A lot of times when I discuss something that people might describe as “overtly and annoyingly feminist”, it’s because people have a skewed perception of what feminism is. Like every group, there’s a bad apple in each who are going to make a bad name/stereotype for others. But putting that aside, many people wonder what the point of writing about representation is?
“Women aren’t treated like they aren’t equals, you have rights.”
“Reverse-racism is a thing and I find this comic to be racist against me.”
“Oh my God do we really need another gay character?”
(I got this photo of Toyota Lasagna from Google)
It would seem that when a specific characters is added to something in order to make it more diverse, or that character happens to be black/gay/latino/asian/trans/female whatever, people throw a hissy fit.
Tim Hanley does a fun little experiment called “Gendercrunching.” He takes a look at the number of female creators working for DC and Marvel come 2016, and he writes:
” DC ticked down slightly to 18% female creators overall, while Marvel tumbled to 16.1%. Women account for 32.4% of the characters on DC’s covers, down slightly from July, while they account for 35.8% of the characters on Marvel’s covers, a big jump from their last total. The percentage of comics with female leads is up at Marvel as well, as it is at DC albeit much less so.”
Me too Diana, me too
I guarantee if you were to do the math of male creators/male characters there would be little math to do because they are literally everywhere you can look.
Saffroncann wrote a beautiful article about the portrayal of queer women of color in comics, titled that exact same thing, and if hearing it from me isn’t enough, take her word for it:
“People like me are rarely ever portrayed and I do believe that representation is important, especially for the younger generation…We live in a society where certain groups of people are starting to get together and support each other, particularly gay and coloured females. However, I have been in positions where these groups don’t believe that I share their struggle and ultimately, I feel cast out. Obviously I do have some privileges, I am fair skinned and I can date men if I want to. But I still feel the same way about these issues as any “fully” black or “fully” gay woman would.”
Queer women of color rarely get (positive) representation. There is the myth that bisexual men/women are more likely to cheat (a garbage opinion because straight people – I am a straight people so don’t start saying I’m attacking you, fellow straight people – joke about side chicks and cheating all the fucking time) so seeing artists who include people of color, people of different sexualities and identities shouldn’t be signaled out, it should be commonplace.
The only reason “diverse characters” become such a big deal to so many people is because, instead of letting it become as normal as seeing a white/straight person on your screens, you people make a big deal out of it!
Funny how that works!
Like Lefou in the newest version of Beauty and The Beast is (quite fittingly) openly gay! So the press said. In reality, there are still those subtle hints to the character, and the actual “admittance” to the scene is a literal “blink-and-you-miss-it” moment.
Of Animation And Opinions talks about the initial disappointment felt when this was announced, as opposed to the surprise seeing the film:
“[Lefou] was the dumpy, foppish sidekick constantly falling over himself to drool over the epitome of masculinity that was Gaston’s character. It’s a tired old trope in queer stereotyping…so when they made the announcement that Lefou was officially joining the queer ranks, I braced myself to be thoroughly disappointed in every aspect of this decision.
I stand before you pleasantly, if not perplexingly, surprised.
[Lefou] is a fully rounded character, complete with narrative arc and jokes that don’t include him as the punchline. His portrayal contains some of the DNA of the ‘sassy gay best friend’ which was getting old a decade ago. But it was miles above what I had been dreading and occasionally surprised me with moments of genuine thoughtfulness and tension.”
And the addition to this particular post that resonates with everything I’ve been saying?
“There’s nothing quite like seeing yourself represented in the media of your childhood, especially when you went so long thinking there was no room for you or your kind on the silver screen.”
People…people, people, people. And you know who you are when I say people, people people; You see yourself represented almost everywhere. In every form of media imaginable. Women are represented too, it just so happens that the majority of it tends to be the same, and we wonder why these characters can’t just be characters. So what those characters of the same sex are getting on,how many times a day do you see titties and abs and men and women making out? It’s on a daily basis, people.
Rant aside, for any of those interested, I learned via WitchesBrewPress that the Women in Comics Con 2017 is this Saturday, March 25th. I won’t be able to attend, but I hope that all those who do will have a damn good time!