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Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Friday, November 24, 2006

coming to a screen near you, so near

I am a big fan of trailers and i recently found two amazing ones online. One is your conventional teaser trailer, and the other is, well, it isn't.

Joe gave me the heads-up on Hot Fuzz which is coming from the same people as Shaun of the Dead and the TV show Spaced. This is the second trailer actually, can't make the first one that was up work now, dang it. But it looks like it gonna be HILARIOUS and the other trailer showed that they obv had a much bigger component of the budget for, like, blowing shit up and car stunts and stuff. Awesome.

To take a completely different tone now, this video, hosted by Marie Claire magazine, is for a documentary called Thin. Directed by Lauren Greenfield, an established photographer, it has been described as "that rare film whose harrowing viewing experience is crucial to learning all it has to teach". Even the few minutes here are hard to watch, but mesmerising at the same time for their honesty.

There has been a lot of media coverage lately of the Madrid Fashion Week's decision to set a limit on what was an acceptable BMI, then the recent death of a Brazilian model who suffered from anorexia (Lou has covered these on her blog here and here).

While I do think that representations in the media have a huge effect on people's body image (and generally it seems to be women susceptible to this), I don't think solely the fashion industry can be held to blame for the epidemic of eating disorders in first world countries. The Bartlett recently posted a link to an interesting article, and while a lot of the big words kinda threw me, I did like what it had to say about disordered eating and the issue of control.
The post is referencing a book called A Return to Modesty and the blogger summarises it: "In short, Shalit appears to be saying that because our culture puts women's bodies on display and for male desire, values a certain kind of body, and discourages modesty, some girls react to this loss of control over their sexuality and over their bodies with a kind of self-controlling self-hatred."

The thing is, I never think its as simple as one thing or another. Watching that extract from Thin didn't make me any angrier that Kate Moss has just been named Model of the Year, it made me want to reach out on a personal level. Because that it where it is going to make a difference it seems. With the friend you know has a dark streak of self doubt inside them. To the colleague who might just need to be told that that shade of blue really suits them. Not letting the casual jokey fat comment slide but instead step the uncomfortable line of putting them in their place.

When I was 17 and first told my best friend that I was bulimic, I couldn't even use the word. Oh - I knew it and everything, I wasn't a 'tard, just cause I lived in Wanganui, sheesh.
But that was not the word I had in my mind to apply to what I was doing to myself. I told her I was just stressed and that this was the best way for me to deal with things at the moment. Can you believe that?! Stress?? Not like, yoga or going for a walk or hanging out with my boyfriend - I'd chosen throwing up my meals!! It shows how warped your perception gets and your grip on reality. There were other factors, but it was definitely that control thing - life was all over the place and this was one thing I could get a hold over.

But of course, really the demon had the hold over me. When you have convinced yourself there is no problem, it takes so much longer to come out from under it. I was very fortunate that I had strong relationships and a good counsellor and was held accountable for my actions - and stopped the physical patterns very quickly. But the mind set takes much longer, and that is where the real work is done. My personal opinion is that some women are in the psychology of an eating disorder, without manifesting it physically. Which is just as unhealthy and damaging.

The other week I bought New Woman magazine, solely because Melissa had told me you got a free Napoleon mascara with the issue - which you did! Score! I did a cusory flick through the glossy pages, feeling a wee twinge for cover girl Scarlett Johannsen based on the stories seeping out from her boyfriend's movie currently being shot in Auckland. One line in one article has stayed with me. It was about a woman who worked as a model in the 80s and suffered the worst of the industry, the classic glamour and beauty horror story.

She said that if you were a heroin addict and decided to come clean, it was relatively easy to stay out of those circles if you wanted to, ensure you didn't have access. But for someone who has food issues, there is no such respite. You can hardly avoid food or eating situations - in fact, that's kinda the whole damn problem. Your whole attitude has to change to be able to engage normally and your ability to cope with an everyday thing... well, in some cases, that has to start from scratch.

It reminded me of this thing that happened while I was still wrestling with everything. I'd arrived late at a sleepover with my girlfriends but had some chocolate brownie slice saved for me. I ate and then threw it up into my friend's bathroom sink. I felt terrible about it because I knew I was letting myself down and the people I'd been honest with about the trouble I was in. For years later I couldn't eat the stuff, even the smell was too much, it brought back every emotion of that night, hiding in that bathroom. Mum cooked some one time as a treat and I wouldn't touch it. When she said "Oh what's with you kids? I thought it tasted just like the bought stuff!", I simply burst into tears.

I guess what I'm trying to say here, is more than just that I think Hot Fuzz will be a great movie with car explosions and jokes as well as taking the piss out of over-serious cops.
I guess I'm saying look after your self. Look after each other. I am so grateful to the people who listened to me - and who didn't listen to me - and when you hear those nagging sad angry voices inside bringing you down, don't always push them away, aside. Think about what has brought it on. Talk to someone about it. Someone who loves you, someone with a bit of perspective, someone who knows what they're talking about it. And look in the mirror, and love what's there. Because you can.

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Blogger Matthew said...


Mon Nov 27, 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger marama said...

