I haven’t spent a great deal of time on reflecting back fourth on the auto-ethnographic literature within my blogs. That’s why I’ve decided to write my final blog on the academic writings of auto-ethnographic study and how this specifically ties into my research on Asian horror.
Ellis and Adams et.al, describes auto-ethnography as, “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience” (Ellis, Adams et al, 2011). Asian horror was far out of my element when I first approached the topic as is any researcher when confronting a fresh topic. I initially thought the experience of Asian horror would only be tailored into my feelings and emotions whilst watching their films. This was apparent when reflecting on the literature and cinematic structures, however after delving further into the genre, its adaptations into Western cinema and realising my own critical analysis, I began to see the depth to my auto-ethnographic analysis.
A strong critique of mine in relation to film, television and theatre is how are the females being represented? Is it strong, is it undermining, does it fit another devaluing stereotype? Since a large area of my knowledge focuses on this industry and a great deal of my interests are in reshaping images of women into a powerful status rather than an overlooked component to the structure, I began to see extensive elements of this in Asian horror. Ellis and Adams et al (2011) refers to this section in auto-ethnography where the researcher recognises the truth to the narrative. The truth to the narrative lies in how one inadvertently responds to the text. My experience with Asian horror grew stronger after focussing further into Japanese film. In particular with Ringu, after watching all three films, I felt a connection to the text based on the female emphasis with antagonist Sadako. Sadako’s story is full of substance, pain, persona and vulnerability. Sadako however is the villain, yet conveys more context than her victims. Her role is powerful and dictator like, retracting from any potential domination from the opposite sex.
It’s rare to find this amongst the film industry especially in the role of a villain. There is a humility to Sadako’s character and tends to my experience as a researcher where the representation of females with a painful past return with power, authority, status and of course revenge. It is a common theme through the genre where women are cast in the role of the antagonist, which sparks a large difference to the western market of cinema.
My auto-ethnographic experience of Asian horror has surprisingly been through my strong opinions on female representation and passion towards eliminating stereotypes of women in weakened roles within the film industry.
Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., A.P Boechner 2011, “Autoethnography and investigating the production, consumption and circulation of Asian digital media” in “Autoethnography: An Overview”, in Forum:
Qualitative Social Research,
< http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095 >