Sex and Ethnicity

Here is the trailer I sat on for  whole week before releasing it:

“I sat on it with my big fat butt,” a voice at the back of my head chimes in. Excuse me while I tell her to shut up. Okay, I’m back.

I was so excited to see this trailer. It is the culmination of an insane month of production. I was dying to know whether my brainchild looked like a high school presentation (you know, the year everyone made a video instead of doing an oral in front of the class) or whether it could contend with a show like Girls (adjusting the scale, of course, to account for their immense budget and resources). Well, I have to say, for a project with a budget of $No-Dollars CAD, I was THRILLED with this trailer. Right from the first frame, as the hauntingly beautiful song by Line Spectra started to play, I was so happy I wanted to project it on a giant screen from the top of Mount Royal. Then I saw the shot of my backside and I froze in terror. Absolute panic washed over me. I was hypocritically thinking, “What was I thinking?” even though I wrote and acted in that scene so all rules of logic dictate that I should have been expecting that shot. The playful slap on my upper thigh felt like a really hard slap to my face. Still to this very moment every time I hear it I wince. Of course I’m angry at myself for feeling this way. “You are being so superficial you are a friggin liberated feminist and you love your body and Lena Dunham is so brave so what’s wrong with you?” And so on went the cycle of self-flagellation. I went through it for a week. I uploaded the video and hesitated over making it public.

Then I remembered I wrote the scene with the very intention of reproducing the same mortification I felt when I heard the words, “All you need to do if you want to be an actress is tone up. Flab jiggles on camera. I saw that on American’s Next Top Model. They told the flabby girl to tone up or go home.” This bit of dialogue appears verbatim in the scene and sadly I’ve heard at least three variations of that advice since the start of my career. One time it came from a male talent agent who also told me in the same conversation that I was too ethnically-ambiguous-looking. He would never know what roles to submit me for! Recalling those events made me jump up and down (and yeah, some stuff jiggled) yelling, “THIS IS WHY I WROTE THE SHOW! THIS IS WHY WE NEED SEX & ETHNICITY!” Then I made the video public on Youtube.