Title: How You See Us
Text type: Short film
Director: Susannah Joffe
How You See Us, Susannah Joffe’s short film. With a voiceover from Donald Trump, 17-year-old Joffe’s film explores the ideas of how many men portray woman today and how young teenage girls are seen in the eyes of the world. Only three seen characters, but none of those with speaking roles, and a numerous amount of background narrator, we see how young woman are portrayed to boys and men by media.
Black canvases to start, with words from Trump. We are then introduced to the three girls, flowers projected over them. Beauty, purity, innocence. We begin to see these girls pasted in glitter showing what shine a girl apparently should be portraying on the outside of her body. The sparkle she should have in her persona according to the outside world. With the gold and purple shades of the glitter, wisdom, creativity, courage and passion, what a young woman should actually be portrayed as. Flashes of the young woman eating a dollar bill are presented to us as the audience. Beauty costs money. To be beautiful is to vanish imperfections. This is what we are told. So this is how we act. With each problem, with each harmful words about looks girls are faced with, we have been told to change it with money – We should go out and buy makeup, we should go out and get treatments. This is represented by the girls eating the dollar bills. The teenagers begin to be showered in glitter but proceeded to brush it off one another. Just as society lanches stereotypes at us, showers us with what they think we should be, we, as woman, have to brush it off one another, and stand up for our rights, because no one else will if we don’t first.
While just the images cased portrayed a strong message, the words said over top strengthen this argument. “She has the hight, she has the beauty, she has the skin, she has the whole thing”. The “whole thing”, in this case, just looks. The “whole thing” this woman has is just based around her cover shown to the outside world. This girl’s whole package. We then go on with many more quotes and conversations from Donald Trump and a few others. “I never thought she was good looking. I don’t think she has good skin. I don’t think she has a great face. I think her lips are too big, to be honest”. This is one man publicly forming an option around a woman. He is telling her her lips are too big. A natural, beautiful feature on a woman that can only be altered by plastic surgery. Here is a man, the President of America, telling a woman to throw money at her looks to make herself appealing more appealing and attractive. “Rosie O’Donnell is disgusting, take a look at her, she’s a slob. I mean I’d look her in the fat ugly face of hers and say ‘Rosey, your fired'”. Again with looks. “Take a look at her”. Once again a woman is judged by her appearance, and nothing is said about her personality. “She must be terrific in bed…. She is terrific in bed”. Just by looking at her, this opinion has been made. This, however, not just one man talking about one girl. It is every male talking about every female. This is how the female race is thought of by the outside world. We are constantly reminded by media of this, and when the President of one of the most influential countries is degrading woman, this does not help our fight.
On the surface, this film seems like just another stab at Donald Trump, but for me, the experience of watching this film had nothing to do with him. I am a teenage girl, such as Joffe and the woman featured in this film. I see this happen every day and I am constantly labelled and piled with expectations from every move I make. This is what made the film so relatable to me. It spoke to me on a personal level. I experience what every other female of my generation experiences. I feel the expectation pressing on my shoulders and carry around with me what the media has told me I should look like. I too, like those girls, have thrown money at beauty, in the form of makeup and acne treatments. And I too feel the pressure to look how others expect me to look.
The short film, How You See Us, by Susannah Joffe, in my eyes, correctly portrays what it is like to be a teenage girl in 2017 and what girls from generation Gen Z are faced with every day, not even from the moment we wake up. But before this. Because shouldn’t we be beautiful when we sleep as well?