Lit Ignorance is Bias: The Diversity Manifesto

Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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  2. Robimus Force Ghost

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    I still say that if he really wanted to create lead characters that resembled chinese or inuit kids he should have done so. Instead we get a visual ambiguity which requires fans of the show to point out to the ignorant masses like myself that the white kid draped in the oriental garb is actually asian.

    And yes I realize it is all the fault of the anime industry and artistic interpretation. :p
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  3. JediFreac Force Ghost

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    Hey, this article is cool. Everyone go read it!





    I don't think it's visual ambiguity at all. They basically knew they were going to make the world Asian-themed and then decided that since they were hiring these awesome Korean studios anyway they might as well draw the show in the style those studios were most used to (eg. drawing Asian people the way Asian people draw them.)

    If I'm daring enough I might say it's really the fault of the (predominantly white) American market that tends to want to self-insert white characters into Asian-style animation. I swear, some of the stuff people would say like how the character's eyes were too big to be Asian (uh, have you seen the size of white Disney character's eyes?) or how the eyes weren't slanty enough (as if all Asians had eyes like Brock from Pokemon, c'mon.)

    I kind of feel like everyone saying "They don't look Asian to me" were basing it off of an American stereotype of what Asians look like (TBH I still think Mulan looks like an Alien.)
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  4. Skaddix Jedi Grand Master

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    I would also like to note real Chinese Characters were used in the show.
  5. instantdeath Force Ghost

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  6. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    That said, I rather dislike gender bending for the sake of it. If they want Peter Parker to be gay, they can just... make him gay, and invent a new character for it, can't they? Granted, this is coming from my EU perspective where I like things consistent -- I suppose comic book reboot things change things like personalities all the time, so I suppose changing a gender fits along with that too.

    edit:
    oh hey, Bria wrote that one! Neat. Need to bug her to come back to the JC...
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Jul 10, 2013
  7. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

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    Yeah, there's some pretty bad comments there. I hate it when people say it's "out of character" to change a character's sexuality, as if their sexuality greatly changes who they are as a person. :rolleyes:

    As for changing Mary Jane to Marty Jones or whatever, I guess I don't have a huge problem with it. Comics are a medium that, IMO, allow for adaptive changes and transitive storytelling.
    Last edited by Todd the Jedi, Jul 10, 2013
  8. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    This is a case of me disagreeing with the idea- making Peter gay would be gimmicky, nothing more or less- it's just the fact that everyone is so appalled at the very idea, the fact that people are throwing out the "I'VE HAD ENOUGH WITH GAY BEING FORCED ON ME!", and the "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" crap.

    So yeah, I agree with the mob, but for entirely different reasons.
  9. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Well that brings up the whole issue we were talking about.... I forget in what context, but I think it was in relation to Big Bang Theory or something. Essentially the idea of [insert socially marginalized group here] being promoted not for the sake of diversity or what not, but realizing it's an untapped demographic or just a story idea. Basically a gimmick, to use your words. Is it worth it to expose an audience to new ideas if it starts out as a gimmick but eventually gets people used to the idea? It's a tough call.
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  10. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    I'll repeat my statement from the previous page: recent events being what they are, these are people lashing out--maybe even more vigorously than usual due to recent events--because society is leaving them behind. They have never been more clearly on the losing side than they are now, and I pity them.

    As for the idea itself--I'd sooner have had him be Donald Glover in the first place than have his orientation changed mid-stream. But if the options are a man or Shailene Woodley, I might reconsider.
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Jul 10, 2013
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  11. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Well, one thing that's worth considering is that one of the most common rebuttals to this type of thing is "if you're gonna make a gay hero, don't mess with an old one, make a new hero". Well that's all well and good, except for one thing: it's ridiculously hard to create new super heroes, at least ones that can rank up there with Spider-man and others. These characters were created over 50 years ago, a time where a gay hero would have been out of the question (look at the resistance the idea is encountering now). So, the only real way to get a gay hero on screen this decade would be to change the sexuality of an existing one.

    Of course, one then has to consider whether messing with continuity is worth it. Personally, I'm of the opinion that a persons sexuality does not define them, any more than a persons skin color. Like with race, you should celebrate your heritage, be proud of it (though I'm not at all proud of my heritage [face_liarliar]), but in the final analysis, it doesn't change who you are as a person. It can only potentially change your experiences. So my very unpopular opinion (if the downvoting on IGN is any indication) is that being gay wouldn't change anything about Peter Parker's character. It would only change the way audiences perceive him, because gay relationships are still seen as "different".

