Social media allows us to self-create a better version of ourselves, an ideal/ized life, much bigger and glossier than the “real” experience, but to achieve this level of perfection or seamlessness, it needs to be tailored into an almost a fantasy-like living, where there are no mistakes, no (self)doubts and no failures.
Stranger shaming is an act of (secretly) taking pictures of strangers in public spaces and posting them to social media sites later. They are taken without permission of people being photographed to document their activity or appearance which is neither illegal, nor offensive but to the photographer, they seem socially inappropriate, morally wrong or just a way to mock someone publicly. Strangers do something that the photographer – who feels superior to them or their behaviour – disapproves of.
The ‘F-rating’ system, invented by Holly Tarquini, Bath Film Festival director in 2014, gives “F” (or feminist) rates to films that are directed, written or feature women as main characters with their own narrative. It’s been also adopted by IMDb.
To be awarded with one, two or three F’s a film must be: (1) directed by a woman, (2) written by a woman and/or (3) have significant women on screen in their own right. So, when a film is directed, written and has a woman’s narrative as a central premise, it gets 3F. Getting 2F rates means that a film is either directed and written by a woman, or written by a woman about a woman’s story, or a woman is directing a woman’s story. A film gets 1F, if it’s directed or written or revolves around a woman’s narrative. For other films, zero F—s.
In gymnastics, a somersault is a 360° flip in the air or – when done on the ground – a roll. The starting position resembles the final; however, because of the distance made from the point A to the point B finish is never start. Or to paraphrase Heraclius: “No woman ever steps on the same ground twice, for it’s not the same ground and she’s not the same woman.” In Somersault (2004), a film written and directed by an Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland, the teenage protagonist Heidi does a geographic somersault – she runs away from home after fallout with her mother but eventually returns. Yet it’s not her escape that I’m interested in, but the unconventional use of the one woman’s touch as an essential tool to perceive and bond with the world.
Ivanka in Melanija postajata bolj in bolj prepoznavni širšemu svetu, saj poosebljata žensko inačico ameriških sanj o uspehu – ena je ameriškega predsednika hči, druga njega žena. Obe sta polni privilegijev, ki omogočajo dobro življenje: belopolti, na vrhu socioekonomske hierarhije, heteroseksualni in dovolj religiozni. A za tradicionalno volilno telo je najpomembneje to, da zadovoljujeta estetske standarde popularne ženskosti, ker sta grajeni kot manekenki, brezhibno urejeni in ultra feminilni. Kljub tem skupnim imenovalcem pa predstavljata nasprotujoči si podobi sodobne ameriške ženskosti, ki delujeta kot da ne razumeta v celoti druga druge in ne drugi njiju.
*This is a guest post by Petra Anders, Ph.D.*
Michael Akers’ drama Morgan (2012) deals with a young man named Morgan who used to be an enthusiastic cyclist. He had won a lot of medals and awards but after having had a severe accident Morgan sees himself confronted with paraplegia. His mother, his friend Lane and Dean, his new love(r), become important people on his way back to everyday life.
Polyamory as a less conventional social arrangement of intimacy that includes more than two people, consensually involved in a sexual and/or romantic relationship at the same time, is becoming more recognizable and visible even in films. Film is a powerful cultural text and its representations of something less familiar or even Othered can either challenge or reaffirm the traditional conceptions about our social reality; polyamorous relationships can be portrayed within the discourse of acceptability or abnormality (i.e. poly people being punished or relationships being pathologized – ridiculed, diminished, annihilated, trivialised).
A flaw is a visible imperfection that deviates from the standard of what is normal or casual. It may appear irrelevant or even harmless, but the sheer existence of flaws indicates that somebody or something does not measure up to the arbitrarily constructed models of “perfect” conduct, behaviour, lifestyle or bodies. Flaws, therefore, are being marked as Othered because they should be concealed or corrected (i.e. disciplined).
To point out someone’s flaws is a weapon of microaggression and policing against someone’s personhood that does not live up to be flawless (or perfect). When a person has failed at something and is therefore self-defined and societally defined as “incompetent”, “improper” or “inadequate”, he/she/they are comprehended as a small-scale failure. Even a small-scale failure, manifested as a flaw, is not allowed in Western (although pluralistic) society, which is constantly striving for success and perfection.
In the postmodern Western society, sexism has become less obvious, which does not mean that it has disappeared, it merely changed its modus operandi. Instead of blatant sexism, as it was the practice in the past, it became subtle and covert. Due to the internalized sexist standards, subtle sexism often goes unnoticed, so it is perceived as “normal”, “unproblematic” and common. For example, condescending chivalry (i.e. courteous, protective men’s behaviour towards women carries an assumption of women as helpless subordinates) or subjective objectification (i.e. a type of sexism where women are perceived as “Smurfettes”) are subtle forms of sexism.
When it comes to bruises on a woman’s body, almost a unanimous assumption is quickly made and it usually involves domestic violence. Why does the conclusion of a woman being abused suddenly prevail, when an adult woman has a bruise on her body?
The western understanding of a woman’s body is – alongside with its reproductive power – also built around its aesthetic (decorative) and mobile (inactive) nature. It is expected for a girl to be pretty and a woman to be attractive, so to stay pretty/beautiful, a girl/woman should not engage in activities (sports mostly) that could ‘ruin’ her appearances. Bruises ruin skin to a degree of transforming skin colour from natural to ‘unnatural’ – blue, green, violet, yellowish. But most of all, they bluntly expose the fragility and mortality of the human body.