Archivo de la categoría: Mixology

Honey, I shoehorned heterosexuality on the kids

Let’s all agree on this, the media doesn’t like to portray queer children. We can have lots of wonderful and nuanced gay couples flourishing in front of our eyes accompanied with some transgender characters in our TV shows, but don’t even think about getting a beautiful coming out story of a child with an identity crisis, because kids watching it might “get confused” and ask things we’re not prepared to answer as the grown-ass adults we are.

We don’t like to confront the things we’re not able—or don’t want—to understand. That’s why most of the audiences, especially parents, get usually startled when even a hint of queerness stands out on their children’s TV shows because talking about it will automatically imply we want our children to be themselves and live a full life instead of living within the borders of the idea of life we have for them.

We like to see our children depicted as five-year-old heterosexual boys holding hands with five-year-old heterosexual girls yearning for long-lasting relationships since the first day they were born and dreaming with being home-steady moms and dads who provide for their families. Basically, the perfect family picture.

And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad with wanting to have the family, the house, the children and the dog visualized in the future. The problem here is that the media is not capable to look beyond that stereotype, especially when our reality is really different and far from it. Every day, there are more and more queer children embracing their identities and feeling good about themselves than we can handle, and that scares us.

That’s why most TV shows, especially the ones that have a younger audience, prefer to depict their children as heterosexuals —especially men— from the very beginning. In fact, they would probably establish them as such on the first or second episode of the season to leave no doubts about it.

We can’t have a little boy on television who is sensitive and caring without clarifying upfront his heterosexuality. We also can’t have a child who doesn’t have a romantic interest (or even intentions of having one) without giving them one immediately, because being single would probably mean that they’re indecisive or gay. Sadly, that’s a direct reflection of our reality and the ways we reduce children’s identity.

Nowadays, is really easy to find stories of little boys falling in love with little girls —and not the other way around— from a very young age in TV shows, as opposed on investing in creating meaningful stories that centre on them being alone and discovering themselves; that would leave no space to believe that they are nothing but heterosexuals. People actually prefer to create a love arc between their little heterosexual children before considering the idea of, I don’t know, letting them be children.

There isn’t a better example of this than the characters of Jackson (Michael Campion) and Max (Elias Harger) from Netflix’s Fuller House (2016): a pair of thirteen-year-old and seven-year-old boys respectively, who have been problematically paired up with several girls since episode one of their three-season run, with lots of excuses, narratively-wise, to justify this.

Jackson has been portrayed, from the very beginning, as a teenager experiencing his wonderful blossoming into manhood, and as such, he has been doing it with the help of his manliness. The problem with it is that his character is constantly reduced to his heterosexuality and his “manly appeal”, making it his only recognizable trait. Jackson’s arcs have always been about him trying to make girls like him. If we strip him out of it, there would nothing left of him, leaving behind a blank of a person.

Max’s heterosexuality, on the other hand, is so frustratingly shoehorned, that any story −and believe me, there are lots of them−that develops around him and his love life automatically feels superficial and out of character. Why? Because he is portrayed as a sensitive child that is in touch with his emotions and, as we have learned, emotions and sensitiveness are not usually related to manliness and heterosexuality in boys.

The people behind the show is so invested in proving that Max is heterosexual that they have essentially devoted all of the entirety of his season 2 and season 3 arc into orchestrating a feud between him and his neighbour over the love and attention of a girl, named Rose (Mckenna Grace), —who’s title actress looks always uncomfortable— in order to become her boyfriend. It’s important to mention that none of them has asked her if she would like to date them or even if she’s interested in any of them.

Something similar has been happening on another Netflix show, Stranger Things (2016), where it seems that the love lives of a group of thirteen-year-old boys are more interesting than the mysteries surrounding them. Or at least, that’s what the creators of the show, the Duffer brothers, have been trying to tell us on the two seasons that have been aired.

First, they stripped Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) of all agency by giving her the role of Mike’s (Finn Wolfhard) love interest on season 1’s finale, then, they brought a new girl character, called Max (Sadie Sink) to fulfil the role of the Smurfette of their group that Eleven left when she was gone, and with no other reason to exist than becoming Lucas (Caleb Maclaughlin) and Dustin’s (Gaten Matarazzo) love interest and object of desire.

