Ask someone what their idea of a monster is.
An overwhelming majority may describe a large animal, possibly with claws and red eyes that maybe lives in the shadowy darkness under your bed or the black void of a wardrobe that you can almost-see-into-but-not-quite. Now while no one can actually testify seeing such a tremendous beast in their own room (or at least I’d hope so!), a surprising amount of these creatures can be found all over the world – they just tend to hide behind status and supremacy and large groups of like-minded monsters, I mean, people.
That’s the thing really – large groups of people, hiding behind one another – there’s safety in numbers; power in numbers; anonymity in numbers.
We’ve jumped forward to 2017 and everyone has seen ‘The Picture’ – Roxanne’s picture. This could ruin her, her life, her perception of the world and the people in it. Okay, so only one guy took the photo but who stopped him? Who reported it?
“The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything.” - Albert Einstein
What starts out as ‘just a laugh’ can spiral out of control before you can say “I’m sorry”.
Jessica Logan, 18 years old. Tovana Holton, 15 years old. These are the names of two girls that appeared on the news for all the wrong reasons; names of girls that were dehumanised in such a way by their peers that they were reduced to nothing more than an object. These are the names of two young girls who could not bear the weight of the dehumanising names that they were called and these are the ages that they committed suicide.
They had been singled out, isolated and made to feel as though there was no way back. But who’s fault was it? Was there someone leading all of this, like some sort of cruel revenge plan? Of course not. For Tovana Holton it was a leaked Snapchat video shared by a few ‘friends’ that with the wonders of social media, others felt perfectly comfortable spitting vicious names at her hidden behind the safety of a screen and numerous classmates to back them up. No one person would be held accountable – no one person would be found to blame.
These are difficult topics to talk about and on top of all of this, we are living in a generation where the president of the so-called free world thinks nothing of “grabbing [girls] by the pu*** ”. What hope have young girls got for achieving a sense of dignity and respect from others as they enter into adulthood when this is the sort of news that dominates our headlines? Our lives?
Monstrous Bodies challenges these questions and explores topics that are difficult to delve into yet deeply necessary to talk about. It is such an accurate representation of the world as it is right now as it captures the good, the bad, the ugly and the difficult. Amongst monsters and mayhem, it is a voice of hope and strength for girls and women around the world.
Written by Georgia Tatò - Assistant Assistant Director for Monstrous Bodies
Monstrous Bodies April 19th - May 6th at Dundee Rep Theatre