Discussing the representations of Jess in ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ and Hortense in ‘Secret and Lies’

July 16, 2008

Discussing the representations of Jess in ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ and Hortense in ‘Secret and Lies’
I have been asked to discuss the representations of Jess in ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ and Hortense in ‘Secrets and Lies’. In my assignment, I hope to look at different types of representations e.g. Age, Gender, Ethnicity and Social Class (AGES) for ‘B.I.L.B’ and ‘Secret and Lies’. I will look for the similarities and differences between Asian cultures and Black British Culture. 

To start with, the similarities between Asian culture and Black British culture are that the both migrated from their homelands and were fully prepared to live in UK during the 1950’s. Both cultures have strongly followed their religion regardless of what it may cost them. The reason for their immigration was their homeland lacked resources and people were not well paid and were living under poverty. Knowing that they knew UK had good housing and job opportunities to earn a good salary. Therefore, they moved over to UK for their lifetime. On the other hand, Asians are represented as successful people in TV as they do not get involved with drug or gun crimes whereas the Black culture is negatively represented. The two cultures have got a few similarities but they have got more of differentiation with the way they are represented to the media. Not only in films Asian people will turn out to be successful but also in soaps, newspapers, tabloids or even magazines whereas for the Black community sadly it is the other way round as they are represented as being involved in offensive conducts.            

Why did Asians + Afro Caribs come to the UK during the 50’s and 60’s and why did UK allow them/need them?  

Why did Asians and Caribbean immigrants migrate? Well it seems that there was no specific reason why Black people migrated from the West Indies and from the Asian continent to England. Verbal and hand-written evidence shows that there were many explanations for immigration. It seems as if the majority of people moved to England because of economic reasons. Mainly males migrated without their families. The main reason for this was to search for employment and to get hold of some money knowing that they will go back within a few years to feed their families from the money collected. However, the fact was they stayed for a lifetime. Therefore, more immigrants arrived in England with the knowledge of knowing that they will get a job. As a result, this turned out to be the recruiting scheme by the English in the 1950s and 60s – to get a job for those without occupation. That said, the recruitment offered jobs in areas like health, transport, engineering, and bakeries. Another reason that caused some people to immigrate was peer pressure. Although some immigrants were in safe jobs in the West Indies and had no particular reason to migrate but they chose to from the influence of their peers. They were completely ready to leave their lands and experience a different country. A few left their homeland because of their influence from parents. But most who left had high hopes of getting a good job and getting well paid throughout their lifetime. They knew that where they were heading to was a place that had decent housing better than their ‘Motherland’. Most people who migrated to England rudely reacted when they realized the conditions were far worse than they had thought of in comparison with their homeland. Soon, these problems were becoming more of a difficulty to handle since many of the local people were not ready to accept them. As a result, England tried to reduce the number of immigrants migrating to England.

Generally, the two cultures are represented on TV and in film as very stereotypical ones. A stereotype is when one bit of information is taken and is stretched out to everyone so that they get the image of it. On the balance most stereotypes are negative. Usually, black people are represented as either violent, aggressive and brutal gangsters or happy-go-lucky servants. Despite the fact that these stereotypes are still shown on T.V, viewers may now be seeing black people portrayed as upright, intelligent, middle class characters. On the other hand, Asian people are represented as either intelligent, decent and well educated doctors or fine butchers, shopkeepers and curry salesman.   One of most typical example is in a cartoon T.V series called ‘The Simpsons’. There is a character named Apu who establishes his identity by all the stereotypes. An example of Apu’s stereotype is his accent and his occupation. His accent is not very English as he speaks in an Asian tone and he works in a shop, which is a stereotype for Asians. Many Asians in TV programs are represented as shop owner. Another film called ‘Jackie Brown’ has as many stereotypes for the Blacks. The film represents Black people as drug addicts and they seem to be up on high. They also seem to have no sense of emotion when killing each other. In that film, a lot of explicit violence is shown and also some rape scenes (I think).

