully.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dido and Sarah Gadon as Elizabeth

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dido and Sarah Gadon as Elizabeth

Dido also showed Beth much compassion when she offered to give her a portion of her heritage in order to make the latter’s dowry more attractive to potential suitors, or when she gave her a shoulder to cry on when James Ashford turned out refusing her affections. Just like any friendship, though, there have been some rough patches. We see it when Dido confesses to Beth that James Ashford harassed her. Beth, who is completely penniless, and has been pressured into “securing her bread and butter” by finding a suitable husband, reacts very harshly to such a confession, telling Dido that he could never desire her because she is “beneath him”. She hurls out those harsh words partly due to her own racism (let’s keep it real, she’s a white girl in the 1700’s!) and partly because of her despair in seeing her one and only suitor slip through her fingers. That scene could have very easily been portrayed as a cat fight; two silly women fighting, ruining their friendship over a man. However, it came off as two friends saying things that they didn’t really mean, as it often is the case in real life.

hug

Secondly, concerning Dido’s ethnicity, the color of her skin is something that is constantly brought up during the whole movie. Almost every scene has something to do with her blackness and how much of an “Other” she is. While she is well accepted in her white family, she cannot escape that difference. Yet what I enjoyed most was that as much as her “abnormality” seems to be brought up, none of it ever defines her. She is smart, strong-willed and witty, because that is what women of color are, they have their own personality; not because they’re women, not because they are “of color”, but simply because they are humans! That side of it came out beautifully in the movie, and was a pleasant change from the one dimensional, stereotypical women Hollywood insists on feeding us with.

cool belle

However, while the story is set in 1769 England, I found that a lot of things do still ring true in today’s society. For instance, the scene in which Oliver Ashford separates Dido’s ancestry, choosing to ignore her (black) mother’s origins and focus on her “better half” which has “equipped her with loveliness and privilege”, it is something that is still quite rampant in today’s entertainment business. Just look at the amount of shows and movies that cast actors that are black but not “too black”, East Asian, but not “too East Asian”, South Asian, but not “too South Asian”, etc. Why is it that we hardly ever see any actors that look like Lupita N’Yongo, Lucy Liu or Parminder Nagra on our screens? Generally, successful “non-white” actors are those that are lighter skinned and/or have a white connection (Halle Berry, Zoe Saldana, Jessica Alba, Jesse Williams, Kristin Kreuk, Frida Pinto, Wentworth Miller, Vanessa Hudgens, etc.). That is because casting directors, producers, networks and Hollywood as a whole has taught itself to focus on the “better half” of these actors. Because these actors’ appearance is less “ethnic”, therefore making it less “shocking” to what Hollywood deems average audience members are: poor impressionable racist white people. This is obviously a huge misconception on their part. Logic dictates that audience members are diverse and come in different shapes, sizes and colors; and I also know for a fact that most white people are able to relate to characters regardless of their color. Just think about the amount of people that related to the blue aliens from Avatar! Hollywood needs to let go of its bigoted views and understand that what makes a character relateable is good writing, not the color of one’s skin. That is something that Belle has proven brilliantly.

dido n mama

Dido and her adoptive mother, Lady Mansfield, played by Emily Watson

Another thing I found really enjoyable was how being “of color” wasn’t merely shown as something that any one ought to be ashamed of or treat with derision, but rather that it was something to be proud of, something beautiful; a narrative painfully absent in movies. Speaking of people of color as beautiful is indeed something that is still somewhat unheard of in entertainment. In one scene, Dido tells Mr. Davinier that she knows nothing of her mother except for the color she’s inherited from her. “Then at least you know she was beautiful” says Mr. Davinier. You tell’em John!

