I want to use this post to talk about a video that The Finicky Cynic’s embedded on her blog over the weekend. F.C.’s post is here, in which she’s crushing about the actress in the video (Nicole Zyana). I, however, will talk about the video itself, which is re-embedded below. Check out the video first, then scroll down for my (positive) take on it.
So, did you enjoy the video? First off, it should be credited that it came from BuzzFeed’s YouTube channel devoted to “fun, inspiring, interesting” videos, BuzzFeed Yellow. (Yes, it’s true, BuzzFeed is more than listicles and click-bait articles, and that’s a good thing.) Anyway, you can tell from the video’s title that it’s about a girl in high school who’s questioning her sexuality. Hannah, the main character, appears to be taking a shine towards other girls in school, beginning with that one girl in the sunglasses in the first scene (love the mirrored sunglasses, by the way). Anything from a friendly hug to the defending of a perceived gay student leads to Hannah’s questioning of whether she may be something other than sexually straight.
Judging from some of the scenes, including the play rehearsal and the scene at the lockers right after that, some of Hannah’s classmates appear to be… well, we can’t exactly presume for sure that heteronormativity reigns, but they do tend to not look kindly towards others they perceive as not like them. Note when Hannah tries to defend another girl who exhibits a sunny disposition towards the stuck-up bitch (please excuse my language) of the video, who uses the, *ahem*, d-word in a less-than-respectful tone when describing the girl. That Hannah has to shake her head afterwards tells you all about how difficult it can be for someone in her shoes who must deal with those who are closed-minded and don’t mind preconceiving others.
For the situation Hannah’s in, even accepting a sleepover invitation can be uncomfortable, especially when her friends are talking non-stop about boys. It’s at that sleepover where the climax and the truly moving point of the video occurs: Hannah’s friends pick up on her reluctance to join in on the “cute guy” conversation, and one even just lays it out there: “Are you… not straight?” Hannah’s almost inaudible response — “I… I don’t know” — makes it clear she’s unsure how to answer that question. Her friends’ reaction? “It’s okay; you’ll figure it out.”
It’s okay. You’ll figure it out. To be honest, there’s something about that line and those closing moments that make things a bit ambiguous. Sure, Hannah’s friends appear to be understanding, and Hannah does appear to be relieved that she got it out of the open. However, will Hannah’s fear and trepidation resurface the next school day? Will she feel sure about her sexuality after all this? (Is she lesbian? Bisexual? Straight? Still questioning?) And if she expresses her questioning to others, will they be understanding? To me, all that ambiguity really makes that scene, and the non-verbal expressions Hannah (and Nicole Zyana) exhibit in that scene and throughout the video are truly moving.
As of this posting, the video has garnered well over 4 million YouTube views. It’s a safe bet Hannah’s struggles struck a chord to at least some of those viewers who may be going through that same situation. Here’s hoping they have friends and family who will be understanding of what they’re going through, and that they will receive support and understanding as Hannah appears to receive at the end of the video.