B.I.L.B basically represents the clashes of culture of an Indian Sikh family in London who try to raise their football-mad daughter Jess in a traditional way. Jess is s about 17-18 yrs old. It starts with a dream sequence where Jess is playing for M.U.F.C and scoring goals. Then, the Studio Match Of The Day football panel hosts praise Jess. However Jess’s mom criticizes her daughter for playing football.  Her older sister is called Pinky, who is engaged and will be married within a few weeks. On the other hand, Jess is a girl who hunts for her dream. That is playing football professionally like David Beckham. Jess knows her parents do not expect her to be playing football as they don’t want her to be showing off her bare legs to ‘strangers’. Jess usually plays football in the local park near her house with her mates including Tony. While showing off her spectacular talent Jess is seen by Jules and Jules advices Jess to join the girl’s football club. From then on, Jess and Jules become good friends and start to go to places. Yet Jess’s parents can’t understand why Jess is never settled and why can’t she be like her sister. On the other end, Jules’s dream is playing football in the States but she also has a conflict with her mum. Her mom wants her to be sort of girlie as she worries how is she is ever going to find a boyfriend without wearing a dress. But her mom doesn’t know that her daughter likes her football coach, Joe. Nevertheless, Jess has a different personality; she is unlike any other girl. She is very un-stereotypical. She is very talented and gifted at football. She plays like a professional footballer with skills and great balance. On the other side it is David Beckham who inspires Jess; David Beckham is highly inspirational to her as he is the stimulation of Jess’s mind. Jess always admires him and claims “Nobody can bend it like Beckham”. Her room is genuinely a holy place to David Beckham. Jess’s room is filled with football posters. However, David Beckham has been described as a ‘skinhead boy’ from Jess’s mom. This is because her mom is tired of telling Jess not to watch football all the time. Jess’s interests are playing football at the top of the level and she wants to go abroad and play more. She has this intense passion and love for the ‘Beautiful-Game’ (as described by Pele) football.

Jess comes from a Middle-Class background. Jess is British born and comes from a pious and traditional Sikh family. Jess herself is not very religious. Her one of the main interest is playing football. She usually plays football in the park near her house to show off her rare talent with spectacular skills. Playing football keeps her alive and fresh. It is as if football is her medicine. Even when she is cooking Punjabi food with her mom, she plays with the tomatoes as if it is a football. She is a football maniac, she can’t live without football. But her background seems to compress Jess’s ambitions – that is playing football freely. Her parents don’t want her to be so football loving and they don’t even want her to play football. Her parents want her to be a nice and a conventional Indian girl but Jess wants to play football. They have high educational hopes for Jess. They want her to complete school, learn to cook Punjabi food and marry a proper Indian. This also goes for Jess’s older sister Pinky as well. She is already engaged and will be married within a few weeks. She is not football mad like her sister but both sisters cross the cultural boundaries from two different scenarios. Above all, she does keep secrets about herself and her beau who lately have had to feel each other in his car. The two sisters; Pinky and Jess have a good relationship with keeping each other’s private life into secrets. One sister spending time with her future husband and the other playing in a football club, both without letting their parents know. This means both sisters have crossed cultural limitations on a daily basis. They try not to bring their private lives in their homes due to parental expectations. When parents don’t know about what is happening or what has happened e.g. like Jess playing football, then it won’t really matter. It won’t touch parent’s awareness unless if they find out or are told. This advice is also given by Jess’s best mate Tony “What your parents don’t know won’t hurt them”. This tells me that Jess’s parents are stereotypically minded especially her mom because if she finds out that her daughter has been playing football then as a result it will be all shambles for Jess. Jess is held back by these sorts of problems and her situation gets harder when the secrets are revealed. Jess’s parents are stereotypical mostly throughout the film. This is to convince the viewers because these situations are well realistic. The conflict in Jess’s life is coming from her culture and her background due to some restrictions. These problems hold her back from playing football. Fortunately, Jess is good at finding ways out of her difficulties as she gasps play for girls’ football club Hounslow Harriers. In the locker room, she tells and educates the white girls to enlighten the fact of what it feels like to be her. She explains by saying “Indian girls aren’t supposed to play football”. “That’s a bit backwards” notices one of her team-mates. Nevertheless, Jess has the idea of what it is that pulls her back from playing football as she says “It’s just culture, that’s all”.   
All the wrong thoughts, grudges, hatred feelings end in a mixed mouthwatering dénouement that goes through Pinky’s wedding night and Jess’s very important football final. The cultures continue to strike one another with disagreement but in way of answering back respectively.  However, as all movies at the end transformation takes place as her parents let her decide her future with good grades and with playing football abroad.    