Also, like Fuller House, Stranger Things has their very own Max problem with one of their leads, Will (Noah Schnapp), who is also a sensitive, caring boy who also happens to be in touch of his feelings and the only one who has not being paired with any other girl. But, as he becomes more and more important, I can already see him meeting a love interest for season 3, especially because lots of media outlets and forums devoted to the show have been asking to the creators to have him be a gay character.

What’s really dangerous—and also disingenuous, I might say— about the narrative that the creators of these shows are trying to tell, is first, that girls’ only purpose in this world is to become a symbol of heterosexuality for adults to use as love interests in order to justify the heterosexuality of their boys and, second, that children need to be paired up before they have the chance to even try to think about themselves, their identities and what they really want.

Representation will always matter, especially when it comes to children and their identities, if we want to set a good example, we need to depict them as to how they really are and not by the idea we have of them.

 

 

 

 

 

Hereditary and the selfless mother/selfish woman dichotomy

Warning: This post includes MAJOR Hereditary spoilers. Proceed with caution.

As I previously stated , the mythical mothers in cinema history have the tendency to be represented as these selfless individuals who are capable of putting everyone else before them and who would do everything for their families, specially for their children.

What’s really dangerous of this portrayal is not the very idea of selflessness, but the assumption that motherhood is inherent to all  women and, even worse, that it constitutes the definition of womanhood.

With this trope, movies are telling us that women need to be mothers in order to fulfill their purpose, that women need to be mothers to feel complete and that there’s really nothing else for them to do in this world but to deliver babies .

From rom-coms to dramas, movies go out of their way trying to beatify their mothers’ purpose on their stories. But there’s actually one genre that has been subverting this trope all along: horror movies.

I’m talking about horror movies, not their suitable cousin, slasher movies, where the mother figure is commonly the first one that is willing to die, literally, for her family at any time, as she is always available for screenwritters to use as cannon fodder in order to increase the body count to up the movie stakes.

Unlike these films, recent horror movies, like The Babadook (2014) or Good Night Mommy (2015), have helped to change the ways cinema represents their mothers  by portraying flawed maternal figures that are tired of the inherent responsability that comes with motherhood and are acting on it in sadistic and vicious ways. Everything but mother-like.

Fortunately, the wonderful jaw-dropping Hereditary (2018), falls right into this place, too. Specially when it tries to unpack the trials and tribulations  behind  the difficult relationship between its protagonist Annie, her mother Ellen, and with her children, Charlie and Peter.

From the very beginning of the movie, Annie lays it all for us at her mother’s funeral: she really loved her, but their relationship was complicated and really difficult to process, Ellen had her secrets and was a really secretive person whose husband died young at the hands of a mental disease and a son who went mad blaming her for placing the voices in his head. Clearly, she did not embraced the stereotypical idea of motherhood.

Later we discover that not only did she offered up all her family —specially her grandchildren— as a sacrifice to bring back a demon from hell, but that her first attempt involved using her husband and son as a mean to achieve her goal, but eventually failed.

With Ellen, the movie paints a character that  goes against everything the mother trope stands for. She is someone who’s purpose goes beyond her inherent motherhood and a cult leader who also happens to have children. She is the antithesis of the selfless mother: the selfish woman; that’s what happens when a mother stops thinking about her children and starts thinking about herself.

In fact, not only does she has a particular aim whose very process involves putting herself and her cult interests first and foremost before their family and their well being, but she carries along with it without even considering it or flinching. Ellen’s purpose on earth is clearly not putting their children first, as society expects her to do. She sees her kids as tools to find meaning to her life,  not the meaning itself.

Ellen, as a character, is easy to portray because her motivations are clear and directly comes from a subverted trope. Annie, on the other hand, is a more complicated, and nuanced, individual. She tries to act like an overbearing mom with Charlie, her younger daughter, but the ghost of her mother, and her consequential heritage, lingers with her.

Annie loves her children, but she also knows —on a subconscious level— that there’s something wrong with them. Charlie represents the first embodiment of the demon her grandma is trying to bring back to earth, while Peter is the masculine body that later will be used as a vessel for the same demon to occupate.

