In senior English class, Being Human, we have taken the time in quarter one to read The Metamorphosis and explore the ways in which Franz Kafka’s tale responds to the many “isms” of his day. We each then, along with our partners, went on to create its contemporary equivalent.
The first piece of this project included creating some type of literature in which would be the basis of themes in which the rest of our pieces explore. We were then responsible for crafting a "press release", a visual component portraying our symbols. Next, we created an "audience response", revealing the significance of our work on a contemporary audience. The last piece included the "cultural fabric". This caused for us to have to focus on these themes in a modern era and make all different sorts of connections.
My partner and I crafted, for our literature piece, a kids' novel about a new Disney Princess, Jalicia. Written by a fictional author, Deanna Miller, and theoretically produced by Walt Disney, this new princess of color attempts to teach young children about empathy and cultural and societal appropriation. The press release of this piece of literature was our book cover, including a summary of the novel, and "about the author" section, and fictional, promotional quotes about the book as well.
For our audience response piece we crafted a blog post of someone describing the book and then explaining how the story has "come to life". The blog speaks to the fact that with Halloween approaching and a new, popular Disney Princess making waves, little girls all over the world have been begging their parents to allow them to be Jalicia. This all seems innocent right? Wrong. It becomes evident that these young girls, simply trying to be their new role model for Halloween, are dressing in blackface, showing how the story truly comes to life. A quote from this blog pretty much sums up the situation and then leads the reader to a gallery of photos of fake Facebook comments from fake account showing the different perspectives society may have on the issue.
"In the fairytale, the people of Apathania are being faced with learning to empathize with one another and understand what is appropriate to say and do in society, and it seems society is making these young girls and their parents also learn this the hard way.
Obviously, blackface is nothing to be taken lightly, but is it possible that the intentions of these young girls were innocent and that society may be being a bit too harsh on them? Are the children really at fault here? The gallery below displays just some of society's feedback on the situation."
The cultural fabric aspect of our project speaks to multiple articles and introduces two new books. It first explains how a popular music festival, Coachella, and its influential attire have gotten some celebrities, such as Vanessa Hudgens, into some trouble when it comes to societal and cultural appropriation. It then links to an article all above offensive and racist Halloween costumes. Lastly, it introduces two books, The Mouse That Roared and From Mouse to Mermaid. The first book speaks to the fact of whether or not the Disney corporation is a good influence on children, describing that in the past they have been accused of promoting gender stereotypes and racism. The second is a collection of essays that analyze Disney media through the feminist lens, Marxist lens, and many more perspectives.
All of our pieces were put together on our own, originally designed website. The website goes through each piece and analyzes our overall theme of cultural and societal appropriation. We felt as though with Halloween approaching and costumes such as "Caitlin Jenner" being all the buzz that our topic is extremely relevant. Please feel free to go check out the website for yourselves.