It’s a film of edging moments that holds viewers’ nerves in every scene. Viewers always wonder what will happen next in an instant. It’s all about secrets and lies. The title says it all. Secrets and Lies is all about a family that is pushed to deal with personal issues they’ve been sidestepping in recent years. Cynthia is a white lower working class British woman whose life has been an ordeal for the past years. She works at a card box factory. She is a very unhappy character; she has not had enough love. Cynthia suffers from a trauma and serious depression and that is why she is stubborn as she has not had a very comfortable life. When anyone has trauma, they never seem to grow up. She lives in a council house with her daughter Roxanne. The house is vey small, untidy and not very neat. Roxanne is a street sweeper and is a very spoilt girl; she is a girl who consistently mourns. She is always in a foul-mood; it seems as if she never smiles throughout the film. She is basically a very moody girl. Cynthia has helped to brought up his little brother, Maurice. Maurice is a photographer specializing in wedding pictures. Most of the time in the film it shows the life of Maurice and his wife Monica.  Cynthia feels sad and upset for the fact that she has not been invited by her little brother Maurice in his house for more than about two years. She assumes its Maurice’s wife who has held him back from inviting her. Cynthia describes his wife as a “toffee-nose cow” for pulling apart the relationship between her and her brother. Then one day, Cynthia receives a call from a black woman called Hortense who claims to be her daughter. Hortense tries to convince that she is the one who Cynthia put up for adoption back ago. Oh, no, no, no, no, no dear – there’s been some mistake” she responses to Hortense. Hortense rings again and Cynthia picks it up knowing the fact it might be her daughter. Therefore, both arrange to meet outside a tube station and then in a close by café. Cynthia tries to say that Hortense is not her daughter by claiming “I mean…just look at you!” She also tries to say that she never had slept with a black male. But then moments arrive when no more lies could be told. Finally, the truth had met for once. When they met each other Cynthia discovered that Hortense is an eye-doctor at her thirties. Cynthia then tells the truth that she is her daughter and tells her about her family. Hortense and Cynthia start to build up their relationship and start to act like mother and daughter. Then as a conclusion the film meets its mouthwatering finale where the barbecue also took place at Maurice’s house. Cynthia introduces Hortense with a lie “A friend from work,” she says. But then the suspicion grows as the family starts to wonder why an eye-doctor would work at a card box factory. Through that dénouement all the secrets and lies are revealed coming across with clashing on each other. Secrets and Lies is also a funny and an enjoyable film than viewers expect it to be.

Hortense is a black woman, at her thirties with a posh-like name: Hortense Cumberbatch. At a young age she was adapted by a Jamaican family and since she has had a very happy life. She is well paid and is living a good life, she is an optometrist. She comes from a middle class and a well educated background. I can tell by looking at her house, she has got books in her house and that is the sign of an educated young woman. That also means Hortense can read to give her self- satisfaction feeling. She is very brave and determined who cares about other people as well as herself. She is sensible and does not judge people, for example when her friend says “she was sleeping around having casual sex”, as a result Hortense has the courtesy to not to laugh. When her foster mother passes away, she goes to an adoption agency in search of her real birth mother. Her main interest is to find out about her biological mum, Cynthia. While looking through her folders she thinks there is a mistake as the papers say that her real mom was white. However, there wasn’t even a scratch of mistake, it was all true. Later she discovers that her mom is white and decides to meet her. This was not the best thing to do as that avoids the real subject of the film since her biological family had been destroyed from all the secrets and lies. The black woman is the boost to cheer up the family even though she herself has a good life by means of being well-paid. But still she has the courage to enter their house. The conflict in Hortense life is coming from Cynthia’s family as no one except for Cynthia knows that Hortense is her child. Hortense stimulates the conflict in her life when she decides to go and search for her birth mother. Hortense deals matters with discipline and manner and when she meets her biological mom, she starts making progress with the relationship between the two. The way Hortense talks to Cynthia is in a polite manner. This tells us and Cynthia that she is an educated woman. Hortense takes control of the conversation and leads it all the way through with confidence. However, looking at her real mom, Cynthia has no self-esteem and she seems to hold her nerve throughout the conversation. But then Hortense starts to act like a kid being emotionally immature and Cynthia starts to act like a mother. This tells us that Hortense can fit and get along with any group of people whereas Cynthia doesn’t have the confidence in herself as she is lonely and fragile. Looking from director’s point of view, Leigh (director) handles the story well: the daughter is black and the mother is white and on the other hand the family doesn’t know whether Cynthia had another child. The family starts to think hard in every ticking second whether they are right or wrong. Dénouement holds the climax as all the secrets and lies are revealed by the end.