Mr. Davinier was played by Sam Reid

Mr. Davinier played by Sam Reid

And for good reason! Unfortunately, white guys telling girls of color that they are beautiful, not only inside, but outside as well, is simply non-existent in most movies. Dido’s relationships with men not only breaks that trend, but is also very true to life, mirroring extremely well what women of color too often go through with white men. Mr. Davinier represents the kind of white man that we could date or marry. Then there’s James Ashford. The scene in which he sexually harasses Dido is very telling of what a lot of white men are conditioned to think about us. In that scene, you see in James Ashford’s eyes his repulsion and fear for what is different (Dido’s chocolate skin) mixed with a certain fascination and curiosity (what is different is also novel). That scene embodies the complexity of racism which in the end is a twisted mix of attraction and repulsion. In fact, racists often try to hide their racism by bragging that their best friend/wife/husband is black/asian/jewish/[insert minority]. Both Ashfords illustrate two types of white guys that I must confess I’ve often come across (though definitely not as blatantly). On one hand, there’s James Ashford, the narrow-minded white guy who has been taught and conditioned to feel attracted to only one type of beauty, the “pure English rose”; on the other hand, there’s Oliver Ashford who seems drawn to the “rare and exotic”, like some sort of sick fetishism. Though they are polar opposites when it comes to their feelings for Dido, both brothers objectify her pretty equally, treating her like a “dark body” to be consumed and/or ridiculed. Only Mr. Davinier sees Dido for who she really is, striking a perfect balance between loving her regardless of the color of her skin and recognizing the beauty of that skin.

close up dido

Belle teaches all of us a beautiful lesson of self-worth that remains much too absent in film and dare I say in life. We see how Dido gets engaged to Oliver Ashford so suddenly, despite the fact that she clearly doesn’t love him. Marrying Oliver Ashford is an opportunity of a lifetime for Dido who knows that a woman of her status could never dream of a better match and that marrying into the Ashford family would help secure her place in society, keeping her from having to replace Lady Mary Murray as house keeper. Dido keeps lying to herself, fooling herself into believing that she is in love with Oliver Ashford, because if she did refuse him, who was to say that any other respectable suitor would come her way? Isn’t that something that a lot of people ask themselves? “I don’t really love him/her, but what if I never find what I’m looking for?” That’s how we end up settling for less, rather than taking risks to pursue what it is that we really want. Mr. Davinier strikes the nail on the head when he says, “You are above reducing yourself for the sake of rank. I pray that he would marry you without a penny to your name for that is a man who would truly treasure you.” Through those words, we are taught a lesson that we may have often heard but too often forget.

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While the story is set in the late 1700’s, and addresses the harsh realities women had to deal with at that time, having to sell themselves to secure their future, relegated to nothing “but [men’s] property (…) at the caprice of a silly sir and his fortune”, I found that Lady Mary Murray, played by Downton Abbey‘s own Penelope Wilton (though a supporting character) was very interesting and empowering. As a single woman who often tells Dido and Beth about her one true love that she never married, she could have very easily been portrayed as a pathetic old maid, but on the contrary, she is smart, has strong opinions, wit, is feisty, and in my opinion a true feminist, even advising Beth to “wait for no man”.

costumes

Costumes designed by Anushia Nieradzik

Of course, there is no such thing as perfect and I do have a few issues with this movie, especially regarding its failure to address even in a sentence Dido’s formative years as a slave, as well as her relationship later on with the white servants of the house (who I doubt would have appreciated taking orders from a “mulatto”) as well as with Mabel (her black maid). Addressing these issues would have helped bring more depth to the story and emphasize the harshness and sheer loneliness of Dido’s condition. The absence of such elements did therefore leave me somewhat disappointed. 

dido sees mabel

Finally, I am one of those people who stays in the theater till the very end in order to watch the credits roll, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised to notice the amount of women involved in making this movie. Amma Asante is a British-Ghanain director, though relatively unknown, this was her second feature film and I’m excited to see what else she has in store. Misan Sigay (a black woman) wrote the screenplay (though there has been some controversy over who wrote what between Asante and herself). Due to the fact that I am so obsessed with soundtracks, I have a pretty clear idea of just how male dominated the field of film scores is. You can therefore imagine how ecstatic I was when I realised that Rachel Portman composed the music. For those who don’t know her, she was the first female composer to ever win an Academy Award (you might know her from movies such as Marvin’s Room, Emma or The Duchess) and she certainly did an exquisite job with the score of Belle, giving it a very elegantly haunting Jane Austenish quality. The movie was also edited by two women: Pia Di Ciaula and Victoria Boydell, the costumes designed by Anushia Nieradzik, and women are present in pretty much every aspect of production rather equally to their male counterparts. An honorable mention also goes to the beautiful cinematography provided by Ben Smithard (granted, he’s not a woman, but talent isn’t specific to one gender) who just blew me away with wonderful shots, some of them reminiscent (deliberately or not) of one of the most important movies about women: The Color Purple.

