Be Brave

The Cine-Files, issue 11 (fall 2016)

Beth Buchanan

Graduate Student, Creative Writing, UCC

This MEmorial began as a exercise to uncover lost voices in a historic convent, but instead it channeled my own deep seeded questions about the female voice throughout history. The enormity of the topic combined with my personal passion for religion made it difficult to wrangle a comprehensive narrative within the constraints of a short video. Also, It was impossible to talk about the silencing of women’s voices in religion without touching on the greater silencing in society and vice versa. The project started to drown in overwhelming facts and directionless fervor. Then a single question came to mind, “What do you want people to take away?” and I realized this was not about people but a person, my infant niece, and empowering her. So this MEmorial addresses the need for courageous female voices against ongoing suppression of women’s voices in modern Christianity and the harm of institutionalized religion.

YouTube allowed the inclusion of multiple public voices through “found” videos, and I incorporated my voice through text, singing, and verbal questions. Notable clips include Elaine Feeney’s reading of her poem “Mass” which influenced the structure, tone, and pace of the video. The poem spliced with my own questions take the form of a call-and-response litany.

The focus is to hear and see the female voice already at work in the world, seeking justice, empathy and recognition pain, encouragement, and a validation of a feminine worth. The conclusion brings with it hope for women everywhere, regardless of nationality or creed, to speak up courageously from kitchen tables to podiums, from personal to political. This MEmorial flirts with the performative for as I sought to amplify other’s voices, I was forced to be brave and find my own.



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Raw Story. “Pastor Bill Lytell: This is a man’s world!.” YouTube, 4:13, April 7, 2015.

SevenGiggleGirls. “We are Seven Giggle Girls!.” YouTube, 9:08. July 3, 2013.

jkujsmgrochow. “Lutheran Grace.” YouTube video, 2:30. March 26, 2014.


The Cine-Files, issue 11 (fall 2016)