Belonging - Whale Rider and as You Like It

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The basis of ones life naturally revolves around the urge to gain a sense of belonging, and inturn the acquirement of this sense can be a catalyst for many decisions. An individual’s perception of belonging is constantly being reshaped by personal experiences such as upbringing, family life and relationships and inevitably leads one to gain a sense of identity and acceptance of themselves and the world around them. Factors that affect ones perception of belonging are continually changing due to the circumstances and stages of their present life, however throughout these stages a number of Impediments such as family issues or traditional gender roles may provoke a sense of division or restrict their ability to develop a sense of belonging. William Shakespeare’s Play As You Like It and Niki Caro’s film Whalerider explore in which the ways these impediments create barriers to belonging.

Throughout ones life the choice to belong to a number of groups arises, the decision coming down to an individuals’ morals and preferences. However, there are a few groups that we are unable to choose as to whether or not we want to belong, the most prominent of these being gender. Throughout history “gender stereotypes” have been developed by societies, which are often fixed, and overly simple ideas regarding the expected or socially acceptable traits, attitudes, and behaviors of males or females. Shakespeare’s Rosalind and Caro’s Paikea are both met with the challenge of overcoming the social and traditional roles of women in their societies in order to belong. Rosalind’s choice to disguise herself as a young man named Ganymede initially permits Celia and herself to flee court safely as the presence of a man enables them to ‘pass along and never stir assailants’. However, through disguise Rosalind is able to challenge the 16th century ideas of gender, especially that masculinity and bravery are purely inherent factors of males. Throughout her time as Ganymede, she questions...
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