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For my visual essay, I wanted to communicate my message by using Disney Princesses as they are often the marker of beauty standards for girls growing up. I used Adobe Photoshop to isolate two princesses, Rapunzel from Tangled and Jasmine from Aladdin, from their contextualized movie settings. Rapunzel is seen in the process of baking a pie while Jasmine is having a conversation with her about it. This is formatted into a comic template meant to be read panel by panel. The first panel exhibits Rapunzel checking on her pie and stating that it needs to spend a bit more time in the oven as it is not brown enough. Jasmine replied with skepticism, asking if she really wants to do that to which Rapunzel questions why not. Jasmine then delivers the line, โ€˜I thought you said the lighter the betterโ€™. I believe this one line delivers a lot of the message of the post; it obviously has no relevance to the condition of the pie but is rather commentary on how the Europeans spread the concept of โ€˜the brighter the betterโ€™ in terms of facial complexion. This post is meant to be ironic as no one would get miffed about how a pie is baked but comparing that to one getting concerned about anotherโ€™s skin color truly shows how silly and childish the idea of colorism is.

I chose the genre of the meme because I felt like ironic humor would attract my audience (Young South Asian women) the best. I can see this being a post shared on the Facebook page โ€˜Subtle Curry Girl Traitsโ€™ which is a page solely dedicated to sharing relatable content about the struggles โ€˜curryโ€™ girls (South Asian girls) go through. It is easier for young people in general to get access to and understand memes as that is the main format of information and humor being presented to them on social media. In terms of the rhetorical strategies used to engage my audience, I used pathos and ethos. The ethos in the post comes from the characters included in it. Rapunzel is used for the mere fact that she is of German origins, with blonde hair and fair skin. This is not to say that she promotes colorism in any way but her appearance only satisfies Eurocentric beauty standards. On the other side, Jasmine establishes ethos with the audience because, as mentioned before, she is the only brown Disney Princess. Having her be the voice that stands up against colorism is suitable because she would continue her role in being aย  figure to these girls. This also plays in part with the evoking of pathos since this type of conversation is something my audience would be able to relate to.

Composing a visual essay was a different experience from that of a traditional essay in many ways. While a traditional essay provides space to explain your ideas through words, you are limited with how much you use words in a visual essay. The intent should be clear through the physical formatting and amount of words used. There is less room for explanation and more for interpretation. In a way the visual essay forces one to try to make it open to the audience. It allows the viewers to formulate their own opinion from the image instead of being given a thesis with a clear opinionated side as in the traditional essay. In my opinion editorial, there was no room for readers to formulate their own thinking as it wholly talked from one perspective with evidence to back it up. I believe with a visual essay there is more room to agree with or refute the message.

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