color purple

Dido gazing through her window

The_Color_Purple_poster

Promotional poster of The Color Purple

The quality of this movie is a testament to just how badly the entertainment industry is in need of women and people of color involved in positions of leadership (directing, producing especially). Only then can we be grazed with such truthful stories about human beings, as opposed to the stereotypical representations of women and minorities that so often pollute our minds.

“Does the law not have a duty? Does the Bench and Parliament not have a duty to uphold and create the laws that progress our morality, not retard it? If not to protect us from others, then to protect us from ourselves. Laws that allow us to diminish the humanity of anybody are not laws. They are frameworks for crime. And quite frankly, I really do not care if you as an individual are without character or conscience. But a land whose laws sanction, not control, the barbarous among its citizens, that is a country whose hope is lost.” Mr. Davinier

color purpleeee

Cinematography by Ben Smithard

Each of us have a part to play in igniting that fire, whether as audience members, by supporting movies depicting women and minorities fairly; and/or as artists working hard to access leadership positions in the world of entertainment, so that stories like Belle and The Color Purple may become the rule, not the exception.

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Fake Feminism, Media, Patriarchal Society, Sexism

Beware Of The Fake Feminist

Everybody wants to be a feminist these days! It’s like a fashion trend, being a feminist is cool; cue for all self-titled feminists to appear out of the woodwork.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed quite a resurgence of feminism, or rather should I say, of people labeling themselves “feminists”. That got me wondering, what exactly does being a feminist mean? Don’t worry, I will not bore you with the philosophical and political definitions that have already made for countless amounts of studies and endless research. In fact I’ll answer this question very quickly: being a feminist is inherent to being human; it is embracing the fact that women are human beings. As humans we all bleed and sweat, have fears and doubts, hopes and aspirations. There really isn’t much more to understand here.

Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.”

Cheris Kramarae

What feminism means to me is simply that women, like men, are complete human beings with limitless possibilities.”

Fahmida Riaz

However, in pop culture, I’ve come to realize that feminism often finds itself manipulated by celebrities for their own personal gain, just like charity. Celebrities who truly have principles and stick to their guns are very few, in fact you could probably count them on one hand. You just have to think about the amount of “causes” famous people “support” without having the slightest clue what they really are standing for. I mean, think about it, do you really think that half the celebs who dumped ice on their heads last month really truly cared about ALS or even know anything about that disease? Probably not. But it made them look good to dump that ice on their head. They weren’t really taking a stand for anything, they were merely satisfying their hero complex (I do believe that a minority of them really did care, but most of them were really giving into a form of mass peer pressure). Look at it this way, how many celebs responded to the Ice bucket challenge, while hardly anyone publicly reacted to what happened in Ferguson? Talking about Ferguson meant taking a stand for something that could potentially make them unpopular, while supporting ALS is devoid of any risk-taking whatsoever. Is is neither political, nor controversial. It’s easy.

wasting water

I know what you must be thinking, what does any of it have to do with feminism? Well in pop culture, feminism has become just another cause like fighting breast cancer or ALS. Calling yourself a feminist will never have a negative impact on your career, if anything, it’ll make you even more popular, especially if you’re trying to attract a wider female demographic. The hard part is really standing for equality in everything that you say and do, and basically practicing what you preach regardless of the (often negative) consequences it may have on your career and how unpopular it might make you. If you keep bragging about being a feminist and then turn around and call yourself and your fellow females “bitches”, then it’s pretty clear that you don’t stand for feminism. You can’t have the cake and eat it, but apparently, in pop culture you can.

dont-call-a-woman-a-bitch_small

This is of course an ethical issue. People might (and will) say that it doesn’t matter if celebs really don’t care about feminism and are just labeling themselves that way to make more money, because what matters is that, thanks to their fame and popularity, they get the message of feminism out there. But that’s just the problem. A lot of times, artists completely buy into the patriarchy while labeling it feminism and that is disgusting not to mention dangerous.

