Rolling Back The Frontiers Of Representation

featured image via The New York Times

*

With Film and TV viewings being at an all time high, the disconnect between people in the ‘real’ world and the people in our TV and Films is more noticeable than ever, with all of this, one question emerges being, ‘Where does that leave minorities?’, you only have to watch a film or TV programme to see limiting stereotypes reinforced, the question I ask is ‘If times are changing and we’re in a good place in terms of social change, then why are there hardly any film or TV shows where harsh stigmas and stereotypes come into play’. Personally, I don’t think this is okay.

 

Black and Minority Ethnics (BAME) have had enough, disabled people have had enough and LGBTQ+ communities have had enough, these people are special, one of a kind, we shouldn’t be limiting and patronising them the way that we are currently, we should be celebrating them.

 

Admittedly, there are a small few programmes which challenge these social norms and they are praised, but this shouldn’t be considered amazing to make a film that doesn’t paint minorities in a negative light because we should be doing this all the time, being fair and impartial to those minorities. This, accompanied by the fact that gender norms and roles are being foisted on viewers show how not only are we not fully inclusive as a generation, but we still adopt outdated ideologies that are not only sexist, racist, homophobic and hurtful to those with disabilities but, we are making these minority groups doubt themselves in their own personal ability and this is unacceptable.

 

So, let’s look past these barriers, let’s drive social change, and challenge these outdated status quos for ourselves, let’s be understanding, respectful and inclusive of each other. The power as consumers of film and television lay in your hands.

 

Here’s to better days.

INSOMNIA

There’s always something so beautiful about the night,

you don’t usually notice that because you’re sleeping or you should be,

that’s what I keep telling myself,

everything still, natural as the day it was created

 

I twist, I turn, take another glimpse at the clock on the wall,

I sit there watching the hours go by, darkness turn to light

I hear the birds calling and with that comes the harsh reality,

This isn’t normal.

 

Everyone tells me to ‘chill out’, if only it was as easy as that,

I know it’s only sleeping but, it forms a big part of the bodies functions,

I’m not living anymore, I’m just existing

I sit in school, barely learning, I myself am barely functioning.

 

When will this end, when will I be myself again,

Everything I loved, everything I hated, it circulates in my mind

I want to get better but, I just don’t know how,

If there is a god up there, take me from this.

 

This poem is a short representation of how some people who suffer from insomnia feel, It’s always important that if you are having trouble sleeping, you let someone know whether that be a parent, a friend or a doctor.

 

Boys Don’t Cry: Male Fragility

featured image via tumblr

*

Masculinity, for generations, has formed the very basis of our society. We are taught that boys will be boys and that girls will be girls. With ever changing gender standards there is a disconnect more than ever, the lines between the genders and how they should behave are blurred more than ever, with far right fascists claiming that masculinity is dead and little boys have replaced real men. With harsh stigmas attached to male fragility, it’s no wonder why so many men suffer in silence, this is the same stigma that sees many men take the only option they feel they can, suicide. In 2014, there were 6,581 suicides in the UK with male suicide rates being three times higher than women. With such harrowing projections, the reasons for such high male suicide rates begin to race through my mind.

 

So why are so many men taking their lives?

 

Well, it’s very complex but what needs to be completely clear to men who are suffering from mental health problems currently is that it’s ok and normal to ask for help. I think that the problem of male fragility is very complex and one which can’t simply be solved overnight but there I think that deep down the problem lies within ourselves as humans in a modern society we tend to give men these standards to live up to which are often unattainable. We expect men to embrace and practice full macho values of the past despite the fact that times are changing as are gender roles. As people ourselves we also do not help the problem whilst giving men goals to live up to with statements such as ‘Boys don’t cry’ and ‘Man up’. Add stigmas like these with external pressures men face such as holding down a steady job and being expected to provide for any family they may have to the equation and it’s easy to see how some men feel a failure when unable to reach these goals and standards.

 

So where does that leave the post—modern man?

 

Post-modern men have paved the way for other men in terms of breaking down the barriers and expectations of masculinity and we have come so far from where we were but, there’s still so much more we can do. We should be respectful of the choices people have taken about the types of men they want to be and encourage them to do well not only academically but also personally. We can also further break down the barriers of masculinity by acknowledging that feminine men do exist and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s all about figuring out where you lie personally in the bigger picture that is our society and looking at what we can do personally to help each other. In all honesty, do what you want, there are no rights and no wrongs within reason, of course, this is our future and we should be embracing and empowering each other. This is our time as a generation to show the rest of the world what we are about, this is our time to shine.

 

 

What can I do to help male fragility and the stigmas attached?

 

Be respectful and understanding of other people’s following and beliefs remember to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If a friend of someone else you know comes forwards and says that they are feeling low and suffering from mental health issues, be a pair of ears, even just listening can make the biggest difference. Most importantly, don’t criticise or patronise them by telling them to ‘Man Up’ or ‘Get over it’.