caphay asked: evelyn evelyn more like ableism ableism (so i hear)
So you hear. Um. Alright, well, to respond to this there’s a few things I have to say so bare with me. Yes, Evelyn Evelyn is problematic.
It’s a concept album released by Jason Webley and Amanda Palmer under the artist name ‘Evelyn Evelyn.’ It detailed the fictional background of the characters Eve and Lyn, who are conjoined twins, and was released in 2010.
In it, Eve and Lyn are forced into the circus atmosphere, trivialised and fetishised. In the first place, they’re depicted as being flattered by this opportunity to be watched and important. As they go on, they go through a lot of abuse, being forced to sing songs that effectively make fun of themselves (‘Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn?’), and other things.
Throughout this, one of the sisters begins to wish she could be separated, while the other only wishes to make her sister happy. I’m not going to pretend I know what kind of psychological implications this would have, going through it - but what I do know is that Amanda and Jason don’t trivialise it.
Their depiction of the events may be wrong, perhaps - Eve and Lyn might have reacted completely differently. However, what they could have easily done is blow the story completely out of proportion, and make the Evelyn sisters a laughing stock - but they don’t.
'Evelyn Evelyn' is not supposed to take place in reality. It's clearly a fictional story, and takes place in a heightened, comic-book-esque reality. The characters in it, aside from the Evelyn sisters, are definitely more one-dimensional, with only a few highlights (Sandy Fishnets) seeming more deep.
The emotion journey is that of Eve and Lyn, both of whom are very defined characters with clear motivations - and who are not, externally to the narrative, at all trivialised. In story, they are - but that’s the fictional reality they are subjected to.
Throughout the record, Eve and Lyn are helped by many different able-bodied characters who are able to have more effect, before eventually being able to stand up and assert themselves. YES, that’s problematic. I agree with it. But that’s the character journey in the way that the writers could understand it. It’s inherently bad - but eventually, they can stand up for themselves. It’s not the ideal, morally correct depiction of the characters - but it isn’t an unrealistic one. A lot of non-able-bodied individuals can be independent perfectly fine - and also, a lot can’t. But, obviously, that doesn’t mean it’s a good depiction. I definitely don’t condone this aspect of it.
Moving on, in my opinion, Amanda and Jason portray the disgusting actions of those who harm and exploit the Evelyn sisters as that - disgusting. They are clearly on the side of Eve and Lyn, but they don’t really spare details when it comes to what the Evelyn sisters have to deal with. It’s not a romanticised story - it’s told incredibly matter of factly, and yes - in universe, people were awful to the Evelyn sisters. They exploit and commercialise them - EXACTLY WHAT THE RECORD IS ABOUT.
It’s not about taking the conjoined twins, Eve and Lyn, and making them look ridiculous to sell albums. It’s a commentary on the world stage, consumerism, and the things people will look at for a laugh. It’s not condoning this - it’s condemning it. THAT’S what the whole record is about. It’s ABOUT ableism.
In the same way that Zack Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch’ is about sexism (and the feminist movement), and how Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’ is about racism. Both of those movies take place in a heightened reality, and also both of those movies display their events matter of factly - awful things happen to the characters because of the sexism and racism in those movies. But that’s what the movie is ABOUT.
Yes, both Zack Snyder and Quentin Tarantino are cishet white men who have not had experience in the topics that they are depicting. Same goes for Amanda and Jason. They haven’t experienced the ableism they are depicting. In a way, they don’t have the right to talk about it.
Also, in a way, they do. It’s art, it’s music - it should be able to be about anything the artist wants to write about. That doesn’t mean that the album isn’t problematic - it’s FULL of problems - but I don’t think it should be entirely dismissed because of it.
In my opinion, Evelyn Evelyn is a hauntingly beautiful album, that deals with very dark themes surprisingly well at times. It stumbles in places, but all in all I don’t believe it’s in favour of able-bodied people - therefore, I don’t believe it’s ableist. Just occasionally wildly inaccurate - and it’s not always trying to be.