Intersectionality Fail: Star Wars The Last Jedi Without Men

INTERSECTIONALITY FAIL

I think at this point, we’ve all seen (and mocked) the misogynistic re-cut of The Last Jedi that cuts out all of the women. The re-cut film takes out all of the women in The Last Jedi in order to get rid of all the gross cooties that the women of Star Wars apparently has. Significant plot points were changed in order to center male characters with the gist of the projects being to keep men and male characters in charge and blah blah blah.

The end result of the “Defeminized” cut of The Last Jedi is a shoddy mess that’s not even fifty minutes long. It manages to be misogynistic and racist (in cutting out Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico and Veronica Ngo’s Paige Tico) and boring as hell. There aren’t that many men in The Last Jedi to make a cohesive story come out if they’re the only characters present.

But cutting the men out of The Last Jedi in response to misogynistic Men’s Rights Activists is not the answer and winds up being just as problematic for similar reasons.Read More »

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Black Girls Next Door: Four changes I’d like to make in Spider-Man: Homecoming

 

Black Girls Next Door_

I loved Spider-Man: Homecaming way more than I probably should love a film that takes a huge chunk of what (little) I liked about Brian Michael Bendis’ origin story for Afro-Latino Spider-Man Miles Morales and… gives it to (a still white) Peter Parker.

Westallen Espresso 2

The things I loved about Homecoming are simple. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is adorable. Jacob Batalon, playing his best friend Ned (OBVIOUSLY based off of Miles Morales’ best friend Ganke) is pure and perfect. The movie gives me even more fuel for my Tony Stark hate shrine. I think we’ll be fired up and full of rage against the man in the iron suit until 2020 at least.

But most importantly… Spider-Man: Homecoming gives us little glimpses at BlackGirlExcellence with Laura Harrier’s Liz Allan and Zendaya’s Michelle Jones (MJ apparently), two of three female characters with semi-significant screentime and importance to the plot. However, the film doesn’t do enough with those two female characters to satisfy my desire to see Black girls represented onscreen.

So here are four things that I wish Spider-Man: Homecoming could’ve done differently for Michelle and Liz (whether or not they’re even remotely plausible because of time constraints or whatnot):Read More »

Fandom Racism: Predictable AF

Fandom is nothing if not predictable.

I know I’m late, but I just saw the casting announcements for the upcoming Netflix/BBC series Troy: Fall of a City. One thing that immediately stood out to me was the way that the casting immediately flipped the script when it came to Achilles and Patroclus, casting two dark skinned Black actors in the roles.

I was (am still) excited by the choice to cast David Gyasi as Achilles and Lemogang Tsipa as Patroclus because it’s an inspired casting choice. Nothing about this story of gods and messy humans has whiteness inherent to the casting and I think it’s time that we got some dark-skinned people in these period pieces who weren’t slaves…

However, I know fandom.

I’m in fandom.

I know what the response will be from people who make a point of claiming objectivity and fighting against “blackwashing” with no sense of self-awareness even as they plaster #BlackLivesMatter and don a cloak of perfect progressivism. I can predict fandom racism and the forms it will take without even trying (and definitely without wanting to) because it’s a repeating pattern that fandom can’t let go of.Read More »

“Fandom is supposed to be fun.”

#makefandomfunagain

Some variation on the phrase “fandom is supposed to be fun” gets spouted like clockwork every single time that people of color in fandom try to talk about the way that fan spaces – predominantly slash fandom spaces – are frequently inhospitable to fans of color seeking more representation in their fan communities and downright disrespectful to characters of color in these slash-heavy fandoms.

Try talking about the way that characters of color are treated across the board in slash-filled fandom spaces sometime.

Try pointing out that while you like slash and have ID’d as a slasher for well over half of your life, sometimes it’d just be nice if characters that look like you weren’t either ignored or portrayed via racist stereotypes in slash fandom.

Try tagging any commentary that even remotely attempts to be critical of the reasons behind why fandom ships the ships they do.

Try it.

I dare you.

Watch how quickly a space that keeps being touted as a safe one for women quickly becomes unsafe. Watch how quickly your fellow fans treat you like an outsider and ignore any validity in your words because people like you are taking the fun out of fandom.

I agree with the basic sentiment, that fandom is supposed to be fun.

But I just wish that it actually was fun.

For everyone.

As a result of things I’ve seen and experiences I’ve had, I always find myself wondering: who’s fandom supposed to be fun for and why isn’t it fun for everyone?

Even the chilliest of observations of fandom that count as “fandom critical” are frequently met with rude and violent comments in our inboxes, snark from other people of color who just want to fit in, and people talking smack like it’s something they’re getting paid to do.

To point out that there is racism in fandom and that fandom does need to try a little harder to make its spaces more welcoming to people of color of all kinds is to wind up subjected to dehumanization from your fellow fans because the first rule of fandom apparently is “don’t mess up anyone’s fun or else”.

