Skins and sexuality

DIY projects have the ability to bring up issues that might be missed when just simply consuming media. In general, through DIY it is possible to see the views of just people, not huge corporations. They are also not money-driven, which changes the overall feeling. Since they are not trying to profit from their ideas, it allows for much more creativity and expression that is not present in other media. These projects can say anything they want to, which is quite different than other sources. In addition, the people making them are often actually “fans of the visual source” rather than just people critiquing the source (Coppa). Specifically, vidding is used to “comment on or analyze a set of preexisting visuals, to stage a reading, or occasionally to use the footage to tell new stories” while the “music is used as an interpretive lens to help the viewer to see the source text differently” (Coppa). This perspective is crucial in understanding the way that media is viewed by the viewer, not simply by other media. Watching a vid or another DIY type project gives a person insight into what the viewer is actually seeing when they consume this media. Rather than offering a biased and traditional interpretation of media, vids and other projects have free-rein to do whatever they wish to do.

For my DIY project, I decided to create a fan vid of the British T.V series, Skins. The show follows a group of teenagers in Bristol, England during their last two years of high school (sixth form). A different group of these students is followed each two seasons, showing the events of their lives through each person’s eyes. My vid specifically focused on four of the characters from the first two seasons of the show, and their relationships. The four characters that I focus on are Tony, Michelle, Sid and Cassie (with more emphasis on the first three). For those who do not watch the show, Tony and Sid are best friends, and have been for a long time. Michelle is Tony’s on and off again girlfriend, who Sid is notoriously in love with. Cassie, however, is a friend of Michelle’s who is introduced to Sid, and seems to capture some of his attention, and eventually his love. I wanted to address the issue of teenage sexuality with this vid, and how it is viewed in the show, as well as the idea of hook-up culture and the shift from traditional romance to this new version of relationships. I thought a vid would be able to express this idea well, as it can clearly compile some key moments of the show into one short video in order to get a certain point across. I think I was able to display an interesting view of the ideas of the show from my perspective as a fan, and it is more effective than simply writing a response.

This idea came to me while I was thinking of what we had talked about in class over the semester, and our discussions of Twilight popped into my head. We discussed what it was that drew people, particularly women, into the story, and came to the conclusion that a large part of it was the appeal of old-fashioned romance, and the moments leading up to the actual sex, rather than the sex itself. One thing that I found particularly interesting about Skins was that it is from the same time period as Twilight, and attracts its fair share of viewers, while depicting quite a different side of romanticism. In this video, using certain clips in combination with the song Blood Sugar Sex Magyk by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I attempted to show their complicated relationships, and the highly sexualized nature of the characters (particularly Michelle). This depiction is a reflection of the idea that society seems to have of youth culture, and how it is seen as “slutty” and promiscuous. I wanted to also create a display of the contrast between traditional romance and hook-up culture, and how it seems to further complicate the issues between the friends. I specifically chose Skins due to the subject matter of the show, and the fact that it addresses these issues, along with many more issues pertaining to teenage culture. In this vid, I was trying to show the idea of how teenagers are often depicted as being promiscuous in media using Michelle, who does seem to have a lot of sexual experiences with different characters (although not an obscene amount) and Tony, who does the same, and contrast it with Sid and Cassie, who do not. Sid is fairly monogamous in the show, but does harbor some desire for Michelle, even when dating Cassie. The song, along with the specific video clips, was chosen to represent this desire between all of the characters, but particularly of Sid to Michelle, and Michelle to Tony. Eventually, this desire does create a mess of their relationships, but I included the clip at the very end to show that it does not always determine who they turn out to be.

Bibliography

Coppa, Francesca. 2008. Women, Star Trek, and the early development of fannish vidding. Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 1.

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