Women of Color in Marvel Live Action Properties is an essay series that will look closely at the portrayals of female characters of color by actresses of color in Marvel’s various franchises. I was inspired by the fact that a lot of these female characters don’t get anywhere as much love as white female characters in similar roles and that we’re not as likely to see fandom analyze why they’re empowering. They don’t get meta-fandom or essays unless it’s about placing them in relation to white characters. I want to celebrate the women of color that inhabit the same worlds as our favorite superheroes while looking at how and why they’re important to fans like me.
Sometimes, if you want justice you have to get it yourself.
Claire Temple in Luke Cage Season 1/Episode 7 “Manifest”
Claire Temple is too good for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Claire Temple is one of the best characters in the MCU and she’s one of the few recurring female characters of color the franchise has had in the almost ten years of its history. She’s also Afro-Latina – as is actress Rosario Dawson – making her one of the few Black women to have a major recurring role in the MCU following Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Raina.
In a genre that’s spent much of the past decade finding newer and more popular white male actors (often named “Chris”) to play their heroes rather than focusing on female characters or characters of color, Claire Temple is an extra awesome rarity.Read More »
Whenever authors talk about how much they hate “forced diversity” and how annoyed they are that readers and bloggers now expect writers to create that they call “unrealistic” worlds where people who are not the default (by being queer, POC (or the fantasy/sci-fi equivalent), and/or not being cis), I always want to laugh.
Consider this a follow up to yesterday’s post about the fear and annoyance with Brian Michael Bendis writing Riri Williams when he has a clear track record of mishandling black characters.
Shortly after writing my post, I saw a series of tweets by Marvel editor Alanna Smith that really rubbed me the wrong way.
In the first tweet, one that clearly referenced Black anger and annoyance to BMB writing yet another Black legacy character in Riri Willams, Smith said that, “I strongly dislike the idea that people can only write comics starring characters that look like them. Leads to typecasting on both sides…”
She then followed the tweet with a big BUT (literally: “…BUT the industry always needs to do better and I’d love some recs of comics by black female creators. What are you reading/writing now?”) before moving into a series of tweets where she tries to explain her positioning but really doesn’t do more than get gummy White Feminism ™ all up in the gears.
I have a major bone to pick with her over the idea that “both sides” risk being typecast in the comics industry when it comes to writing diverse characters and it’s indicative of a serious problem.
Let’s be very clear here: There is no universe where white guys are typecast or pigeonholed into only writing white guys.
I’m not going to call myself a James Bond expert or anything so very trite, but I did spend most of last year (and a huge chunk of this year) both having intense opinions on the James Bond film franchise to anyone that would listen and writing an in-depth article series for The Mary Sue about the movies. It’s pretty fair to say that I get the film franchise better than the average non-Bond blogger.
That’s why I’m pretty uninterested in the idea of casting yet another vaguely attractive white guy in the role.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary romance – both the erotic and non-erotic kind.
I’ll admit it: contemporary romance is my thing.
Somehow, I fell for the genre despite being utterly uninterested in romance in my day-to-day life. My favorite books are “neighbor next door” romances, the ones where the couple is made up of two folks that I could imagine riding the bus with or chatting with about comic books. My favorite movies are romantic ones – I even ditch my “no comedies” stance for rom-coms because I love the idea of love that’s funny.
Hell, I’m still half convinced that the scene in Captain America: Winter Soldier where Sam and Steve were talking after their run was something plain out of a meet-cute. The film was good, but my brain is still so sure that what should’ve come next was something cute and fun that ended with Steve and Sam adopting a Greyhound and moving into a townhouse in DC.
So yeah, I love contemporary romance.
It’s a great genre because it’s real.
The characters in contemporary romance stories are supposed to be people that you know, people that you can identify with. They’re supposed to have an air of realism because that’s the draw of contemporary romance: these characters and scenarios seem to scream, “Hey, this love is normal love. It could happen to anyone! It could happen to you!”
Except of course, if you’re a person of color or you’re not cisgender and heterosexual.Read More »
In 2010, Black people from across the diaspora made up just over 32% of Chicago’s population.
But I bet you couldn’t tell that from reading Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files or Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series where there are zero main characters who are Black and few recurring characters who are explicitly “of color” in the respective series.Read More »
My big issue with all of this “after the fact diversity” that we’re seeing around JR Rowling and the Harry Potter series is that she’s getting so much credit for doing basically nothing with regard to representation.Read More »
For a body of media that seems fixated on different avenues of oppression, the Harry Potter series is seriously lacking when it comes to actual diversity and oppression that doesn’t revolve around magical beings. Seriously, just about everything’s a metaphor for some form of oppression or some facet of a marginalized identity.
If you’re looking for allegories about human rights and racism shown through a lens of magical humans and magical species, cool. That’s what you’re getting.
If you’re actually looking for nuanced interpretations of how race, power, and privilege intersect and affect each other in a world of magic, maybe look somewhere else.
No matter what, I am going to see Crimson Peak next month.
I decided this back when the cast was first announced and then when we got those set photos of what looked like a funeral. I love Tom Hiddleston. Love him like I love naps, it’s that intense. And I of course enjoy Guillermo del Toro’s work. He’s a freaking master of horror and tension and his movies always leave me feeling kind of uncomfortable but in a good way.
But here’s the thing about my intense love of del Toro and Hiddleston coming together to put on the Gothic nightmare of my heart: it’s so not diverse in terms of race and I’m not okay with that.Read More »