I’m writing a bit of a different post today. I just came across something my Facebook Feed and am truly appalled and simply could not let this type of garbage fire be perpetuated.
I’m only providing the trailer link so people have context. I do not support this movie at all.As an artist, lover of all media art, the cinema to me represents an opportunity to explore humanness, the human condition and offer new perspective, imagination and creativity into life. This movie only injects harmful old stereotypes into the minds of young middle class movie goers. It does the same old thing, again. This is exactly what I hate about blockbuster Hollywood Silicon Valley bullshit- cinema is a failure designed to make millions, bullying, othering, and demonizing people in minority groups.
I have 3 simple reasons why this movie must be boycotted:
1. Dissociate identity disorder is NOT this. Vilifying mental illness happens all the time in movies and it’s incredibly harmful. This is probably an extreme and blatant example of that. The argument that a movie should be able to “do whatever it wants” is frankly irrational and wrong. Millions of viewers engage with Universal movies and if a movie perpetuates a stereotype about a fictional character, people who have similar traits to that fictional character will be oppressed socially as a result. A lot of people do not know what DID is, how it works or that it’s fairly common as a mental illness. A lot of people also don’t know that mental illness and mental health is a spectrum, that everyone falls on. Most people watching this movie, though not necessarily having DID will feel ridiculed because they or someone they love have had or do have a mental illness. Mental illnesses are not as depicted in the media, where they are seen as demonic, unnatural and abnormal. The reality is the opposite. But this type of “evil” rhetoric perpetuates stigma that seeps into social constructs. The News uses “mentally-ill” as a scapegoat reason to discuss a criminal, horror writers use the word “psycho” as lightly as they do “ghost” or “monster”. This is toxic, dangerous and complete failure.
2. This is easily stupid story telling. All of the harmful stereotyping and disgusting demonizing of mental illness aside, as a story it is really lazy. It’s easy to just “blame” a criminal’s act on their mental illness instead of coming up with an intriguing plot. This shows firstly a total disregard for DID disorder, secondly it shows a non-pardonable lack of research, creativity and actual artfulness. There are many reasons that could be focused on the individual as a person, instead of the individual as their illness, that could give rise to a conflict or crime. M. Night Shyamalan wrote this film and I hope that he knows he just used the easiest, safest trick in the book. Why make a film if you aren’t willing to put in the time to create real characters instead of caricatures?
3. This is a step in the wrong direction when it comes to putting mental illness into film. I think mental illness should be included in characters in shows, not in a romanticized way, not as a huge trait way, but just as this is one of the parts of this person who is an individual. A realistic portrayal instead of creating harmful stereotypes such as this movie, or movies that create the romantic suicidal art boy, mad scientist and emo teen. One connotation, or “single story” is not solving anything. While I do recognize there is growth in various TV shows and indie movies, Universal is still fixed on producing one dimensional story-lines, where people are cartoons and their all encompassing and wrongly defined trait is their mental illness. Going off on this, we need to stop having the same white man gets white girl with no personality after she rejects him, story over and over again. There also needs to stop being dead moms in every movie too. It’s so discouraging seeing the same hetero normative, patriarchy-loving, white and mental illness demonizing movie again and again making millions every single time.
This is all I have to say right now instead of just screaming into a megaphone and screaming “I hate you capitalist media” while flapping around my arms and spreading peanut butter on my chest in discouragement. This is the least I can do for now. #boycottsplit