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Award-Winning Film-Maker and Diversity Advocate Elena Rossini Visits AGS Students

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

gs_elena_rossini_20190301.jpgAward-winning Italian filmmaker and producer Elena Rossini visited AGS students in Professor Ruchi Anand’s Gender, Militarization and War class on March 1st to talk about her work advocating diversity and fighting the commodification of the body and the detrimental effects of media and consumer society.

Rossini talked about the research and findings behind her documentary The Illusionists, in which Prof. Anand was interviewed. This feature-length film shows how advertising and the beauty industry are changing the world as we see it, creating a population of people striving to look a particular way. The supposedly ideal body that they promote, one that is white, blond, small-nosed, long-legged and Western, is unobtainable for the majority of people, but companies sell this “perfect” image around the world to foster insecurity in billions of people. Because nothing sells better than insecurity. Elena shared how the process of gathering the data for her film revealed the hypocrisy within the advertising agencies: many large brands promote skin whitening creams in nations such as India, while a simultaneous promotion is broadcasted to people in the United States for skin tanning. These contradictions show how companies are manipulating the population of each country, telling them that beauty can be bought if only they keep consuming.

This conversation on beauty standards sparked an interesting conversation among the students, who related to the different impacts advertising had on their diverse communities, from Western Africa to the Southern United States, and the impact they’ve seen of skin whitening cream and the discrimination they feel based off of the tanning of their skin.

Elena then introduced students to her newest project, labelled The Realists, which centers around the impact technology and social media has on people’s self-esteem and self-image. Still in the midst of interviewing and gathering research from around the world for this project, students reflected on the importance of this project and how different daily life is with instant access to people’s lives on their phones.

"In a  diverse class on 'Gender, Militarization, and War', Elena's thought-provoking presentation evoked a multifaceted discussion on the role of worldwide beauty standards. These standards, her film depicts, are globalised through profit-seeking multinational companies, capitalising on consumer-insecurities that are fostered through gendered expectations! The traditional international definition of war took new meanings including a war on self!"

Written by : Katie Pratt, M.A. Candidate 2021

 


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Ryan MillsUnited States
Study Abroad in Paris
Fall 2015 

quote leftFrom current issues in the Middle East taught together by an Iranian historian and an Israelli journalist, to NGO management taught by the director of Human Rights Watch in France, every class was fascinating and taught by some of the most impressive people I could ever have imagined. I immediately felt at home in this small but active AGS community because, although students and professors are all from different parts of the world, everyone takes the time to understand each other's perspective. Overall, I would recommend AGS to anyone with a thirst for intellectual stimulation and a drive to not only understand the world of international relations, but engage in it..quote right

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