Sunday, January 20, 2013

KC Kotton in 'Are You Watching?': An Explanation

Today, I posted my newest piece of writing, an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, Ensemble. The story is narrated by 6 characters, three peculiar men and the 3 female objects of their obsession. The stage of the story I'm currently working on is each character's opening monologue, which is to introduce the character's voice and plant a seed for how the story will evolve for them as things get weirder and more violent. Ever since I conceived this story a few years ago, I've known that KC Kotton's character would be my favourite character to write for, but also the most difficult. Initially, I was just going to have her be an ultra-exaggerated version of a modern 8 year old girl, who also happens to be a world famous kids TV show. She would swear, smoke, drink, do drugs, engage in sexual activity, all of it.

Then, somewhere along the way, her character changed slightly so that she was actually older than 8 years old but lies about her age to stay relevant as a children's tv star. This stems partly from the fear that I was going too far with the sins and sexuality of such a young character, so implying that she's actually in her early to mid-teens gives me a little room there. Also, I rather like the idea of KC fighting the inevitably of puberty and essentially being a woman who resigns herself to be stuck in a child's body. It should also be noted that her character, like all the characters of Ensemble, is meant to be a little more than just an exaggeration or satire, I'm aiming for full-on caricatures here, cartoon images of how real people might look like. KC Kotton is obviously the most far-fetched character in this line-up, but that's what makes her so much fun to write for, even if I'm not staying entirely accurate with the voice of an 8 year old.

Now, for the actual subject matter of KC's introductory monologue, the inspiration came from a variety of sources. The entire piece is based around a question that came to me: What would be worse, being watched and completely unaware, or being absolutely certain that no one's watching at all? Is it okay to live entirely for yourself, as your own audience, as the only witness to your own existence? Or are we only relevant if someone knows what we're doing every single moment? With the internet immensely helping the over-exposure of both celebrities and 'regular' people, these questions become even more relevant, and more complicated, as time goes by. The second theme that's reflected in KC's monologue is the idea that all men are born perverts who deserve to have any woman they want, whether she wants them back, which ties into the third inspiration.

I've been seeing a lot of writing lately about 'rape culture', primarily the idea that it's a woman's job to avoid/defend against rape rather than a man's job to control himself. Being a relatively kind male in a long-term relationship with someone who I care for deeply, this whole notion is very intriguing to me. I've never personally felt entitled to a woman's body just because I'm a man. Hell, if anything, I feel damn lucky everytime ChinaCat Sunflower lets me get close to her. I know it's her choice to let me in, every time. So hearing about all these horrible stories lately of men exploiting and gangraping and attacking really makes me wonder how I fit into the male pack. So, through the voice of an '8' year old girl, I wanted to explore what a girl can do in this world of entitled males who will take what they want. Now, before my brothers start feeling generalized, I'm simply talking about the same males who are inspiring women nowadays to speak up against cultural acceptance towards rape and sexual entitlement. Unfortunately, the genuinely nice guys don't get nearly as much coverage as the rapists and killers.

Now, my actual views may be a bit skewed through KC Kotton's voice. I don't necessarily think that a reasonable solution is for females to scare men off with hypersexuality, just as I don't believe that all men secretly hate when a women gives her consent. But that's the fun of satire, to take these serious issues and opinions and flip them on their head, turn them inside out, blow them up on the big screen for everyone to see and find out what we can learn and reveal just how close we may be getting to these caricatures. KC Kotton simply represents every girl's realization that as they grow into women, guys of all types, whether gentle or forceful, will have their eyes on them. As always, I don't have all the answers, and I only know the world through my own experience, but as a writer, if I can get people thinking and self-reflecting, even if they disagree with every word I say, I'm satisfied.

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