In the film ‘Bend It Like Beckham’, Jess is represented in two different ways. Asian British when she is at home with her family and British Asian when she is with her football team or her mates. People are represented in four different ways, Age, Gender, Ethnicity and Social Class. Her character changes throughout the film. All the aspects, Age, Gender, Ethnicity and Social Class and her personality changes by the end.   

In ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ Jess has excluded and ignored certain restrictions from her parents.  I think Jess is represented as not a very stereotypical girl in comparison with her sister or other girls of her age. She is basically very different from those of her age. She is just ‘football-crazy’ and neglects to go shopping like most girls do. I can tell when she replies to her mom moaning “Mom, do I have to go shopping again,” This straight away tells me she is extordnary and untypical. Her blood interest is football while kids from her age will prefer to go shopping and hang around with boys. At first Jess has a split personality and low self esteem – basically, mature from inside but not outside. But then, Jess is transformed when Joe touches her, her sexuality awakens and starts being mature. She starts taking life matters as a mature young lady. The movie tells us she is changing herself. She’s bringing her outside life to inside which sort of builds pressure on the whole family. When Jess departures for Germany with her football team she only takes her kit, and no other clothes for going out. Everyone is expected to roam around the city after the football match however Jess does not know that and she does not know that they will be clubbing until she arrives. Jess does not have any clothes to go out in decently, instead her friend Jules gives her some clothes and styles her hair and puts some make up on. When she comes out she looses that low self-esteem she had with her in herself. In this scene she wears a figure hanging sexy clothing. She soon starts to realize she is a mature young lady therefore she gets more and more confident. She is gets to be sophisticated and sort of stylish as the film moves on. She wears smart clothes. She also seems to be in touch with her emotions. She is basically emotionally intelligent. At this point in the film while clubbing a stereotype is shown and that is white men cannot dance as Joe dances clumsily. Later in the movie, Jess lets her hair down physically to look better when Joe approaches her from the back – this is a classical metaphor. In Jess’s mind her intention is to attract Joe. When Jess tells her sister that she fancies her coach, Pinky is freaked since then onwards Jess is under-pressure from her sister but Jess is still confident and is ready to move on. This is the point where she represents her self with confidence as she is maturing to become an assertive woman. Audience with similar age of Jess or viewers who remember themselves being in that position in the past will have the idea of Jess’s emotions as they been through this before. The reason for this was to draw a realistic character – that is Jess. She bemoans of her background and cultural restrictions. Viewers can understand the experience and her response to people around her. But her parents especially her mom cannot realize what it is with Jess and her football. The film highlights the contradictions and common features of life. It also highlights how the assumptions and expectations affect someone’s life experience especially girls. Jess breaks most of the stereotypes as being a girl and an Asian. An example of this is when Jess meets her friends; they always talk about school work and exams. This breaks the Age stereotypes because a girl wouldn’t talk about work. A girl of Jess’s age would rather be worried about their Social life.