Why is it that our fellow fans constantly rant and rave about how they long for the “good ole days” of fandom and strive to #makefandomfunagain with some of the same dehumanizing tactics and language that certain political figures have used to refer to people of color and anti-racist activists offline.

Why is it that our fellow fans have decided that the main thing that makes fandom “un-fun” is other people being critical of it in any way?

Oh! And if you’re wondering what constitutes “un-fun” in fandom well… here’s a checklist for you:

  • Talking about race in fandom? Un-fun.
  • Talking about racism in fandom? Un-fun.
  • Pointing out that slash fandom spaces/fans constantly center white dudes? Un-fun.
  • Writing about characters of color with fandom’s favorite white dude? Un-fun.
  • Being vocally and visibly both a person of color and socially aware (or “woke”) in fandom? Un-fun.

Essentially, if you’re a person of color in fandom spaces (any kind of fandom space, true, but primarily slash-filled fandom spaces), by asking your fellow fans to respect and acknowledge what it means to be a person of color in fandom and what it means to like characters of color in fandom, you’re not fun…

And you apparently don’t deserve to have any fun in fandom as a result.

 

Valkyrie isn’t ‘Male-Coded’ And You’re Kinda Racist

Valkyrie Male Coded

Every time a nerdy piece of media dares to center a Black woman in some way, White Feminists in fandom show up to show how much they don’t care about Black women.

You can go through my archives for the past three years to see the different ways that White Feminism has failed Black female characters and the fans that love them. I don’t need to go through how Black women are constantly desexualized or ignored or mistreated by fandom in the name of (White) Feminism.

In the wake of Thor: Ragnarok, I had the… unwelcome opportunity to see such dismissive content play out in the form of an Italian viewer whose attempt at tackling the film (and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie) showed the most basic grasp of gender performance and doesn’t bother to bring intersectionality to the table.

I’m not going to link to the original post or her blog, but I will quote it heavily because it is, word for word, emblematic of the way that seemingly progressive people in fandom talk about Black women in dismissive and dehumanizing language.

Also: y’all need to see this mess.Read More »

Talk About A Super Let-Down in Supergirl Season 2

A Super Let-Down in Season 2

It’s not like Supergirl started as a really good example of diverse representation.

Sure, its first season was female-focused and had some great moments focusing on Kara’s relationships with other women, but they’re basically all white women. From the titular character on down, the women of Supergirl are almost all thin, conventionally attractive, straight, and white[1] women of a certain age.

Black characters James Olsen and J’onn  J’onnz didn’t get the development that wanted them to have and both characters’ respective arcs weren’t as satisfying as you’d expect considering that James was basically the male lead for season one and J’onn is one of Kara’s father figures.

And, in the first season, there were no other recurring characters of color of any gender, no queer characters “on the page”, and no disabled characters showing up on a recurring basis.

So, I mean… I wasn’t exactly expecting the second season to do better.

Especially not once it was set to move to The CW.
Read More »

I do not “agree to disagree”

There’s a guy in my Monday night class.

He was in my Monday night class last semester.

And his big thing, his huge thing, is looking at the other side and agreeing to disagree when people get angry with what he’s saying or point out that he’s just… being a dick in the interest of exploring whatever it is that he thinks he’s exploring. He did it all of last semester in our class on “the everyday”, in the hallway when my friends and I were talking about literally anything, and on facebook when someone has an opinion and he feels like playing the Devil’s advocate pro bono.

And he did it yesterday during our first class of the semester when we were talking about the status of Confederate statues/monuments around the US and I swear, I nearly stroked out from anger.Read More »

I’ve got… complicated feelings about the newest incarnation of the Doctor

Jodie Whittaker

The news that Broadchurch actress Jodie Whittaker has been cast as the Doctor’s thirteenth regeneration  is great, but I have to point out that it’s also primarily a step forward for WHITE women as women of color don’t get chosen to head up these nerdy franchises.

Additionally, as we saw with the way that fans of Jessica Jones, Agent Carter, and Supergirl (to say nothing about Doctor Who) have responded to criticism about racism in their respective shows and fandoms, WOC will be expected to stay silent.Read More »

There’s a really creepy conversation about “Catholic School Girls” in the latest Anita Blake book…

Content Notes: This piece focuses on a conversation about child sexual abuse (CSA) by Catholic priests and a joke about “Catholic school girls” alongside talking about rape and CSA survivors in the Anita Blake series and how they’re treated. I also reference the fact that Anita is a rapist (in general) that is currently sleeping with a character that was 16 in his first appearance and is currently 19 to her 31/32.


Cross Image

The second I heard that Laurell K Hamilton was writing a book set in Ireland, I actually found myself getting worried about how Catholicism would be portrayed and I’m not even Catholic.

In the Anita Blake series, a recurring historical fact is how the Pope excommunicated all of the animators (people that can raise the dead) due to the belief that only Jesus/God had any right to raise the dead and that anyone that was doing it, was basically fueled by Satan.

Essentially, it’s not an Anita Blake book if we don’t get a kind of whiny reminder about how Anita is no longer Catholic because of how backwards the church is when compared to other subsets of Christianity and how she’s so much better than the Church because she’s ~so accepting~.