wonder woman speech

What generally happens is that they do what everyone does; use the cheapest ploy in the book: provocation. They use sex to sell their material. The raunchier, the better. We had that back in the day with Madonna, we had it with Miley, and more recently with Beyonce. The problem isn’t that their performances are solely meant as shock value, but rather that they try to be all righteous about it and justify it by calling it feminism. There’s a whole generation of artists (men and women) who call women “bitches”, objectify and disrespect them while labeling it feminism, and not only do they gain more followers (which means money) but also find themselves revered as great examples of feminism, or men standing for women’s right. A hog in armor is still but a hog.

Beyonce Knowles at the 2014 VMAs

Beyonce Knowles self-proclaiming herself a feminist  at the 2014 VMAs

You see, I always have a problem when people try to excuse provocative behaviors solely meant to boost record sales and get attention, by saying that it is nothing but women “owning their sexuality”, in the name of feminism.

Robin Thicke's 2013 Blurred Lines music video

Robin Thicke’s infamous Blurred Lines music video (2013)

First of all because, like I said, most of the time, it is nothing but a cheap excuse. In Wrecking Ball, Anaconda or Partition, who is really owning their sexuality? Are Miley, Nicki and Beyonce really any different from the girls in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video? Why do people consider the latter offensive, but when it comes to the former, those seem to be healthy examples of womanhood? Just because these women are okay with objectifying themselves doesn’t mean that they’re owning their sexuality. The truth is that there’s isn’t much of a difference between being objectified and letting yourself be objectified. The end result remains the same. When a music video (or movie) meant to be seen by millions, depicts a half naked woman giving a lap dance to a fully clothed man, it is sending out a message, especially when half the music videos out there depict the same thing. Why does the woman have to be half-naked and not the man? If both were half-naked there would be less of a problem because both would be equally objectified (that is not to say that objectifying anyone is okay), but you never see that whether in music videos, movies or magazines. The woman is always the one being objectified, just as she’s been for centuries. She’s portrayed as a piece of meat simply there for consumption. A lot of people, including young girls, get confused when they see people like Miley Cyrus or Beyonce Knowles strut the stage with confidence and nothing much else on. They are generally considered “sassy” and “sexy”, admired, idolized, and taken (whether they like it or not) as role models. Young girls (and guys) figure, “Oh, look how confident they are! They’re not afraid of being sexual. That’s what a strong confident woman is all about!”  And that is the main danger, the public, and sometimes the artists themselves think they are breaking the rules when really they are only supporting the status quo. The same status quo that has oppressed women for centuries. Here’s the misconception: being sexual doesn’t equate owning one’s sexuality. Being sexual is what we see everyday, all day on our screens: women (and men though not nearly as much) objectifying themselves. Slowly but surely, it gives the impression that the only way a woman can own her sexuality is by being overtly sexual in everything she does. That sends out a really messed up message which only contributes to strengthen the despicable rape culture we live in.

Miley Cyrus' 2013 Wrecking Ball video

Miley Cyrus’ highly sexualized Wrecking Ball video (2013)

Feminism is about knowing that women are human beings (oh my!). As human beings we are all different. We have different qualities, flaws, dreams, doubts and ambitions. Each and everyone of us is unique. We cannot be put in a box, relegated to a meager stereotype as we often are in the media. Therefore, it is only logical that it be the same with one’s sexuality. We don’t all have to own it the same way. Thankfully, or that would mean that we’d all be condemned to swing naked on Wrecking Balls or lap dance Jay-Z!

phew

I’ve come to the conclusion that owning one’s sexuality is really about having the strength of character to stay true to who you are, despite the pressure everyone around you (society, family, friends, etc.) may put on your shoulders to act a certain way. What I’m saying boys and girls is that if you truly want to own your sexuality, just be yourself! Stay true to your personal beliefs and principles, whatever they may be. Newsflash, the so-called prude who decides to save him/herself for the right person, especially in a world where such a thing is made out to be weird and unhealthy, is owning his/her sexuality just as much as the person who chooses to be promiscuous, in a world where such behavior is praised. Whatever your choice is, as long as you know why you’re doing it and that it isn’t the result of peer pressure, wanting to “look cool”, what’s going to sell, or [insert any other shallow reason], then only will you truly own your body.

