Am I beautiful? It’s a question that each and every woman will ask herself at one point in her life (or more likely, several).
Women are constantly being bombarded by images and advertisements that define beauty within the context of American perfectionism. These ads tell us what’s attractive, interesting, or even acceptable – making it nearly impossible to ignore these standards and love ourselves for who we are. What’s particularly disturbing is that the women in these ad campaigns don’t live up to such standards themselves. They must be covered in make-up from head to toe, lit perfectly, and photoshopped before they exemplify the very measures of beauty they were hired to represent. It’s a problem.
Filmmakers Emily Sheskin and Veena Rao set out to examine the perception of women’s beauty in their short documentary, There She Is. The film follows best friends Allison Kopach and Jenny Flores as they compete in the 2011 American Beauties Plus Pageant, which is open to women sizes 14 and up.
Short documentaries are such fascinating forms of storytelling because they require their creators to limit themselves and the depth of their content. Although only 16 minutes long, Sheskin & Rao successfully developed a short documentary that is intriguing, entertaining, and informative. Their control as filmmakers is executed spectacularly – allowing the audience a glimpse into the lives of two wonderfully remarkable women without lingering or overindulging. Though briefly told, the depth of their story is relatable to practically any woman.
Allison and Jenny’s story is the same as Emily and Veena’s, or yours, or mine. Who are we? Do we live up to the physical standards of others? Do we live up to our own measures of worth? And after years of being conditioned to feel like we aren’t good enough, how are we supposed to change? How are we supposed to love ourselves unconditionally? There She Is is a story of confidence, love, and self-worth. It’s a film that’s meant to be shared for years to come. We must take inspiration from Allison and Jenny, both of whom are charismatic, beautiful, and strong. We must also take inspiration from Emily and Veena, whose talents are not only highlighted by their superbly produced film, but by the fact that they sought to answer these very questions we all ask ourselves.
Please watch & share There She Is
Visit http://www.pageantdocumentary.com/ to learn more about the film and follow on Twitter to see if There She Is will be coming to a festival near you.