(In later books, we even got the image of Anita’s existence as a “good and just” animator/necromancer being validated by the presence of angels which is… problematic not just because of things like her sleeping with an actual teenager, her being a rapist aside from that, and so much murder.)

But I digress.

The important thing to hold on to is that from the very moment that we got the first inkling that Crimson Death would be a book set in Ireland – a book heralded by Anita and LKH’s first trip across the Atlantic – I was prepared for the worst.

And well… within the first chapter, that’s what I got.

Despite somehow being the only worthwhile vampire hunter/expert in the world, that the reason why Anita isn’t initially wanted to help the Irish police with their newest case of unexpected vampires biting people is because she’s a necromancer and Catholicism frowns upon that. So they’re basically trying to ban her from a case they need help on because of their religion.

This means that we start Crimson Death with the idea that the poor, backwards, and Catholic Irish people are more interested in protecting themselves and their own religion than protecting people.

But wait, it gets better:

Anita and her friend Edward proceed to have a joking conversation that hinges on sexualizing Catholic school girls right after talking about the history of sexual abuse in the Church.Read More »

White Feminism Strikes Again: American Gods Edition

I can’t imagine watching a show like American Gods where Shadow Moon (played by Ricky Whittle) is onscreen and fantastic only to then writing an honest to god article about how his undead wife Laura was the actual star of the show.

I mean, erasing a male character of color for a white woman who’s hurt him is actual textbook white feminism right there. I’ve seen it happen with a TON of male characters of color getting passed over for a pseudo-empowering white lady character (who probably hurts or abuses him in their canon) in fandom.

But Shadow is clearly the star of the show.

I mean, for once I thought fandom would do the smart thing and be all over Shadow because he’s basically perfect. (But I guess I forgot the White Feminist response to Luke Cage – show and character.)

How do you make it through six episodes of American Gods and come out thinking that anyone aside from Shadow Moon is the main character?

Is it because ensemble casts with a clear lead confuse you?

Or, and I figure that this is the more likely option, is it that you’ve been conditioned to see tiny white women doing anything as super empowering even if they’re literal scum?Read More »

Bendis, Opportunism, and Bad Judgment Calls in a Terrible Time

Note: This post contains spoilers for Invincible Iron Man #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli, and Marte Gracia.


riri-panel-issue-1

Earlier today, Marvel Comics’ writer Brian Michael Bendis made a bad judgement call.

With people all over the world reeling from the fact of a Trump presidency, Bendis decided that there was no time but the present to do one thing: ply his comic, the upcoming Invincible Iron-Man #2, as a distant distraction.Read More »

Condescension, Crosstalk, and why Connie Willis’ Misunderstanding of the Romance Genre is a Deal Breaker for Me

crosstalk-cover

When I first heard about Connie Willis’ book Crosstalk, it sounded like a bunch of fun.

I put it on my wishlist and dropped a bunch of hints that I’d be open to reviewing it even if I had to buy the book myself (which wouldn’t be an issue as even if I get an ARC, I buy the books once they’re released).

Then today, I woke up to see an article on The Verge where she was interviewed about the book and, in one response, managed to miss the entire damn point about romance as a genre and as an aspect of our lives (for those folks who aren’t aromantic) and I decided to save my money. Read More »

Whose Luke Cage Reviews Matter To Me

I started watching Luke Cage yesterday morning and immediately I found myself bombarded with the thinkiest of thoughts.

I have thoughts on respectability politics in the series, on Luke Cage’s old-fashioned everything, on Black womanhood, on the use of the word “nigga” inside our community.

And at the end of the day, I also have thoughts about how I am absolutely uninterested in any hot takes on the series that don’t come from Black women.Read More »

Dear Comic Fans: It’s been a year since my first post & y’all are still racist as heck when it comes to racebending

Back in August 2015 I wrote “Dear Comic Fans: We Get it. You’re racist and racebending scares you,” as a direct response to the racist backlash towards Keiynan Lonsdale being cast as Wally West on the Flash television show.

Well, it’s been a little bit over a year and I honestly can tell you that yes, fandom is still filled to the brim with racists who think that if they scream about red hair and “blackwashing” loud enough, that no one will notice that the only time they know or care about changes to characters’ races when it concerns white characters being cast with actors of color.

Look, if the only thing you care about when it comes to casting is an authentic hair color, then I have to introduce you to the wonders of hair-dye and wigs. And then I get to beat you with a bag full of them for complaining endlessly when these (usually female) characters are racebent since you stay silent when a white male character isn’t done to style.

photogrid_1474736950131Neither of the two actors playing Barry Allen look like him.

Neither of them have his canon personality.

But where’s the press reporting about how terrible both of them are for the job because they don’t have blond hair and because it’s so strange to imagine this iconic blond character being played by men who have dark hair?

Suddenly, authentic appearances don’t matter and there’s no fuss about “iconic” anything.Read More »