Annie’s character represents perfectly the dichotomy of the selfless mother/selfish woman on a conscious/unconscius level as a criticism against the expectations that society has towards women. A mother know on a conscious level that her selflessness must be part of her daily “job” but, on an unconscious level, she will always try to fight back all these ideas bestowed upon on her, by separating the idea of motherhood from her very own construction of womanhood.

We learn, as the movie goes on, that Charlie was Annie’s mother favorite  child as she always wanted to fed her since she was a little baby; that was the main reason why Annie smothered her so much, to kept her away from her.

Annie also didn’t want to have Peter, her oldest son, as she even tried to abort him on a failed attempt. She also tried to kill both of her children on a sleepwalking night by showering them on kerosene and lightning a match before walking up.

Annie is overbearing and smothering with her children on a conscious level because it’s the only way she understands how a mother should behave, but she is also selfish, on a unconscious level, by doing what it has to be done  for the sake of her family and against her mother’s wishes, by trying to get rid of the evil her children will become in the future.

The great thing about Hereditary is that, not only does it give us the opportunity to get excited about an inteligent horror movie with nuanced symbolisms to talk about, but it also offers a great way to understand the stereotype behind motherhood and the different ways that some women are capable of carrying along in order to break this mold in numerous and fulfilling ways.

Loneliness as a transformation force in movies

The awards season is officially here and has sucesfully bestowed upon us a series of wonderful movies to fall in love with and to put our absolute attention into. There are certainly a lot of stories to delve into.

From well-known controversial figures raw biopics  to insightful stories about hurt individuals looking for hope , this years’ awards season has done something amazing; they have brought back a conversation around an important subject: loneliness.

In my mind, some of the most important films of this year have shared and used at their benefit a special kind of narrative in which their authors have profoundly tried to depict intimate portraits of loneliness surrounding their main characters while shining a light on the importance of this very representation on films.

Tonya Harding, the infamous ice skater involved on the Nancy Kerrigan fiasco, is perfectly depicted as a woman that have faced loneliness her entire life in I, Tonya. Rejected by her mom, her dad and her husband, Tonya’s only place where she felt she belonged was on the ice rink. A place where she embraced the loneliness around her making her strong whilst giving her a sense of purpose.

From the very first frame, we see her sitting alone in her kitchen telling her story. In fact, every single frame in this movie positions her always far from everyone, isolated, facing reality on her own. Whereas she is skating and trying to do a triple axel or fighting with her husband, she’s always framed alone.

Tonya Harding’s story is not easy to digest and the movie doesn’t try to sugarcoat it. She’s depicted as a flawed human being that have been stripped from her truth and her voice since she was a little girl. I, Tonya‘s very purpose is to give Tonya Harding back the control of her narrative, of her own story, but more importantly, this movie is trying to give back her voice, so she can confront loneliness knowing she has the power to overcome it.

Lady Bird`s particular way to portray loneliness, on the other hand, is what I found more compelling about this Greta Gerwig’s movie. Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is the typical misunderstood teenager looking for the meaning of life in the middle of her adolescence. However, there’s a special thing in the ways she confronts reality.

First, and foremost, she doesn’t like to be called by her given name. That’s the way she reacts and the perfect excuse to ostracize herself from her family and from the little town she’s from: Sacramento. She’s not a victim of abandonment, on the contrary, she embraces loneliness as way to define her coming of age.

Along the movie we get to see her dating constantly, meeting new friends, losing old ones and hanging out with her family all the time. Physically, she’s never alone, but that’s the point. She doesn’t need to be around people to feel good. Loneliness is one of the features that defines her, not the relationships she’s been making all along.

She wants to be alone as much as she wants to be heard. She looks constantly for new ways to contradict herself and her family in order to seek for validation. Her loneliness is not a disadvantage, it’s, instead, the crystal with which she uses to see through her reality. When Lady Bird feels alone is when her best self appears to make all the responsible decisions she needs to make.

In fact, the scenes where she is framed alone are certainly the director’s way to tell us that some big decision is coming our way. Whereas she’s framed between big houses, inside a moving vehicle or at edge at her bed Lady Bird is filled with big intimate and lonely moments that helps to define our main character. No wonder the main poster of the film puts Lady Bird alone and facing at the future.