We all can do it

So no, I do not have an answer for you. I don’t know if Madonna, Miley, Nicki or Beyonce are owning their sexuality because I don’t know what their true motivations really are. Are they simply doing it for attention, fame and money, or are they doing it because they’re trying to express what they really believe in? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

All I know is that pop culture would gain a lot if, instead of solely promoting that kind of sexual ownership, it showcased the infinite other ways people can truly own their sexuality. Because in truth, most people do not need to (nor particularly enjoy) owning their bodies in glittery g-strings or sequined leotards. Most of us real people manage to do a much better job at it, in a much classier, meaningful and healthy way, sometimes even in sweat pants and with no makeup on! Maybe the media ought to show that side of the coin as well, don’t you think?

awesome-name-tag

Second of all, why does everything always have to be about sex? Why does being a woman, always have to do with being sexual? Why does it always have to be about the body and not about the brain? As if the only kind of power women can have lies in their beauty. The type of “feminism” we see in pop culture solely tends to be about women owning (or supposedly owning) their bodies, but what about owning their brains? Why is there nothing deep and cerebral about being a feminist (according to what mainstream media feeds us)? Because in the end, that is what being a feminist really is about, isn’t it? More than anything, it’s about going further than just the package that you see (and it also works for minorities). Why is there sexism and racism in this world? Because people stop at someone’s outward appearance to judge and discriminate, instead of trying to see beyond the stereotypes they have attached to a certain gender or skin color. Feminism is about treating everyone like human beings because women are human beings! Now I’m not saying that women’s bodies should be something that we ought to hide and be ashamed of; to the contrary, women of all shapes and sizes are to own their bodies with pride, whether you’re wearing oversized sweatpants or sexy lingerie, whether you’re skinny or voluptuous, prude or promiscuous. However, being a woman is also and mostly about owning your ideas, your opinions, your beliefs, because that’s what being human is all about. It is truly tragic that that side of women (which is by far the most important one) seems to be constantly silenced in today’s global culture, just as it has in the past. Women who talk about real issues are often considered “boring” or “ball-breakers” because for generations, people have been conditioned to believe that all a “real woman” worries about is being pretty, sexy, finding a husband and having kids. So when suddenly a woman breaks that mold, some of us (especially men) feel destabilized. Just look how smart, ambitious, cerebral women like Hillary Clinton, SĂ©golène Royal (French politician) or [insert any powerful woman] are treated (often ridiculed) by the media. The public is made to care more about what they wear rather than what they have to say.

segohilla

Ségolène Royal and Hillary Clinton

From the dawn of time, women have been relegated to walking, talking bodies ready for men to consume, so when our celebs -whose status offers a platform establishing them as global influences- do just that and call it feminism, it tends to be a little hard to swallow for the rest of us real life feminists. Kind of like a beautiful casket. It may look good on the outside, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is enclosing a decrepit corpse. We’re made to believe that the average audience member would rather watch some scantily dressed woman shake her butt to the camera rather than hear what she actually has to say (or sing), about real issues. Because today, being a “bad bitch” is made to be cooler than being able to have an intellectual debate on how to empower women in a sustainable way.

FeminineFeminist

But ask yourself this, between the “bad bitch” lap dancing some guy in a music video because she F’ing wants to, and the “stuck-up prude” who’d rather place cerebral matters before sex appeal to actively speak up for women, who is serving the status quo and who is questioning it? Who’s buying into the patriarchy, and who’s smashing it?

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Art, Change, Media, Racism, Sexism

Enters in Rebel With A Cause

Ever watched a TV show or read a book and cringed at the sight of the token [insert any minority] character solely brought in to make the story seem inclusive?

Ever shook your head disapprovingly at the sight of women being objectified in music videos and films?

Ever wondered why and how today, in the 21st century, the media we consume still remains just as sexist and racist as it was fifty years ago?

Ever wondered what you could do to help change things?

So have I. Enters in Rebel With A Cause. Now I don’t have all the answers, in fact, I don’t have any straight forward answers to any of these issues. But I do believe that it all starts by asking the right questions. The rest will come as we go.

