Just in case you were interested in reading…
“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson
Though we live in a society that has taught us to accept truth as relative, we are also surrounded by media outlets that tell us who we are with almost absolute certainty. Movies and television feed us images and messages of what is standard or acceptable. However, it can be difficult to navigate through these media messages, with their stereotypes and representations of the ideal, to find something we can call “reality.” The media utilizes stereotypes to create an immediate sense of familiarity between the audience and the characters on screen, but by doing so, the media also reinforces inaccurate perceptions of reality in the minds of the audience members. We attempt to justify generalizations with the belief that stereotypes have a basis in fact, and eventually stock characters become representatives of entire populations, which we compare to the diverse individuals in the group.
Based on such stereotypes, society has subsequently developed expectations for my life – expectations for who I am as an artist, a Christian, an Asian, and a woman. The reflection in my mirror is of someone who fails to meet these expectations. Thus when others view my life, it may be with confused or even critical eyes as they face a person who challenges their assumptions. They may question if I am a true artist since I seem to lack the dramatic fits of inspiration and inner turmoil of the artists they have come to expect and accept. They may wonder what kind of Christian I am, believing that my faith ought to demonstrate compassion rather than condemnation. I, myself, wonder where I fall on the Asian/American spectrum and ask if either group will completely accept my multi-cultural self. And others may consider me “gender-bending” or perhaps less of a woman because I am not a paragon of femininity. I do not consider myself a typical artist, Christian, Asian, woman, or “fill-in-the-blank.” Society may agree, labeling me an “exception to the rule” or perhaps “abnormal.” But for me, this is reality and individuality.