Call Me By Your Name, Luca Guadagnino’s film, is also very much framed in loneliness. This movie, just as Lady Bird, uses this particular subject to depict an unique way to understand the coming of ageof a character, but in a different light. Whereas Lady Bird uses loneliness to define herself, Timothée Chalamet’s* Elio runs constantly away from it.

Elio too is a misunderstood young individual who’s looking for the meaning of life whilst dealing with the insecurities and problems any teenager has to live with. What’s really striking about his story in this movie is the way he understands loneliness. For him, being alone also means to be hopeless and isolated from reality. He sees himslef alone because he doesn’t understand what’s happening with him.

We see this with the way he treats Marzia, one of her friends that happens to have a big crush on him, he only looks for her when he feels lonely, but when Oliver appears in his life, he immediately dismiss her.

What’s really beautiful about this movie is that this type of attitude is not portrayed as something that comes from a place of malice but from insecurities and confusion. Elio feels like his walking in circles, feeling lonely and different. He doesn’t feel like a normal teenager. Oliver’s importance in his life gives him a meaning and something to aspire to.

To Elio, loneliness is not something to be reckoned with, because he links this feeling with confusion. But at the same way, he aknowledges it as an important part of his growth. In that way, loneliness is portrayed beautifully in this movie as one of the means behind transformation.

There’s no better way to portray this argument than the final scene of the movie (SPOILERS) when Elio sits alone facing the fire and feeling lonely. Sure, he’s just realizing that the guy he fell in love with is no longer in his life, but he doesn’t feel confused anymore, because Oliver transformed his insecurities into wonderful memories together (END OF SPOILER). Elio doesn’t feel bad when he’s lonely anymore, because he learned that he doesn’t need an outside validation to feel comfortable with himself.

These are only a handful of movies that you possibly  will be hearing about more on the upcoming awards season. The have a lot to be celebrated for, but I think that their achievements goes beyond technical praises.

The way they captivate intimate portraits of loneliness should be recognized as something important and relevant. Something that goes beyond the incredible story that happened in front of our eyes. To depict loneliness in a positive light is a form of art on itself.

 

*Fun fact: Timothée Chalamet appears in both Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird.

Rachel Bloom: musical comedy and spot on feminism

The day I fell in love with Rachel Bloom was actually the first time I ever heard anything from and about her. I was just  in the process of getting over my ex-boyfriend, so, naturally, I was looking for new music for my sad “I’m-over-you-and-I’m-not-sad-at-all” playlist to listen to on an infinite loop. I ran out of options quickly so, as any other lonely guy would do, I searched for songs with the word “dick” on their name and, without realizing, I was rapidly blasting “Pictures Of Your Dick”, by the one and only Rachel Bloom, non-stop. Little did I know that finding this merry tune will be just the tip of the iceberg on my quest to understand and embrace the numerous ways she navigates with her comedy.

For those who hadn’t had the joy of knowing Rachel Bloom, let me break it down for you. She is a comedian who started her career by doing musical comedy on Youtube (Please, don’t miss the opportunity to go to her channel to take a look of what’s she’s capable of) and now she’s the creator, writer and protagonist of The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend TV show, which recently was renewed for a third season.

She is a feminist who uses musical comedy to make a point and to take a stand on what she really believes in. So, in order to understand her comedy, you will need to see it as a criticism and a satire of the society’s actual state.

The clever ways she  balances her feminism in perfect unison with her comedy is, actually, her greatest statement of all; in fact, Rachel Bloom’s best asset is her particular way she uses the deconstruction of tropes, and social constructs, as strong arguments against sexism. Traditional gender roles and moral values are just some of the topics she likes to toy with on a daily basis.

Rachel Bloom sees society as a one big musical. A staging where the performers live by the narratives they taught themselves to believe in in order to follow the rules the script has laid upon them. A play where some tropes could be just as harmful as labels, but that can also be subverted in the same way.

You will only need to take one glimpse on her trajectory to find three subverted tropes that are present consistently on all the things she does: The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Disney Princess and The Party Girl. Her most famous yet is, and thanks to her TV show, the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

This particular trope is pretty complex by itself, not only because it comes from a blatant sexist background, but because women are often labeled with it. You might have heard about this one before, it stems from the outdated idea that women are just emotional individuals that keep making rushed choices with their heart and not with their minds. So, by acting on it, they will always be reduced to this one-note characters that will probably be obsessed with the dudes they had a relationship with.