So just did one big read of posts (SCINCE FRIDAY) as I don't do weekend net and went through a range of emotions. First of all we def have some cooties in common bel, and your list is very substantial, mine looks fairly pitiful suffice to say mine only just reaches double numbers. Shame.
Next loved the poem of course.
Can't remember what was after that but after that was the very serious too sknny thing. After reading that I went and ate some lunch. It made me hungry. But yeah my plan is to have normal looking people in my films. In fact you will have to be at least a size 10 to be cast in my films, no exceptions. Apart from that when I get rich and famous will be curvy and gorgeous and eat in public and get paparazzi to take photos of me gorging. Which they will then take the most unflattering pic of and be like "killen headed for killer heart disease" or something like that. Course I will own every single magazine by then and have complete control of the media in facist left wing styles ;-)

Mon Nov 27, 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Lou said...

I've always thought it was a complete cop-out for magazines or other media to say that eating disorders are about something being wrong inside and not about what women look like in magazines. Yes it is about something being wrong inside - a need for control, a grappling with sexuality or whatever - but it is not just a coincidence that those issues (and more) manifest themselves in food and an obsession with being thin.

The world via the media has constructed an inescapable lie that being thinner is better. I know this. And I feel fine not being skinny... yet all it takes is one dive into mediated reality and I suddenly find myself thinking 'gosh if only I didn't have love handles/a stomach/child-bearing thighs'. I then think 'well if that's how I feel as a rational adult who has an entire degree in critical media theory then how does a 15-year-old girl feel seeing/looking at/reading that?'... and all I have to do is remember back 10 years to know exactly how that feels and what it results in.

I don't disagree with those comments about sexuality and modesty etc, BUT I think that it is a lot to do with the media constructed 'thinner = better' that leads to feelings of sexual shame or being not good enough for not having an idealised and impossible physical being. Related to this is what the media project as idealised relationships - romantic comedies where all the two leads have in common is being thin and pretty, celebs hooking up with other equally thin and pretty celebs.

Another major factor is definitely the people in your life - in bitter days I've considered whether I could sue my brother for calling me 'fattie' for 10 years and become inflamed with anger anytime I hear anybody calling another person that whether in the guise of jokes or not.

And - as you say - I totally believe in the protection against the media (beyond my initial one of critically analysing it all so that I could tear down their constructed reality) is the opposite - being positive and receiving positive from the people in your life.

Um, oh yeah - was also going to say something about the fashion industry. I think in general most people are completely oblivious as to what is making its way down the catwalk in terms of models or fashions. BUT the fashion industry leads the other media we do see on a constant daily basis - on the celebs, on the magazines, on films, on television... whilst a fashion designer sending a dangerously skinny down the catwalk may remain completely unknown in my life, the trickle down effect into the appearances of people like Nicole Kidman or Victoria Beckham does because unfortunately as a culture we idolise celebs.

Blah Blah Blah...

The cops film looks awesome.

Wed Nov 29, 02:03:00 AM  
Blogger Bel said...

Firstly, Marama: love the headline. Very catchy in a trashy tabloid kind of way, which is probably the best kind of way.
And am glad to hear that we have snogging cross-over even within your 'insubstantial' backlist. Am assuming this is mostly due to a certain large-capacity P.I. boy on his domesticating rampage... we escaped that ring & baby by the skin of our teeth, girl! bahaha :D

Yes, Lou, I do agree with you - and I hope my post didn't give the impression I was forgiving the way skinny women are overrepresented in the media.
We are so constantly surrounded by images, by TV and magazines, by advertising in various forms, new media and multimedia, that we forget its even happening - which is such a dangerous situation. Because things become status quo. Remember when such a big deal was made about Sophie Dahl being a supermodel in the late 90s? and how oddly out of proportion she looked next to other celebs? When in actual fact she was just your usual size 14, the same as like 50% of NZ women.

And you're so right about how so many people lack the skills to be about to analyse and deconstruct that tidal wave of propaganda. I really believe Media Studies should be a compulsory part of the cirriculum.

There is a great quote in the film The Devil Wears Prada where the 'Anna Wintour' xtr talks about the tacky off-the-rack jersey the 'no fashion sense' girl is wearing and how that has been directly effected by runway fashion. [Its about midway down here] That can so be applied to what you're saying about how they set the standards in terms of what is an acceptable body size.
As much as making an individual decision to feel good about yourself is wonderful, we are literally fighting an uphill battle until these fashion industry institutions recognise that we want to enjoy that world of glamour, without the nasty trade off.

Wed Nov 29, 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Lou said...

Regarding your comments:

I hope my post didn't give the impression I was forgiving the way skinny women are overrepresented in the media.

Not at all...

Regarding your comments:

And you're so right about how so many people lack the skills to be about to analyse and deconstruct that tidal wave of propaganda. I really believe Media Studies should be a compulsory part of the cirriculum.

I agree so much that I actually... once... for a very brief time... considered becoming a high school teacher. Yep. Me. Obviously I snapped out of it after about 3 seconds. But that's how much I agree.*

Regarding your comments:

As much as making an individual decision to feel good about yourself is wonderful, we are literally fighting an uphill battle until these fashion industry institutions recognise that we want to enjoy that world of glamour, without the nasty trade off.

Can you imagine how awful it will be at some time in the future when/if we suddenly become mothers to girls and make the realisation that no matter how good we are at nuturing and cushioning their precarious self-image as they grow up, we are competing against that tidal wave? Shudder...

*note to teachers reading this and potentially feeling offended - I think teaching is a valuable and very worthy occupation - I just happen to be allergic to children/teenagers.

Wed Nov 29, 11:34:00 PM  
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