I love watching romantic comedies and period dramas especially when life gets a bit cruddy. My go-to guilty pleasures are endless but to name a few – Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Pride and Prejudice (the original BBC mini-series), You’ve got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Love Story (love means never having to say you’re sorry..such a corny line), Downton Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Little Women (the original), Clueless and the list goes on. I sometimes imagine myself as the main characters and I don’t ever fit in so it got me thinking how my life would be if it were reenacted on the big screen. Would it be as wonderful and as cheesy? Probably not and it annoys me that I want it to be cheesy while equally elated that it won’t be. On one hand, I love all the happily ever after themed films and lord knows I enjoy watching them find each other and fall in love over and over again. On the other hand, I feel unrepresented. Surely there must be stories of single women in their 30s struggling to not push colleagues off of boats and eating cereal for dinner because they can’t be bothered to cook but still winning in life. I mean would it be so bad to show realistic characters who end up happy regardless of whether they meet someone amazing towards the end of the films? Would that kind of film be a hit? Can we get more films which shows single people (not women only) remains single and happy at the end of films?
Picture this – if my life were a Hollywood movie, the opening scene of my character would show her falling asleep while reading a book and her glasses would be a bit wonky from the result of that for the entire film. Sometimes she might find bits of crisps or raisins in her bra because it can happen! And the film will not highlight this woman as a character in need of a makeover because she is happy with her wonky glasses and the way she looks because she really is (at least most of the time).
Now the career part will be the main theme of this story – she will observe and experience first-hand discrimination to the level of getting depression. Then she would get a once in a lifetime job offer and just when she is feeling elated and proud of herself, she will be randomly asked by several self-entitled ignorant white men, “How did you manage to get that job?” with a tone, entirely ignoring the fact that she is more than qualified three of them combined. Yes, white men because only white men have the gall and glaring ignorance to say these things. No one will say congratulations to her except her true friends who are a very rare breed she will come to learn and she doesn’t mind at all because truly and honestly, you don’t need a lot of friends when you have good friends. Several times on any given day, she would be put in her place and mansplained by individuals, culture, and organisational structure: you’re not ready for that big promotion because of your gender and nationality, you are somewhat inferior in this line of work because of your skin colour and your nationality, you should not be too vocal, you should not be too quiet, you should not swear because it’s not ladylike, you are so emotional, and lately you shouldn’t eat a banana in public based on the fact that you’re a woman. Several times a day, she would have to bat off these comments and ignore them, and suppress herself from slapping them all silly. But she would NOT let herself feel down because of some random ignorant prats. Sure, she’ll cry in toilet stalls, and hide under her desk sometimes, or walk around the campus and cuddle campus cats for animal therapy to get through the day, but she will always remind herself to see the bigger picture, and to shrug off the idiots and their disparaging remarks. One day, she will be at Yale or Cornell and she will be an authority in her field and all the fuckers and sexist wanks can simple fuck off. Is that polite enough for you?
Ultimately, the movie will end with me, the main character, dancing into the sunset alone with at least a few books published under my name, and a stable financial income living in New York working as a tenure-track professor in Cornell University or somewhere equally prestigious. Would that kind of movie be a hit, Hollywood? Is the world ready to follow a Burmese woman who came from nowhere succeeding in life and achieving her wildest dreams all the while rising above sexism and prejudice? Can someone make this kind of film please? Just so I can feel represented. Thank youuuuu.