Because of Jess’s gender she undergoes severe difficulties. It would’ve made her life 10 times easier if she would have been a boy instead of a girl however her parents have restricted her from playing football. I know this when Jess tells Joe (her football coach) “Indian girls aren’t supposed to play football” Girls in any other films are not represented in the same way as Jess is in ‘Bend It Like Beckham’. Well-liked films like Yank, Princess Diaries or even What a girl Wants are cross-cultural girl movies. These are movies where girls go past their parental restrictions and easily break the rules as they are not aware of anything around them. Gurinder Chadha (Director of BILB) portrays her character as a persuasive one and draws adults as less realistic and over-stereotypical characters. Later in the film, Jess repels with her best team-mate Jules. The two have a lot of things in common: parental-issues, both hunting for their football dream etc. Jules’s edgy mom thinks playing football or sports are activities that are unladylike. Both friends Jules and Jess hunt for a football a football future. Jules wants to attend the university in States with a scholarship. Jules’s bedroom is also filled posters but of Mia Hamm. Both friends develop a fast paced relationship above all this is where viewers get to see the sights of differences between the two backgrounds. Unfortunately, a few problems arise when Pinky’s future in law spot Jess and Jules on the pavement laughing together in public. Pinky’s futures in law observe the wrongs thoughts in their heads as they assume the shorthaired Jules was a male. They also thought Jess was in a relationship with a white male. This is the point where Pinky and Jess have a grudge with reluctance of keeping each other secrets. On the other end, Jules’s mom thinks that Jules is lesbian, falling in love with a girl. Wrong thoughts like these shape the character and due to what Pinky’s future in law saw as a result they turned down the wedding. Similarly, another issue awakens when Jess falls in love with an Irish born coach, Joe.

But then, transformation tale once again takes place as Jules mom changes from hating football by the end.

Jess has been restricted from wearing shot skirts; due to this she is sort of unhappy. Elsewhere in the dressing rooms, she tells her football partners “My parents think that Asian girls shouldn’t play football.” This represents her ethnicity and tells us she has the idea of what is expected from her parents. She also knows whether she is committing something that is against her culture. However, their farther has a different view. He’s a liberal and a generous guy and he wants everyone to be happy in the family. But he is left confused wavering between his daughters’ choices and traditional minded wife. His main worry about Jess is not to be treated in the same as way as he was earlier on. When Jess’s farther arrived in England from Uganda as a young enthusiastic cricketer, with his wife. He wanted to join and play for a white team however as a return some racist comments were exposed – comments were thrown on his turban that he wore. Ever since, he has been with his own community, getting pleasure from his daughter’s position as she don’t get to experience the ordeal in the same way as her farther did. However Jess’s mom sees from a different point of view, she doesn’t want her daughter to show up with bare legs “to complete strangers”. This tells us Asians are educated, laws abiding and family cultured.

For the most part the heartbeat of film is based on “culture”. The film also uses some montage editing. Montage editing is an art of putting pictures on top of another source. It also has some slow motion scenes, which indicates a changer signifier.  

In the outside world one may say Jess is a happy and a very cheerful girl but from inside she feels tired as she has to follow and undergo cultural restrictions. When outside, she is just free and she has the right to do anything regardless of what it may cost her. However, it’s the other way round when it comes to her inside restrictions. Jess is unhappy as she has a strong followed Indian background and she is expected to wear an Indian Sari in her sister’s wedding which makes her feel sort of uneasy. No sexual, she wants her Sari to be looser. On the other hand, she has got a picture of David Beckham and she regards him as a god by talking to him while her parents downstairs worship Guru Nanak. By the end Jess thinks the only thing that matters to her is the love of her parents. She say “My parents love me and that’s all what matters”    

Another stereotype that establishes Asian ethnicity is when Jess’s mom says “What family will want a daughter who runs around kicking a football all day but can’t make round chapattis.”

Jules mom is also typically ethnic. I can tell when she says to Jess “I expect you parents are fixing you with a young doctor”. Obviously she expects Jess as an Asian to not to be playing football but she expectations are proved wrong when Jules mom is told that Jess plays for a football club.  

Jess is represented as a little girl earlier on in the film. Jess comes from a Middle-Class background. Jess is British born and comes from a pious and traditional Sikh family. Jess herself is not very religious. Her one of the main interest is playing football. Jess is sporty, lives athletically and football crazy.

