Storytelling is more than just words. It is about the passion behind the story, the storyteller, and their body. Stories can be told through movements of the body as simple as hand movements and as complex as dances. Social media has provided the opportunity for millions to express themselves to the rest of the world through body language and storytelling. As I began to explore this concept, one video in particular stuck out to me.
This story is told by a women named Jody Steel. She is using her body, and the power of that story, to share a message. Her voice is the artwork and through media, it can be heard by thousands. As of today, this video has 91,898,281 views. Through use of her body, Steel tells a story of body image and its moving target of ideals for all people.
It seems that if a person uses their body to please others, whether in television, modeling, Hollywood, or high school, they can never please their audiences. I saw that Jody commented on the video saying:
This moving target becomes an obsession for some, and that story can become a dangerous one. Jody was able to take those feelings and to tell her story, through her own form of art and the use of her body. When topics such as this are able to be talked about, and expressed, it becomes an outlet for some. For others, it becomes a medium of learning. If stories are not shared, it is difficult for those who have not experienced them, to understand them.
As I began to write this post, I managed to get distracted and found myself on Facebook. Within 5 minutes, I found multiple videos and photos that used art as a way for a female to share her voice, and her view points. One that stuck out the most to me is about a young women who was raped. After watching the film, The Hunting Ground, rape culture and how society treats rape victims has been on the forefront of my mind, so this piece caught my eye.
Karmenife Paulino is the student in the post. The article says that she was having difficulties recovering after being raped at a fraternity, so in response, she took dominatrix photos in front of her campus fraternity houses. These photos are a powerful representation of Paulino’s attitudes about her rape and the culture surrounding it. Rape culture is more than the rape itself, it is the attitudes around it and the people encouraging it. Rape culture is how universities help the victims of rape, and bring justice to the rapists or how they focus on their reputations instead of the well-being of students. Rape culture is how a collection of people work together to prevent rape, and teach their children how to respect the bodies, and minds, of others.
The photos, taken by Tess Altman, are speaking to viewers. Every person who sees it, may take away something different, but they each take away something. That is the power of storytelling. The teller can send a message to the audience, but it up to them, and their personal life experiences to interpret that story. Tess Altman and Karmenife Paulino, used their voice, through photography, to tell a story. A story that reflects the dominant society of fraternities and the victimizing of females who hang out with them. Karmenife is the dominant one in the photo, and the males are victimized. They are wearing shirts that say “Frat Filth”, as an icing on the cake to show how little they are to the dominator. This is an interpretation of the frat house experience that many face while at college.
The photos are a way of exposing the rape culture that is exposed in fraternities and on college campuses. The story being told is a real one, and far too commonly told. Media is a way for these stories, and many others to be shared, providing on opportunity for them to be heard and to make a difference in our world. Humans need to continue to share stories, because it is a way to define the occurrences around us. It allows us to make progress as a society.