“The most subversive people are those who ask questions.” 

Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World

Ask anyone what tokenism or rape culture is. Most people won’t have the slightest clue, some will argue about the real impact it has on society, and some others will even try to dismiss its existence. However, racism and sexism are not trivial subjects; they have plagued humanity ever since the dawn of time and unfortunately, the media seems to feed off of it instead of using its power and influence to break such disgusting mentalities.

Dickson, 90210's token black guy

Dickson, 90210’s token black guy

Paco Rabanne's advert promoting rape culture

Paco Rabanne’s advert promoting rape culture

Media no longer is a rare commodity only enjoyed by the richer few. In the industrialized world, 98% of households have at least one TV, global radio audiences reach 4.2 billion people, 1.4 billion people worldwide use a computer and 4.4 billion people in the world have mobile phones. Note that I haven’t even mentioned laptops, iPads, smartphones, etc. Once you’ve managed to digest all these numbers, think about the millions of TV and radio channels airing 24/7, the millions of weekly magazines, and movies out everyday; all so easily available to the masses, not to mention social media and the unfathomable amount of information that oozes every nano second out of it. Now that’s a hell of a lot to take in don’t you think?

In this wide maze of information, finding one’s voice and being heard gets tricky. It is easy to get lost both from an audience perspective and an artistic perspective. The overload of information has lead networks, producers, directors and artists to fight each other for audience attention. Imagine a room full of noisy people yelling over each other. Multiply it by a million, and you got yourself a pretty clear overview of what media is today; a hot freaking mess.

Only the voices of those who scream the loudest may be heard. So how does one manage to make their voice heard amidst all the noise? Shock value. Sex sells right? I would go further than that and say that it is provoking people that really does all the selling, whether it’s through sex, violence or hate. Provoking people is the fastest and easiest way to get the public’s attention. It’s easy, it’s fast, it’s cheap. Anybody can take their clothes off or act like a complete douchebag to get attention, but not very many people are able to create something meaningful, positive and long-lasting. That actually takes talent.

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke's 2013 VMA performance made headlines due to its shock value

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s 2013 VMA performance made headlines due to its shock value

A reality show solely meant for viewers to make fun of the protagonists

A reality show meant for viewers to make fun of its protagonists

That is why nowadays, media seems to be a system solely based on negativity; and more precisely, two destructive pillars: those of racism and sexism. Think about it, how many movies, novels or TV shows do not use the cheap ploy that is tokenism in order to seem inclusive? How many stories aren’t based on Othering people because of the color of their skin? How many music videos and movies do not objectify women and/or slut-shame them? Too little. But how much of the media that we consume every day does promote racism and rape culture? Way too much.

Hollywood

This blog is dedicated to peeling off the glitz and glam of show business, layer by layer until we can get down to the nitty-grity. Because everything that is released in the public arena whether music, movies, TV, or literature, everything contributes to shape our perception of the world, to such extent that it invariably ends up imprinting on our subconscious minds. As Michael Jackson once said, “If you hear a lie long enough, you start to believe it.” Scary right? Think about the amount of time that you spend each day in front of the TV and/or computer. We see so much racism, sexism, and violence everyday on our screens that we become numb to it, and that’s the real danger; because the moment we become indifferent to what is wrong, the moment we stop questioning things, that’s the moment we stop fighting to improve the world we live in, and therefore fail to make any real contribution to humanity.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Overall, this blog is dedicated to:

  • trying to debunk the useful and the useless in today’s pop culture,

  • spark debates on what we can do in our own little way to change things for the better

  • review movies, music, novels, artists, etc. that I happen to enjoy (hey this is my blog, I make the rules!)

It is my personal belief that true art not only is meant to be beautiful and meaningful, but that it often questions the rules and has challenged the status quo more than once. This blog is for those who believe the same and wish for it to take its rightful place in the forefront of mainstream media instead of cheap shock value designed to pass off as art.

“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.”

Anton Chekov

We’ve been taught to be -and have been for a long time- passive consumers of media instead of striving to become active agents of change. Let’s encourage each other to go from the former to the latter.

Join me in the adventure.

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