ALL MY IDEAS
Who is this ‘me’ anyway?
If you choose this question you will explore identity – how we represent ourselves. You can focus on either how our representations of ourselves have changed over time or how marginalised groups have represented themselves to confront mainstream culture.
The word identity is an interesting one. I believe that through dramatic events or even horrific events our identity can change. I definitely believe that from the start of 2017 to where I am now I am a completely different person to who I was december last year. I know for a fact I represent myself differently, the time between January first and now has truly shaped who I’ve become. The reason why I chose the question of identity is because for myself I struggle grasping onto the idea of who I truly am. In fact, I believe there are a lot of people out there who don’t know who they are, or struggle to figure out who they are. Overtime people have used painted portraits to represent them-selves to society, to show off their class you could say. The idea of portraits or even self portraits allowed someone’s identity to be captured and then displayed. Through this artwork a viewer would be able to understand who this person is. What makes self portraits different to selfies? In my personal opinion there isn’t a lot difference if your only looking at the concept and what they both represent to society. Both a selfie and a self portrait represent a someones identity to the attended audience. Both will tell story about the person who is on display. The main difference between a selfie and a self portrait one is appreciated where as the other one tolerated. A self portrait had the same intentions of the classic selfie; to represent ourselves. The way a self portrait is created, through talent and art is what makes it appreciated.
The reason why I chose to focus on this question is because I believe that people’s identity can be represented in way that isn’t true. I wanted to respond to the question by focusing on identity of women, in particle the identity of women in film. Film has the power to transform how we see the world. They have the power to captivate us and transport us into other worlds. With such a power film has the ability to represent anyone how ever they please, but yet women are not portrayed as equally as men are. The mainstream culture that has been developed over the years by films has created a ‘mould’ that women should fit into. Women become stereotyped, and typecast to playing certain roles in hollywood. The way women have been identified in film isn’t a true reflection of reality. For me there hasn’t been a single female character on screen that I’ve been able to relate to. The stereotypes of women don’t match the identities of women in my own society. But why? Why do films continue to add to the predicable mainstream culture? I’ve watch so many films but now watching films has becomes less enjoyable, I can see how the movie will turn out because films follow patterns. Some common patterns you’ll see through out any super hero movie; Hero (male) meets girl, hero falls in love with girl. Girl is unable to save herself, hero has to save girl. Hero saves world. Villain escapes so that a sequel can be created. This question about identity I want to tackle it by expressing my concern for the 1. The facts and my opinion about the lack of representation of women on and behind camera 2. The facts and my opinion about how women are represented in film. and 3.
It is an impossible task to define my identity, I am not simply one thing. I am not a stereotype, I don’t just fit into one category. So why do my pairs define me by the use of stereotypes? Despite how I would like my-self to represented to society, it is always going to be different to how people will believe to see me as. People only want to see what they want to believe. The prejudicious judgement that everyone subconsciously does, is because we are wired to associate certain behavior with stereotypes. I truly believe that the film industry has the power to manipulate how we see the world, and in having such power, films have the ability to shape how we should each other in society.
The film industry is the one of the main influences for mainstream culture. It is one of the most influential industries in the world, films entertain us, they are powerful, beautiful and unforgettably imaginative. With the ability of being able to transport audiences and teach us lessons you could say the power of films is beyond any political figure. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any flaws, in fact the film industry has a number of social issues that need to be addressed.
Mainstream culture that is generated from films is something our society is heavily influenced by. Films have great power over society, they transport audiences into other worlds, they can teach us lessons. They “reflect” society or societies values. “The world we see on screen is not a true reflection of reality.” – Ted talks. If the film industry reflected the true reality of society women would be represented as equally as men. Instead women becomes a marginalise group. The lack of representation and the way they are represented on screen strips away women’s identity. Stacy Smith a gender equality activist conducted a study between 2007-2015 analysing the data of speaking roles in 800 films. For a character to be included in this data all they had to say was one line. At the end of her research there were 35,205 characters who spoke in films and the ratio turned out out to be 2.3:1 men to women. “If you compare our results from a small sample of films taking from 1946-1955 there has been no change in over half of a century, but yet women are half of the population.” – Ted talks. The lack of change in over half a century highlights how this is a depressing issue that needs to be vocalised. There needs to be more women in the film industry, and the lack of women is inexcusable. We are half the population and should be represented equally to men. That’s not the only issue that identity of women face on screen. The diverse representation of women is also lacking in representation in film. By looking at the data from 2015’s top 100 films is becomes apparent that race, ethnicity, disability and gender are also all marginalised in film. 48 films didn’t have black or african american female speaking roles, 70 films didn’t have asian or asian american female speaking roles, 84 films didn’t express a women with a disability and 93 films didn’t express lesbian, bisexual or transgender women. Our world, the real world, it is a place full of diversity. There are no two people who are the same. The film industry needs to understand they are contributing to a huge socially issue, but they also need to understand is that they are at the core to be able to fix it.
Another issue that damages women’s identity on film is how they are portrayed to audiences. The way women are portrayed constructs false ideologies of how women should act, it develops stereotypes and worse of all women are 3x more likely to be sexulised in film.
Society defines identity through the use of stereotypes, everyone belongs somewhere. In my opinion stereotypes are the construct that fails identity. It creates unreasonable expectations, moulds that not everyone feels accepted in. It hides the idea of true identity
Films strips away individuality by following stereotypical values, and for women in film they become a marginalise group. Women are not portrayed on screen equally as men. When women are represented on screen, they are stereotyped, type casted and portrayed to fit a ‘mould’. This ‘mould’ isn’t a true reflection of reality, and therefor creates a mainstream ideology. The ‘idea’ of identity doesn’t exist since it is only an idea. This is a social issue that many artists have addressed to highlight how it’s unfair to continue to mis-represent women in film.
If we look closer at the question “who is this ‘me’ anyway?” it opens up quite a broad idea which is hard to answer. For my essay I believe that it is important to focus on representation of ones-self. My opinion and firsts thoughts about the question were what topics could I talk about. I knew I wanted to express the ideas about representation and how we are not always represented fairly. One way I could express that is through how others have the ability to express who we are as people. The film industry is very powerful they have the ability to represent our society in positive or negative ways, they can transform opinions about how people should see the world. Films can teach us lessons but they can also develop mainstream culture which is there for inflected into our society. The power that the film industry has over being able to represent women how ever they please, is wrong. It strips away the ability to create relatable identities. Films have the ability to represent who we are as a society, they give us an identity which is somewhat relatable.