The typical Asian accent of English from her parents is the signifier of representing Asians. Middle-class people seem to be living a normal good life and that is what Jess is living her life along with her own few problems. When Jess is at home, she behaves traditionally and when she is outside she behaves untraditionally. Her personality becomes alive when she goes out. She starts becoming active in telling lies. But then due to traditional problems she is under pressure by the whole family. Both sisters are an obstruction as Pinky says “Jess, don’t you want all of this, this is the best day of your life.” However Jess’s reply is “I want more than this”. This tells me she fights hard for her dream. Later notably she gains confidence and starts to change herself to a woman. The reviewers of BILB say that Gurinder Chadma gives her character complexity and self-understanding that other movies like ‘Princess Diaries’ don’t.

Secrets and Lies
In Secrets and Lies, Cynthia is represented as a middle aged cockney and she works in a card box factory. She lives with her bitter and a moody daughter who is aged about 23-25. Mother and daughter are always arguing and are always in a conflict. They spend most of the time on arguing.  

When Cynthia was young she was unmarried and pregnant therefore she was forced to give away her own black daughter.

Sooner, that daughter named Hortense by her foster mother looked forward to meet her mom. An example of her determination was her enthusiasm and eagerness to meet her mom. This was a sign of her drive.

Cynthia and Hortense met in the Café and it seemed as if Cynthia was acting like a mom and Hortense was acting like a child. We know that there is age difference between the two and that is why they try to do this. This is done to show the age difference moreover it shows that the relationship is building as they have met couple of times.

In Media; people at the age of mid-thirties or even old people are represented as grumpy, ill-tempered who always seem to be complaining. Above all, this is how Cynthia is represented as she suffers from a trauma and despair. Media does not pay a lot of attention to people at the age of mid-thirties. They mainly focus on younger people like Jess but everyone knows that Jess breaks all the stereotypes and she is unlike any other girl. The only thing she cares and worries about is football; she is always concerned about football. However, normally young people are represented as being ‘sexy’ and successful and maybe sporty.      

Stereotypes have been sidestepped in this film by the director. For example a black woman is well-paid black however Cynthia and Roxanne are represented as uneducated and poor whites.  Leigh did this to repel the racial pressure. The story sums up when it comes to the conclusion when Maurice says “Secrets and Lies…We’re all in pain! Why can’t we share our pain?” The director succeeds by gripping his audience and making the film worth watching.   

Social Class
Cynthia and Roxanne are represented as British lower working class citizen. Usually, lower working class people don’t have a good occupation. They seem to be poor and their job is likely to be a not so good one. They are expected to be road sweepers, Labourers or Window Cleaners. Roxanne is a street sweeper and is always in a foul mood. 

However, Hortense is represented as an intelligent middle class citizen. Middle class citizens are likely to be teachers, MPs or dentists. Hortense is an optometrist (an eye-doctor) and she is proud of it. She is living a good life however the only thing missing in her life is her real mom furthermore she goes forward to complete that task.  The film plays a rhythm of realism in British families. Actors like Cynthia and Roxanne are also very persuasive to draw the audience in the film. There is a scene set at a backyard barbecue and this enlightens the viewers of how family gatherings take place in such area. The film has shown a simple life story in a nerve-wracking climax. This is Mike Leigh best work so far.

I think the director deliberately chose a mom to be searched by her daughter because if Hortense went to look for her dad then may be it wouldn’t have been as affective since moms are more caring and are more loving than fathers. Moms have a cleaner relationship with their children, so that is why I think the director chose Cynthia to be searched by her daughter moreover this shows how much love is to be devoted.   

Stereotype is when bit of information is taken and is stretched out wide to everyone. To establish a character or the character in Media, therefore stereotypes are used for identification. Stereotypes portray a representation and picture of a group of people or a person. Stereotypes can be show in anyway or in any form of Media. In TV, stereotypes can be recognized by a dress e.g. cultural or traditional wearing and by the culture shown. It can also be identified by their accent and even their behavior. On a balance, overall stereotypes are negative, this means that stereotypes represent negative views and portray a bad image to A or THE character. A classical stereotype most seen in TV for men is being represented as “real-man”, who is very brave, courageous, sophisticated and extremely intelligent and looks to attract pretty women. Everyone knows that James Bond plays this role as he is exceptionally bright and smart. These sorts of representations give audience an idea of an identifiable character. However, the disadvantage of stereotype is that it can shape viewers’ views and it can change expectations from others’ personality and the way they should be seen behaving.

