Misrepresentation of History/Herstory

Veronica Rodriguez

Comm 137 SP16

History has always been on an uneasy swing back and forth from dramatizing and minimizing some truths. What happens when history is not written unbiasedly is that history is being changed by the media, or the reporting entity. Women didn’t have the chance to make films from 1930-1960. During the whole 3o year period, films were being produced and we had a male perspective of a female lifestyle and struggles. It’s quite obvious and should go without saying but a male cannot write about a woman’s experiences with accuracy, unless he’d been a woman before.

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Films would have been very different if women were a part of Hollywood for 30 years. One example we discussed often was Cheryle Dunye and her film based upon this exact problem. She could not find any women like her from the past and could not identify with anyone. It wasn’t until the 60s when TV became popular and these women were able to get some of their jobs back. The movement turned into what we now call the LA Rebellion.  But why were they considered outlaws? They were just women trying to produce authentic work. I mean after all, people write about what’s familiar to them, and I don’t think it would vary greatly in this case either. These women’s goals were to tell stories of African American people. A lot of history had happen and not only were women erased from it by not being in films or making them, but also the AA community wasn’t being represented. 

What happen in Hollywood then?! How do we know what we know is the truth?

Well, unfortunately, no one will know what the real life of a woman was in those 30 years. No one will really know what it was like to be an AA lesbian filmmaker/enthusiast either- and that is unfortunate.

Because of this missing history, filmmakers made up history; there was no herstory, and an alternate reality was produced.

In the film by Julie Dash, Illusions, the film critiques the minorities in the film industry and not given credit where it is due. The film presented us with a film in black and white showing and given illusion it was in 30s when no films were being produced in those times. The film also has a white woman play an AA woman which distorts reality. 

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The invisibility of woman was shown through these latter produced films. There’s a “mask” on Liela because the voice is from an AA woman, but as I mentioned, the woman acting is not. The distortion of illusion is strong in this film and in some ways it’s difficult to make out what is fiction and what is fact, but in essence, the voicelessness of women in these films suggests the reality of their reality. These films were intended for the white audience therefore they are created with their views of the world, which we can say is skewed, but cannot say wrong because if it’s THEIR truth, then it is A truth, just not necessarily MY truth. Nevertheless, the objective for these women were to regain their voices and their importance, not only in films and filmmaking, but in history- to make HERSTORY.

 

Citations

“Illusions (film).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 June 2016.

Juliedash. “”Illusions” – Dir. Julie Dash.” YouTube. YouTube, 14 Dec. 2006. Web. 08 June 2016.

“Review: Julie Dash’s ‘Illusions’ (Digitally Remastered Version Released on DVD This Week).” Indiewire. N.p., 03 Sept. 2014. Web. 08 June 2016.

“Rewriting Hollywood History in Julie Dash’s Illusions.” Senses of Cinema. N.p., 02 Feb. 2009. Web. 08 June 2016.

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Author: Comm 137 Spring 2016

Navigating the microevolution of culture through the individual experience as expressed through the lens of the black woman filmmaker.

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