never dull your shine for someone else- tell them to put sunglasses on.

I have a lot of things to be very excited about this month. First of all, my school is hosting the first-ever student film festival in Dubai, and it is going to be amazing. I actually cannot wait. I love film festivals because of the amazing talent that is showcased through them. Plus, the movies are great- they often have more depth than the typical commercial blockbuster. Two of the summer movies that I am really excited about premiered at festivals: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing at SXSW (Much Ado is my favourite Shakespeare play EVERRR) and Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring at Cannes. Speaking of Cannes, can we just take a minute to marvel at Nicole Kidman's Cannes red carpet dresses? They were absolutely stunning.

A screenshot from Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. AAAH I'M SO EXCITED.
Anyway, back to the point. As a drama student, my final project was to create a music video that would be entered into the film festival. To do this, we got into groups, decided on a song and then worked on creating a message that would be portrayed through the four-minute video. Our group decided to communicate a simple message that we've all heard a million times before: Never change the person you are. In our video, we have five different story lines running parallel to each other: one girl is in an abusive relationship, another is being pressured into choosing a career she doesn't want, the third is being bullied and the fourth girl is under peer pressure. The fifth and last character is the constant, with no particular storyline. I can't tell you any more, because, as a certain archaeologist would say: 'spoilers' (you need to be a Whovian to get that reference).

Okay, I lied, I am going to tell you a little bit more, but I suggest you first watch the video here in order to avoid spoilers.

There can never be too much River Song on a blog.
I suppose you have watched the video by now, so I will continue. I love all of the storylines in the video, because I think that they're all really relevant. For example, the first storyline has to do with bullying, and I think that at some point in our lives, each and every one of us has been bullied in some way or another. It may not have been physical bullying, but all of us have been subjected to some kind of verbal bullying at some point or the other. And it needs to stop. I've always been told that if someone tries to bully you, just walk away because the bully is looking for attention, looking for a reaction. That's exactly what the girl in the video does. She gets up, looks around the cafetaria and she realises that no one is going to help her because they think that by helping her, they will be targeted. She then walks (well, runs) away from it all.

As for the second storyline- I'm not sure if this is clear, but basically the girls' mother is telling her that she cannot become a swimmer and should choose a career that has a future. Again, I think we can all kind of relate to this, because there's always someone who will tell you that you can't achieve your dreams because they're too 'unrealistic'. I guess you just have to believe in yourself. If you want it enough, you will get it, no matter how many people laugh at you.

I love the third storyline- where the girl is under peer pressure. I love this because she really does something about her problem. The others mainly just run away, and although it's assumed that they are never troubled by their problems again, it's likely that they would come back in the future. I love how she takes the bottle, and just when everyone thinks she's going to give in to peer pressure, she pours the drink into a plant and walks out of the party (thanks to my drama teacher for coming up with that idea). It kind of shows that you can't just run away all the time, sometimes you need to take action. That being said, sometimes running away can be taking action. In the case of the girl who has an abusive boyfriend, by running away from him, she's taking a huge step because she's showing that she's brave enough to escape.

The fifth character is interesting. She's just running for the entire video- she never stops right until the very end. And unlike the other characters, we don't know why she's running. She just is. She could be running to something- maybe her entire objective was to find and meet the rest of the girls, or maybe she's running away from something. The change in the scenery around her represents the change in the storylines- as she approaches more developed areas, the characters take those crucial steps towards getting out of the situations that they are in.

A screenshot from the video.
My favourite part of the whole video has to be the end, when all five characters unite. The audience is left not really knowing what's going to happen to them, but I like to think that they all stick together and help each other get over their problems and leave them behind. I think it shows how you can't always forget your problems by yourself- sometimes you need support and help. By coming together, these five characters are basically providing support for one another.

So there you are- my breakdown of our music video. I hope you guys enjoyed it and please let me know your thoughts on it in the comments. I'd love to know the different deeper meanings that you found because it's interesting to see how different people can interpret the same thing in different ways.

I will leave you with a quote from Coco Chanel: "A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."
PS: on an unrelated note, you guys should check out this epic article on Flavorwire about what your favourite Shakespeare play says about you. It's hilarious!


once you label me, you negate me.

Over the last few weeks, we've been studying vectors in math class. When we were introduced to the topic, someone said might have a little bit of trouble with this unit. The reasoning behind this? Well, apparently, girls can't read maps. This kept coming up until throughout the entire unit until a friend of mine showed everyone in the class this satirical video by the BBC. The concept that girls can't read maps is a perfect example of a gender stereotype. Gender stereotypes are still fairly common, even though most of them have been disproven over and over again. When we had our vectors investigation, it was a girl who got full marks. So much for girls not being able to read maps.

There are three basic types of gender stereotypes. The first one has to do with domestic behaviours. How many times have you heard someone say "women belong in the kitchen"? I've heard it quite a lot, and I always end up getting into a heated argument with the person who says it. This stereotype stems from the woman's traditional role as the homemaker. Just 100 years ago, women were expected to stay at home, doing housework and caring for children. Even though women now make up 58.8% of the workforce, this stereotype stays firmly in place. Interestingly enough, most of the world's best chefs are men. Even in my year at school, the best chef is a guy. His cakes and cookies are to die for.

The second basic gender stereotype has to do with the personality traits of men and women. Men are considered to be self-confident and aggressive, while women are supposed to be passive and quiet. This stereotype is so completely not true that I can't even believe it's still around! Personality traits don't depend on what gender you are, they depend on what kind of person you are. Of course, there will be some women who prefer to sit back, but there are those who are far more confident. Examples of strong women include Margaret Thatcher, Hilary Clinton, Indira Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Cheryl Sandberg and Angelina Jolie. All of these women have achieved great things and have certainly disproved the idea that women are supposed to be unassertive and compliant.

Source: weheartit (because sometimes it has some pretty awesome pictures to decorate blog posts with) 
The third common gender stereotype is with regard to occupations. Women are supposed to have 'delicate' jobs, while men tackle all of the harder work. There are plenty of women who are excellent architects, doctors and scientists. In fact, the person who discovered that hydrogen is the most common element in the universe was a woman. Similarly, there are plenty of men who are excellent ballet dancers and fashion designers. Careers should not be associated with genders- instead, people should be free to go into whichever field they choose without facing any kind of sexism.

These stereotypes need to be challenged. The media is still filled with a lot of negative sexism. For example, most action movies are dominated by males and female characters are pushed to the sidelines, only serving the purpose of being a beautiful, yet mindless love interest. There are still several instances in advertising where women are overly sexualised in order to sell a product. Gender stereotypes will never die out if mass media continues to enforce them.

However, there are some amazing, strong female characters from fiction. The first person that comes to mind is everyone's favourite archaeologist, Doctor River Song from Doctor Who. She's super-intelligent and she is very confident and very strong-willed. She doesn't rely on the Doctor- instead she fights (and generally wins) her own battles. And of course, let us not forget how sassy she is. Another example could be Det. Kate Beckett, from Castle. Again, she does not rely on Castle. She works incredibly hard, never stopping until she achieves her goal. Her determination and independence are two of her defining characteristics, and she is in no way passive or quiet.
River Song in all her awesomeness.
There should no longer be place for gender stereotypes. As Vinita Bali, CEO of Britannia said, “I firmly believe the debate about gender should be replaced by a debate about competency. I don't wake up every morning believing that I have to behave differently because I am a woman. I think about the best way to deliver what I have to deliver and just do it.