Rachel Bloom, on the other hand, makes the most of it by really going along with it. She constantly mocks this particular trope by going the extra mile by granting all these particular characteristics to her main character of the show, Rebecca Bunch (played, obviously, by her): she basically moves to her ex-boyfriend’s hometown in order to get back with him, but she’s convinced that that’s not the reason she changed cities.

Rebecca is obsessive, irrational and stubborn. She’s the best caricature of the trope we can get. That’s what’s really enthralling of the show, her character is so exaggerated and over the top that it becomes really easy to deconstruct it in order to identify the flaws behind it. That’s how Rachel Bloom rolls, by exaggerating the stereotype and waiting for the cracks to show.

Her Crazy Ex-Girlfriends are often saying to themselves, and to others, what men would like to hear in order to get back with them, after all, they are hopelessly in love and  very devoted to the man they love. It’s common that they have a really low self-esteem and their personality, and core identity, varies from man to man. They even upload pictures of their ex-boyfriend’s dick online as a form of personal vendetta.

With only two seasons of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in, we are able to understand, as the audience, that women that are labeled as the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are, in fact, often constrained by all the high and sexist standards that society have placed on them from the very beginning.  In a certain way, they just acts on it.

Women have to be sentimental — and not tough—, because the gender role they have to fulfill demands them to be like that, but only in small doses and without being too loud, because, without any kind of supervision, it could probably transform into an obsession or, even worst, a direct attack against our very fragile masculinity.

The Disney Princess trope comes right from the same place. Society will always tell us that, in order to have a happy life, women have to become wives, not Crazy Ex-Girlfriends,  and the best way to do it is by drawing the attention of a Prince Charming by being feminine, elegant, selfless and sentimental. That’s why Rachel Bloom’s subversion of this trope is so delicious. Her Princesses are everything but what society likes to call “ladylike”. They like to curse while their sing, and they will certainly talk about poop and menstrual cramps without any decorum. They are, at the end of the day, regular human beings, not impossible standards to achieve.

The Party Girl has her origins on the darkest corner of masculine heterosexuality: the fantasies. This stereotype wants women to be sexy, sensual and carefree but without losing any trace of femininity and elegance. This particular trope can be very contradictory by itself. It asks women to be kind of slutty but without losing their pristine image or any respect from the others, especially from herself. You can also find this girl in any party waiting to woo over some random dudes.

In Rachel Bloom’s world, the Party Girl sings at the club about dying from cancer, throwing up a bile, threatening someone’s girlfriend to kill her and use her skin as a dress, or even flying her dirty panties as a kite, all of that whilst using a revealing outfit. As you can see, she’s anything but sexy.

This is what we really need right now, someone who is willing to use her platform to make strong statements about important topics visible,  with creative methods that can help people understand them in a more accesible way. Rachel Bloom is already getting ahead of everybody.

Fading to black: Lars Von Trier and gender politics.

As I have mentioned before, I really like to watch movies and TV Shows that are capable of making me feel uncomfortable —and, sometimes, even disturbed—not only for the cringeworthy moments, but for their capacity to confront and transform the paradigms with which I live my life by. Lars Von Trier’s films could perfectly sum up all of this.

I’m sure you have all watched at least one of his movies, and I’m also sure we can all agree on one thing: Lars Von Trier’s movies are nothing but average.

I’m not here to talk you into watching some of the best films of his wide and impressive career (something you should definitely do) or to tell you he is one of the most clever minds that the modern cinema has and will ever have (he really is), but to rather talk about something more relevant, and significant, to the times we’re living in: his gender politics.

If there’s something this director is really good at is portraying accurate depictions of what is like to be a woman in our current society, what her place is and how difficult her relationship with the men around her could be.

Lars Von Trier depicts his women like individuals without a voice, without a place to belong and a body to own. These women are often the caretakers, the ones that are always giving everything without expecting anything back, the ones that put everyone else’s needs before theirs. These women are stripped of any type of agency and decisions of their own and are constantly taken for granted.

Men, on the other hand, are the ones deciding upon women’s lives, decisions and bodies. The ones taking the spaces from them, the ones that are constantly putting women down by being condescending and unapproachable. These are the men that think they deserve everything they want, specially when a woman is involved. It’s no surprise that all of Lars Von Trier’s women end up on the verge.