Females are represented as either housewives who are sort of posh or educated or else they can be represented as girlfriends who seem to be ‘sexy’ looking. Children’s representations depend on their gender – so a representation for a girl can be playing with dolls whereas boys can be busy playing with their console games or sports. Although they are cute and charming but they talk as though they are adults for e.g. a kid reminds her mom to eat the medicine or go to the doctor.

Culture and class seem to be playing a major role in Media and frequently opinions overtake facts within stereotypes. For e.g. Black people are always seen as being involved in drugs, which is not true for every black in the community as some people strongly avoid drugs. Most stereotypes are seen as opinions because this is like judging people to what they wear and how they act. It is as if TV has blocked way of living.

Even though in ‘BILB’ Jess breaks all the stereotypes of being nothing like any other girl, she seems to form a new stereotype – that is portraying an image of a ‘wannabe’ as a stereotype. Some people may look at her and mention that she is ‘wannabe’ as she wants to be completely like the ex-England captain David Beckham. One can also say she is a ‘wannabe’ as she wants be a man since she wears tracksuit bottoms and does not put on any make-up.

I believe the director is trying to communicate with us here, I think the director is clearly giving and passing a message and that is not to consider and believe in stereotypes because they are not specifically factual. They are sort of an opinion and that opinion which is a stereotype has changed people’s minds and shaped their thoughts on something specific.

Yet in ‘BILB’ the story moves on and audiences get to see Jess slowly maturing and turning into a lady. Jess surprisingly puts some make-up on and styles her hair up. She also wears a jean moreover she starts to hang around with girls instead of boys.

In ‘Secrets and Lies’, Hortense is stereotyped as an intelligent, well paid black woman at her mid-twenties. Hortense is a confident woman and she is very brave. At some point in the film even Maurice praises Hortense by saying “You’re a very brave person, you wanted to find the truth and you were prepared to suffer the consequences and I admire you for that”. Hortense is and seems well-educated; I can also tell that she cares very much about her future. Hortense likes reading books, which is a sign of educational interest. This tells me she has time to pay attention to education as she enjoys reading a book. Hortense feels confident of reading a book by herself even on her birthday. This way Hortense finds her self-satisfaction and herself being happy. With this personality, Hortense is capable of inspiring anyone and this is what she does when she meets her biological mom, Cynthia – a mom who had saved words for her ‘long time no see’ daughter. Cynthia is inspired by Hortense therefore she tries to boost her mobility. She introduces Hortense as a “friend”. Dénouement (climax) takes place in the film by the end when secrets and lies are revealed.

Stereotypes lead children to the road of wrong thoughts, which basically shapes their expectations. This is why it is important to know and be able to recognize stereotypes otherwise viewers can possibly observe the false thoughts. To understand these stereotypes, people must watch different program and point out how media has pictured their community.

 Tying up the whole essay I think the film ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ has a point to make. That is women do play soccer. End of. Therefore BILB dispels that cliché and the films itself breaks the stereotypes. The film’s title actually means something – Bend It Like Beckham. It is not just Jess wanting to bend the ball like Beckham but it’s bending her own life in front of her parents. When Jess is about to take the free kick, she sees her family in the way as the wall which prevents it from getting the ball into the net. That wall is stopping Jess from playing football but as we know Jess spins her life and gets what she wishes. So that means her goal is accomplished. ‘BILB’ tells the viewer what it’s like is to be a teen in London from Indian heritage.

Alternatively, I personally think that representation of Hortense was more satisfying because she handled her situation very well with full of confidence as she is mature. Whereas, Jess was hiding from her parents that she was off playing football and this shows that Jess is still a young girls even though her sexuality awakens by the end. We all know that Hortense is older and she is wiser as she inspires her biological mom. She took the risk of going after her biological mom regardless what it cost her.   

I believe in my essay I have shown the strength and weaknesses of stereotypes and how they affect children. I have also written about the representation of Jess from ‘BILB’ in comparison with Hortense from ‘Secrets and Lies’. I have given the idea of what Secret and Lies the film is about as well as BILB. Lastly, I have stated the similarities and differences between Asian culture and Black culture and how they are represented in TV.  

Written by: Naveed Abbas



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