No Such Thing as Normal

Brittany Bourdage
March 5, 2015

During a lecture on Debunking Arab Stereotypes at Schoolcraft College on 12 February 2015, Irsa El-beshir discussed how stereotyping has become a major concern in today's society. El-beshir touched on many of the Arabic stereotypes and explained the impact these stereotypes had on Arabs.

El-beshir used a personal example from when she was younger of how she and a childhood friend believed that all Arabic men were abusive and controlling even though they had never encountered such men. She also explained how the media truly impacts us and how it plays a huge role in playing into stereotype. One group that I believe deals with stereotypes as well as discrimination would be the LGBT and gay community. The gay community, when referring to men, is often portrayed as flamboyant and effeminacy. While the gay community, when referring to women, is often portrayed as very manly and very moody all the time. In reality these stereotypes are all just ways to label and judge someone.

"Normal" is a broad term to describe is the right way to do something. The concept of normal can be construed by many into whatever best works with their lifestyles or what they believe. Another concept that is used by many to alienate others is called othering. Othering is a term used to describe how someone thinks or looks at someone that is different than them; usually in an unpleasant way.

The film Love is All You Need (2011) concerns othering. The short film deals with a young girl growing up in a world where being heterosexual is frowned upon. As she grows up, she begins to develop feelings for a young boy in school. All the other kids in school ridicule her and beat her up. Even her own parents show how disgusted they are with her. This creates self-hatred in the young girl who ultimately commits suicide.

The soundtrack throughout the film helps set the mood and keepe the audience interested throughout the entire film. With the use of ambient music, you are able to connect with the character and begin to understand their emotions. An example of this can be seen at [3:49 - 3:56]. With the soft music sounding like the wind blowing, the audience feels her aloneness and how she feels out of place. Another place the soundtrack places a large part in showing emotion would be at [16:00 - 16:30]. The rise and fall of the music builds the scene up. It really captures the audiences' attention. Even without the dialog, you are able to truly connect with the young girl's pain and suffering.

Another film technique that can be seen in the film is narration. Narration is the telling of the story or added information that wasn't completely explained. One place that narration takes place is at [1:47 - 2:21]. During this scene, the young girl is explaining the first time she had feelings for a boy. She explains that, from that moment, she knew that something was different about her. Also you can see narration at [7:41 - 7:59] at this time the young girl describes how she knows now that she hates herself for being different. This shows us into her emotions and is the first time we see how the things that are happing are affecting her.

Cutting describes the movement between scenes. Quick cross cutting is used effectively during the scene where the young girl is sitting on the stairs listening to her parents fight and of her sitting in her room [13:23 - 14:16]. This helps us see the pain and horrible things others were saying to her that lead up to the ending scene where she commits suicide.

This film is a great teaching tool in showing people that what we say has a great effect on those around us; that bullying and stereotyping go hand in hand and really hurts the victims. We should always think before we say anything and also be less judging about how others live their lives.

Click on the screen capture from Love is All You Need to watch the film.