The director has a keen eye to portray hopeless mothers. These individuals are portrayed as both completely vulnerable and always subjected to the men around them. They are women devoted to look after their children and to keep them safe from the dangers of the world.

Selma (Björk), in Dancer In The Dark, is the embodiment of this. She is an immigrant single mother that lives in the backyard of Bill (David Morse), a well-known policeman of a small town of the U.S who would do anything to please his wife, even if it means to steal money from his tenant.

Selma’s otherness is both the cause of her demise and her reason to be happy. She has no place to live, but the shed of Bill. She’s also going blind and lives with a constant guilt over her son’s possible blindness too. Bill takes advantage of this situation by immediately robbing her and putting her in a difficult position; leaving her with no other solution but to kill him.

Selma’s worst fear is to lose her child, to live in a world where his son’s childhood could be instantly robbed from him only because she has a hereditary illness. Selma’s entire life purpose is to procure her son’s health, even if it costs her her life.

So, when she’s thrown into jail, she’s not only becoming another faceless victim, she is also thrusted into a system unable to defend her. A system led by men,  that has control over her body and her freedom. A corrupt system that eventually ends up killing her and her spirit, without hesitation.

Charlotte Gainsbourg also depicted this type of mother on two Von Trier movies: Antichrist and Melancholia. This two women share the same fear of losing a child that Selma has. The difference between them resides on the story.  The woman named “She” loses her son at the beginning of the former and Claire at the end of the latter.

Both woman also have indifferent husbands who thinks that money and complaisance are the best way to be there for their wives in order to help them go through the difficult times. “He” (Willem Dafoe) is a psychologist reluctant to feel any sort of empathy towards his wife and his mourning process over the death of their child. John (Kiefer Sutherland) , on the other hand, is a scientist already fed up by her wife Claire and her “sentimentalism”.

These two men are completely certain that their wives would, and should, process their feelings the same way they do. They think they know and understand them perfectly well, but, in reality, they are just thinking about themselves. They’re not listening to them. In fact, they constantly find ways to silence them.

Dogville‘s Grace (Nicole Kidman) not only is left without a place to belong or live, but she’s also left without any will to go on with her life the very moment she arrives to the fictional town, named Dogville, looking for a place to hide from the gangsters that are after her. In there, the villagers find bizarre ways to mock her, silence her and arbitrary situations to justify the means of owning her body.

What’s really interesting of this movie is not only the raw depiction of humanity that Von Trier portrays accurately, but also the poignant point of view of a woman that is on the verge. Grace reaches a point were she has nothing left to loose. So, she orders the gangsters that are after her, to kill all the people on the town, even the children.

Yes, Lars Von Trier’s women can be selfless caretakers, but they also are human. And, as human beings, when they feel threatened, they will retaliate. Sadly, these personal rebellions will only appear when a breaking point is reached. Lars Von Trier depicts perfectly the way women are raised nowadays, as mute individuals that will not, and should not, raise their voice against anything.

Notwithstanding, Selma’s spends her last minutes alive by singing a song as an act of rebellion against the system that is in charge of breaking her. Claire finds a way to calm her child minutes before the world’s end as a way of retalliation against her fear of letting him down. In Antichrist, She finds a way to mutilate the genitals of her husband as a way to emancipate and break free from the box He put her into.

But, as we will learn from this movies, acting out will always bring consequences to the women involved. Something that Von Trier perfectly sums up on Nymphomaniac. a film where Joe (another wonderful acting piece by Charlotte Gainsbourg) goes against all that standards that the women before her had to live upon.

Joe is a fearless woman who is trying to understand who she is through sex. She is very confident about her sexuality and very conscious of her body. She refuses other men’s advances whenever she wants to whilst she doesn’t put up with them trying to control her body. She, eventually, will learn that society will not tolerate rogue women prancing around with their moral values.

By the end of the movie, Joe will be punished for her actions and for standing against a society more concerned about her behaving than to actually listen to her. Joe will reach for a gun in order to protect herself against a man (Stellan Skarsgard) who wants to control her body, and we will be left with nothing but a fade to black and an uncertainty around Joe’s life. Like all the other women in real life who are brave enough to stand against the very system who is always trying to break them but they keep disappearing.