[Editors note: Connie's post about her experiences as an attendee and a filmmaker have already been blogged about, but after finding the documentary on YouTube, I felt it appropriate to repost her experiences as a filmmaker, but this time with the documentary embedded. Thanks to Connie for her permission.]
To have my film Beautiful Sisters be part of The 32nd Annual Asian American Film Festival was an honor.
It was also extremely nerve wracking. I can’t help but have my heart beat uncontrollably fast each time I watch the short in front of people, nevertheless, think of all the things I would have done differently. But to see it amongst numerous talented, beautifully composed and moving films, is more than gratifying.
During my senior year in college, I took a film-making class because it sounded like fun and because I had just received the director position for my university’s production of The Vagina Monologues (I thought it’d enhance my “director” skills). Participating in the V-Day movement was phenomenal, and although I was part of such an empowering women’s community about overcoming violence and loving oneself, I still struggled with insecurities about my small eyes. I knew that eyelid surgery to create the look of bigger eyes was a possibility, yet something that I would never undergo myself. But how could I get over such annoying thoughts? At the same time, I learned that my youngest sister, Brittney, was starting to wear make-up to school every day. What was she thinking? And how could I serve to be a good role model for her?
Wanting to empower young women like myself, I created Beautiful Sisters. In the film, I follow Brittney during her morning routine, interview multiple women — a plastic surgeon, a college student who underwent eyelid surgery, a couple women who oppose the procedure and who feel OK about it. It was a journey for me to learn more about blepharoplasty, as it’s formally known, the varying viewpoints and an avenue to formulate my own opinions and conclusion.
By narrowing on eyelid surgery and personal narratives, I hoped to continue the conversation on how people perceive and construct ideas about beauty, race and gender identity, and ideally, feel beautiful in their own skin.
This was one story I felt compelled to share. There are much, much more.