Imagine – shooting a 15 to 30-minute short film within three days with a 3 person crew- not including the lead actress. There isn’t a lot of dialogue, but there is a lot of location changes, early mornings, late nights, no bathroom breaks, and being kicked off locations or having to cut shooting short. This doesn’t even include the extra actresses used on set, the makeup, and don’t even get me started on the editing process, audio mixing, and coloring. But, overall, Meghan Lane’s short film, Imagine, was worth bringing back my caffeine addiction.
Imagine is a short film about a 20-something-year-old woman living in New York City. Although she has a seemingly healthy relationship and a good job, she is still dissatisfied with herself -her appearance – specifically. Throughout her day, you can hear her inner criticisms about her body and how she looks in relation to other advertisements she sees around her. It also portrays her daily fight, and other women’s, with overall appearance and weight gain. The lead character resorts to intermittent fasting and constantly working out in order to achieve her “ideal” self. Through Meghan Lane’s performance as the lead character in Imagine, she brings to light how it feels to be constantly subjected unrealistic ideals of the human body.
Although the film is from a woman’s standpoint, I do not mean to imply that men are not subjected to unrealistic presentations by the media. In truth, men are subjected just as often, only about 18% of commercials directed at men are related to body image. In contrast, at least 50% of commercials directed at women are related to aging, body weight, and physical attractiveness. However, the media cannot take all the blame. Body image has been the subject of artwork and debate since Ancient Greece, in which Hippocrates noted a connection between eating disorders and physical disorders. During the Victorian times, women would starve themselves in order to appear thinner – although, I thought the corsets rearranging organs were enough to give women “hourglass” figures. According to research, eating disorders have a positive correlation with the development of the country the individual resides. For instance, more developed countries, such as the US and UK, have higher incidences of eating disorders than poorer countries.
The neuroscience of eating disorder is based on the dopamine reward system. Healthy individuals’ brains are affected in the ventral tegmental area, dorsal/ventral striatum, habenula, hippocampus, thalamus, and amygdala when consuming food. In contrast, individuals with an eating disorder do not show any reward activity when consuming food. Although they resist food intake, they are constantly obsessing over food. This obsession and irritability individuals feel when they’re hungry are results of the lateral hypothalamus. The lateral hypothalamus reminds the consciousness that the body needs food, it is also the center responsible for aggression.
Although Imagine’s theme does not revolve around eating disorders, it is centered around negative body image, one of the main symptoms of anorexia nervosa. Additionally, Imagine brings to light the outstanding amount of advertisements directed at women. For instance, I did not realize how much I was accustomed to extremely thin, photoshopped models until I saw Aeropostale’s new bra collection, with still incredibly thin models, and Fenty’s lingerie collection, with a range of size models. Essentially, I forgot how a true waist appeared, even though I had been striving for my ideal waist for years, I had forgotten that all bodies come in different sizes and waist measurements. My waist doesn’t determine my value. Working with Meghan Lane in Imagine was not only a lesson in directing stamina but also a lesson to myself about my image.