It's been about four months since Lights Out
went viral and lots of things have been happening since then. Both on and off the internet and it's been crazy and wonderful and quite surreal.
We have a lot to thank the internet for; how the film spread all over the world and scared millions of people, how David got contacted by Hollywood and lots of influential people in the movie business, and how our lives will surely never be the same again. For that: Thank you internet!
There is one thing though that took me by surprise in a not so good way, and I thought I would take a few snippets of your time to talk about that.
From the moment Lights Out started spreading across the www people have been commenting the video with words like these:That girl is uglier than the monster.
That chubby bitch kinda turns me on.
She's weirdly hot.
It's scary cause she's fat.
I would bang her.
This film would have been better with a pretty actress.
And a hundred variations of this.
I'm not writing this text in need of sympathy or reassurance but what I DO want to talk about is the part where it appears to be socially acceptable to speak about women like this the moment they appear on the internet.
I am quite baffled by how people (well, men, really) have felt the need to comment on my body and my physical appearance.
After reading some of the comments on my lack of sexiness the first thing that crossed my mind was this: I am wearing a big old boring pajama shirt! How come they focus on my body when I'm not even wearing something revealing and sexy?
Then I got angry for thinking like that because it shouldn't even matter if I was totally naked, dressed in a garbage bag or wearing red lace underwear; Call me naive, but I didn't think my looks had anything to do with this.
Lights Out is not about me being a chubby, ugly, weirdly hot (or even pretty, for that matter) woman going to bed. It's about a person
going to bed. The gender and physical appearance of the person in this shortfilm has no relevance at all.
The role could have been played by a tiny girl, a huge woman, a skinny boy, an old man, it doesn't matter.
I'm not supposed to look sexy I'm supposed to be an ordinary person. Nothing more, nothing less. Ordinary.
Someone you can identify with when you're going to bed late at night and maybe see something in the shadows you didn't think was there seconds before. When you're all alone and suddenly remember that shortfilm you saw once that was really creepy.
Just another human being. Like yourself.
So if that is what I am, then why would anybody want to point out how NOT model pretty I am?
How I should have been thinner. Blonder. Sexier.
I just don't get it.
Would Lights Out have been the same if it was a glamorous, shiny, perfect human specimen going to bed or would it maybe take some of the scariness out of it? When all the possibility of identification was removed from the premise?
I, for one, think so.
And I need to ask you something. Is it okay to live in a world where men (yes, all of the sexist comments have been written by men) feel that they are entitled to judge women's looks and bodies the second they appear in front of them, in real life or on a screen?
Where the first thing that pops into their mind when they see a woman is about how she looks and not what she seems to be doing. As a character, in a film, with a plot that's hopefully not only about how she's a woman with a body/face/breasts that the audience should comment about.
Maybe it would be an idea to follow what is happening in the story instead?
Maybe that would be something to try the next time?
Not unless the character in a film is turning to the camera saying "and now I want you to judge and critizice the body of the actor behind this role" are you to let your opinion of her physical appearance out on the internet.
There seems to be a widely spread idea that if something you're in goes viral on the internet the negative comments is sort of the price you have to pay for your internet stardom. It's harmless and you should be able to take it.
I've been thinking a lot about that because it makes no sense to me.
Well, yes, I am a 32 year old woman who is fairly satisfied with how I look and I think that I am perfectly alright just the way I am, but it still took me quite some time to learn how to handle these types of comments.
I live a lot of my life on the internet and love it to bits but as someone who has had to go through bullying in the real world as a kid, these hurtful comments feel so very close to what I was exposed to when I was only eleven years old and believed that what the bullies said must surely be the truth.
It's not nice and it's not something you just ignore. It takes time to learn how to leave the bad feelings towards yourself behind you and I know for certain that bullying can hurt for years and years to come.
Mean words hurt just as bad when written down as said out loud. It's not harmless at all.
Young girls and women should not have to toughen up and prepare themselves so that men could be free to judge them openly for their own enjoyment (What kind of enjoyment is that anyway?) and it's time people understand that just because you see a person in a video on youtube that person doesn't have thicker skin than you have.
I have come to the point when I can laugh at the stupid comments regarding my body and looks, and I keep telling myself it's lucky that I am a grown person who have had time to learn to love myself before I happened to be in a video that went viral. It would have been so much harder fifteen, or even ten, years ago.
One thing this whole experience has made me realize though is this:
I will never try to squeeze myself into a mold I won't fit into when that shouldn't matter anyways. I would love to be in many movies and I hope Lights Out is only the beginning for me. If film makers and directors want me in their movies I hope it will be because of how I act, not how I look.
Unless "slightly above average height, freckled, redhead with a european accent" is just what you need for your coming film project, because then I'm all on board!