There is a fear of humanity. Of losing it, of not understanding it. We want to be classified as human but we believe perfection demands more than what we are.
Ghost In The Shell (Sanders, 2017) is a film about this phenomenon, and that’s why you should see it.
Ghost In The Shell creates a world of technologically enabled fluidity, in terms of gender and identity, in order to explore what makes us a human. The world of Ghost In The Shell may seem radically different to what we know as reality, but how different is it really?
People paying large sums of money to have their bodies excessively enhanced in the pursuit of happiness. Advertisements dominating the cityscape. Corrupt politicians sacrificing lives in the name of corporate greed.
Ghost In The Shell doesn’t show us a life beyond our imagination; it holds a mirror up to us but uses our ignorance to get away with its critical agenda.
As Major looks at a copy of her synthetic body, studying the image she conveys to the rest of the world, she is acting no differently to any of us looking in a mirror to understand ourselves. The only difference is Major didn’t have a say in how she looks, but is that really different to most people?
Major doesn’t feel comfortable in her Shell, because she knows it is a body that was created for her by the world she was born into. Her Shell is a cultural construct, making Major an allegory for any person who doesn’t feel the apparent sex of their body truly conveys the gender they feel they belong to.
Major does not want to be defined by her shell, and she continually demonstrates her need to be more than an object, a struggle many people know too well. In this area Ghost In The Shell is more open about its feminist message, firmly hammering home the message that identity is about what is inside, not out.
Major Mira Killian’s shell also represents the way Hollywood corrupts identity, as Major possesses the appearance of a Caucasian woman despite the fact that her mind is actually that of a young Japanese woman by the name of Motoko Kusanagi.
Ultimately, Ghost In The Shell is a film about being human. Major has a soul and, to some, that makes her human. Others throughout the story view has a commodity, and that type of dehumanisation is something many of us can identify with.
It is for this reason most of all that Ghost In The Shell is a film for you. You’re human. You may love your body and that’s ok. You may hate it and that’s ok too. What matters most is who you are on the inside, not what you’re wrapped in.
You are not defined by what you look like.
You are not defined by what you are told to be.
You are you, the only you. You have a soul.
You are human.