Contrived, Much?

Thanks to enc over at observationmode, I came across this fantastic video. We're reading a short story about the cultural divide between a grandmother from China and an American granddaughter. Foot binding plays a role in the story, and so when I saw this film I knew it would be a perfect way to begin our discussion of unrealistic definitions of beauty today and in the past, in this country and others. Please take the time to watch:

The students were just as shocked as I was the first time I saw this video. I was taken aback when considering how absolutely the model in the magazine or on the billboard is, in fact, no longer a real person. The person at the beginning of the film no longer exists in the photo (can it be called a photo?) at the end. It is, in essence, a computer generated image. I couldn't find this person in the world if I tried. And young women couldn't ever look just like her, even if they employed every painstaking attempt at manufactured beauty they could conjure. So sad. So sad. I'm glad the students--male and female alike--seemed to genuinely appreciate our discussion, and to see how unrealistic our culture's definition of beauty truly is.

On a larger scale, they did a wonderful job making the connection between the oppression that was inherent in the practice of binding the feet of Chinese young women and the mental, spiritual and emotional oppression, the deterioration of self-confidence and love of self and self worth, that can easily take hold of women, young and old, upon constant consumption of the images like the one at the end of the video.

Thanks again, enc.


Anonymous said...

How about the image that our VP is selling us of just like you and me and hockey mom etc etc plus the fact that she was selected for her pretty face which they somehow thought nobody would look past. Its amazing how much power an image can possess. Nice work connecting this video to your material too.

enc said...

It is my pleasure to serve.

Especially on this particular issue, one that is near and dear to my heart.

You did a great job building a lesson out of this, again reinforcing my faith in teachers. Thank you for getting the message out to our young people that there is a reality, and a fantasy.

teach people not books said...

rm--our VP? whose? not mine. ugh i need to get a passport.

enc--a critical issue, indeed. especially in the land of plenty these kids live in. their moms are probably off to get botoxed (hm, should that have 2 x's?) after school. you know, after the personal trainer leaves.

Anonymous said...

wow i let that slip that was a sci fi horror fantasy i think, just got pasports for mrs and 4 of the kids @ 600.00 with photos and processing etc. worth every penny... your parents get botoxxed and ours get de-toxed...