Oh the joys of having well-meaning Catholic parents. I don’t have a problem with religion or parents trying to do what’s best for their child. Yet, every child reaches an age where they start to make their own decisions. Once you become a legal adult, move out of your parents house and experience the world, you may find yourself with opinions different from your parents. Cohabitation is strongly frowned upon in the Catholic church and for some reason the church likes to complain about that more than the number of homeless, sick and suffering. I’m not hear to judge though, I’m here to tell you what happened when I told my parents I was moving in with my boyfriend. Believe me, I Googled for advice when I first made this decision and I would like to add my two cents. Maybe my experience can give you some good ideas on how to tell your Catholic parents you want to move in with your boyfriend.
What do we really mean when we say ‘racist’? According to the dictionary, a racist is a person who believes their racial group is superior or that another racial group is inferior. There is no list of actions, words or feelings in that definition. That’s it. And yet, when I discuss race on here, I inevitably get comments that focus almost completely on actions. White-face is a prime example. There have been movies in the past decade where black men have worn makeup to look white. If black face and red face is racist, isn’t white face the same?
Viktoria Modesta calls herself the model of the future in a music video that has me thinking about Ghost in a Shell. To make a long story short, Viktoria is missing one of her legs from the knee down. In the music video, Prototype, she hold this up as something to be desired. The video tells the story of a movement, of people wanting to be just like her and of some who go through extremes to be her. My first thought was that the video was creative and interesting. I love how she depicts her missing limb as a thing of beauty, even going to far as to have a provocative scene where we see the stump of her leg. I know this has been asked of every single celebrity ever, but is this going too far?
Already, people are getting plastic surgery to look like the people who entertain our television screens. Is the model of the future one where limbs are cut off and replaced with flashy, bionic parts? Is that a healthy future to see?
Once upon a time, the television was a revolution. It was this amazing wonder and I don’t think anyone stopped to think, “should we allow this new wonder, or will it grow to cause us harm?” Now, we live in a world where there is a large amount of correlation between the number of hours people spend in front of their televisions and their health. This is what lead me to Ghost in a Shell. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the series, but I remember the concept. The line between man and machine had become so blurred that you practically had to be an expert to tell the difference. Almost everyone had these fancy eyes implanted. Imagine everything you can do on your smartphone literally being in your eye. That was part of the story. The villain in the first season hacked this system, so he could only be seen by people who hadn’t had their eyes replaced.
Imagine being the person to create something like that. People will never lose their phones again! They will never have to truly be away from work or entertainment. The whole of the world offered on the internet would be available right in their eye. Would that creator ever stop to think, “should I be encouraging people to replace their eyes with my technology?”
Yet, here we are, one step closer to that reality. Here we have a video where a girl sees Viktoria and proceeds to rips a leg off her doll. We see a photo of a man who appears to have just cut off his leg, proudly displaying his bleeding stump. What is Viktoria’s reaction to this? She smiles, switching to a scene where she dances with a spike in place of her missing leg. Words proclaim, “Some of us were born to be different. Some of us were born to take risks.”
Perhaps I’m the odd one out, but I can’t help but love this video. Some may say she should sing, perform and not rely on her missing leg to make her way up in the world. Yet, her missing leg is what makes her different and unique. Is it not what makes each of us unique that provides our place in the world. These celebrities we often fawn over, don’t they have some quality or skill that makes them stand out among the rest? So what if Viktoria is riding on her missing leg?
What I love about Viktoria’s Prototype video is that it makes out people with missing limbs to not only be ‘normal,’ but to be desirable people. They are people worth emulating and worth being. She’s not standing up and saying, “my disability holds me back.” She’s not even saying, “I can be successful in spite of my disability.” Viktoria is proclaiming that her so-called disability propels her success further. I love that message.
Now, as a perform, she certainly needs to be more than her missing leg just as much as Nicki Minaj needs to be more than her rear end and Jessica Simpson needs to be more than her bosom. When I first saw Prototype, I thought it was Viktoria’s first video. Turns out, she has released a lot of songs and none of the videos I watched so much as eluded to the fact she didn’t have a leg. Prototype isn’t her first and certainly won’t be her last hit.
As I wonder if her message is healthy for us to consume, I think the most important question is if she is any more or less problematic then any other celebrity. Certainly Viktoria’s video is as likely to convince a person to voluntarily cut off their leg as watching Anaconda is likely to convince someone to get butt implants.
At the end of the day, I really don’t have a problem with videos and messages of celebrities saying, “isn’t it great to me awesome, successful, attractive me?” The only real problem is not having much diversity there. A skinny person deserves to be just as proud as a larger person. A person with all their limbs deserves to feel just as bad ass as Viktoria Modesta. In short, any single song or music video isn’t a problem. The culture and/or business who assumes only one body type deserves an anthem is the problem. I, for one, am happy to see Viktoria proudly being just who she is meant to be. We should all be so happy and proud.
What do you think of Viktoria Modesta’s Prototype video? What do you think of the imagery and the music? Do you think her message is a positive one, or will it do more harm than good? What songs or music videos trouble you the most?
As common users of the internet know well, every once in a while there is a picture, gif or video that shakes up the online world. Sometimes it’s light-hearted, like a grumpy cat or success kid meme. Other times, things get serious. Two such examples are the videos by Anita Sarkeesian on female tropes in video games and the street harassment video, featuring actress Shoshana Roberts. Honestly, I was excited when these videos made heads turn. Finally, we can have this very necessary discussion on sexism in our culture. Finally, women can feel welcome to share their experiences and join a public discussion on how they are made to feel on a daily basis. Perhaps most important, finally women can be threatened with rape and murder when they dare to speak their minds.
There was a day where I met my boyfriend at the rock climbing gym, like many days before. This day was slightly different, though. He was acting strange and made mention he had something to tell me. Whatever it was, clearly it was upsetting to him. He didn’t want to speak until we left and we could be alone. After an hour or so of climbing,we were walking alone to our cars. It was then he laid the big secret on me.