The Woman Who Was Kept on a Shelf
The episode starts with a young Amelia and her mother, who’s preparing her for a pageant backstage. She tells her daughter that if she had to choose between Amelia being beautiful or smart, she’d always go with beautiful.
Fast forward to some years later, Amelia is a model. She catches the eye of a man, Harry, while on the runway, and is soon dating and moving in with him. One morning, she wakes up and finds Harry in his study room, putting the final touches on a shelf he’s built. He then tells her that he’s built the shelf for her to sit on, so he can always admire her and feel invincible. So invincible, in fact, that he could even launch a hundred businesses all in one go. After a bit of convincing, Amelia quits her job and sits on the shelf full-time. Harry’s desk is across the room, so he can look up at her whenever he’s working.
At first, things are going well, and Harry is showering her with gifts and attention. He even hosts a get-together dedicated to Amelia, with all the guests marvelling at her. As time goes on, Harry no longer gives her as much attention, and even moves his desk so it’s facing the opposite direction.
The episode then fast forwards to three years later, and Amelia is still on the shelf. On a particular day when Harry isn’t home, she decides she’s had enough of sitting on the shelf. She looks down, and the floor seems much further away than it actually is. Scared, but determined, she jumps off. At first, she seems to be having a little trouble standing up and walking. However, she’s soon moving around the mansion with more ease. She leaves and ends up downtown, dancing around happily and enjoying all the little things. She ends up at the beach, where she and the other beachgoers break into a choreographed dance routine.
Once the hype dies down, Amelia ends up at a beauty store, and starts applying some makeup. One of the shop assistants approaches her, and they have a conversation that’s an eye-opener for Amelia. When Amelia tells her what her mother said to her all those years ago, the shop assistant tells her that she doesn’t have to choose. Amelia then returns to Harry’s mansion and destroys the shelf.
A year later, Amelia has her own beauty store and it’s the day of the grand opening. Inside, she’s seated on a shelf, and above it is a sign that says “Let everyone look”. A woman and her daughter walk in, and the daughter asks her mother if she can also sit on a shelf one day. The mother replies “not a chance”.
This episode takes an interesting look at something that’s become both a blessing and a curse for young girls and women: beauty. From a young age, Amelia is conditioned to believe that all that matters is her outward appearance. As such, it isn’t surprising that years later, she’s become a trophy girlfriend, where nothing but her outward appearance matters. Her thoughts and opinions don’t matter, her goals and dreams don’t matter. All she’s being valued for are her looks.
Once again, unsurprisingly, this superficial value that Harry has attached to her starts to diminish. His decision to turn his desk to face the opposite direction symbolises him turning his back on her, literally and metaphorically. Amelia becomes sad and lonely, because what could possibly beat having the attention of a man when you’ve been taught that that’s what really matters, right?
Amelia isn’t in a physical prison, because she can leave any time she wants. However, she is in a mental one. The day she finally decides to leave, the floor, which to me could possibly symbolise her mental freedom, seems further away than it actually is. And I think this is something a lot of women deal with today. You realise that a world that’s hyper-fixated on your looks has conditioned you to believe that your value lies only in what’s on the outside, and despite knowing that that’s wrong and false, you still can’t seem to break free from that mentality.
Women’s wings have always been clipped, and even when they aren’t, society is telling them that they’re only limited to one path. This is why the scene with the shop assistant is really special because she’s telling Amelia, and all women, that they don’t have to choose. Why choose when you can have it all?
Finally, Amelia returns to Harry’s mansion, destroys the shelf, and with it, all the misogynistic ideas that have been planted in her head her whole life. That chapter in her life’s story ends with her having her own business, and once again sitting on a shelf because, as I said, why choose when you can have it all?
3 thoughts on “Reviewing Roar”
Beauty is a very double edged sword. It brings privilege but it also means you will be objectified your whole life. This seems like an interesting commentary on the lives of women and what it’s like growing up in a patriarchal world.
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Very true. Hopefully one day it won’t be like this anymore. I doubt it cause the patriarchy is so deeply embedded, but a girl can dream.
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I see a lot of strong women and girls these days so fingers crossed things will get better over time.
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