    What really gets me is all the people complaining about a gay Spider-man would be some kind of liberal conspiracy designed to force teh gayz on them and their children. Sheesh.
  12. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    The biggest problem with making a new hero for that purpose is that said hero will forever be stigmatized as "the gay hero" -- as if that were his sole raison d'être. That means being considered a niche, rather than mainstream, character.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Jul 10, 2013
  13. Mechalich Force Ghost

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    I dislike this line of thinking because, if you extend the logic, it means you can't make anything new and popular ever. It means no new super-heroes are possible, whether gay/straight, black, brown, or neon orange. That is an appeal to the worst corporatist tendencies in modern entertainment and is decidedly not a progressive thought process.

    Worse, it turns diversity into a zero sum game. If the only way we can increase diversity is by eliminating white males, then that's a big, big problem. In that scenario everyone is fighting over some limited pool of representation and influence - diversity as war.

    That's where at lot of the negativity comes from with something like this it's basically: how dare you take Spider-Man away from us! That's identity politics at work. The same thing would happen is there was a proposal to make a notable Black superhero (Black Panther, Luke Cage) white, or if, in whatever Marvel's next reboot happens to be, they decided Northstar is now straight. There would be howling.

    Making Peter Parker gay would absolutely change significant aspects of his character - it just wouldn't change them negatively. Sexuality is fundamental part of a person's makeup, one that influences, on some level, pretty much every post-puberty encounter and relationship a person has. Being gay is not good or bad compared to being straight, but it is different.
  14. Mia Mesharad Force Ghost

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    Well the Kate Kane version of Batwoman took off rather prominently, though it could be said that some of the popularity she enjoyed initially was because of her ties to the "Bat Family." And Renee Montoya was quite a popular figure, who's later succession to the role of The Question was warmly received by nearly everyone, with perhaps the only resistance to the change being Justice League Unlimited fans who were sad to see Vic Sage go after being so enjoyable in the series. Both open lesbian characters.

    Personally, I'm much more in favor of new characters, whether in fully original roles or as inheritors to an established mantle. For instance, I'm a fan of Ryan Choi succeeding Ray Palmer as The Atom, and Jaime Reyes taking over from Ted Kord as Blue Beetle. They work in a way that's just more natural and fluid to the story than a sudden redesign of an existing character.
  15. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    Maybe the truly progressive thing to do would be to make Peter bi. That keeps the narrative of the first movie intact and challenges not only the homophobes but the people who think you have to be one or the other.
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  16. ThatsNoPloKoon Jedi Master

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    Changing Mary Jane to a gay guy and acting like they're the same character is probably one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard. At what point does the word "adaption" lose all meaning?
  17. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    ...

    .....


    .....no. I'm better than that.
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  18. ThatsNoPloKoon Jedi Master

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    I guess it would just be a really bad adaption then.
  19. Quinnocent-Till-Sith Force Ghost

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    Jordan is the Human Torch, Spider-Man can't have him.

    UnlessFoxandSonyhaveanarrangement.
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  20. Reveen Jedi Grand Master

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    If they wanted to be ballsy and progressive, they could have went with Miles Morales in the first place, just saiyan. Of course Garfield would be out of a role then.
  21. Mia Mesharad Force Ghost

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    I think it'd be cool to do a cross-universe film in the near future, similar to how they've done the meeting of the Spidermen in the comics. It'd be a great was to introduce Miles to a larger fanbase, and open up the potential for a movie of his own.
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  22. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Keep in mind that I'm not talking about the entertainment industry as a whole, but rather, the comic book industry, which has historically been an industry that makes its profits off of regurgitating icons. Down to the very subject matter of the books, most comics published by the big two are about upholding the status quo; comic fans go absolutely nuts if you change anything from their precious lore, and if something is changed, it's reverted back within months. While I could be wrong about this, I believe the last super hero from DC/Marvel to become popular enough to stand alongside the other icons was Deadpool, a character from the 90's, and he's arguably only popular because he's so different from the original Marvel heroes.

    I'm not saying that's how things should be- and of course there are numerous exceptions to this rule, such as many of the works Image and Vertigo publishes. Even Marvel, which sticks almost entirely to super heroes, has the Ultimate universe, which defies a lot of what I've just said. I'm not even decrying the way the comic industry does things, as the "revolving door" nature of the publications do fit the "modern myth" nature of many of the heroes. But if there's one thing comic book fans seem to be naturally resistant to, it's change. Just look at how big the "Boycott Thor" thing was, all because they decided to make Heimdall black. Trying to turn Johnny Storm black? You already have "fans" threatening to boycott the film on the idea alone.

    But the change is on a fairly superficial level: you're attracted to a different segment of the population. The great difference, however, comes sociologically. Now, you could easily argue that at this point I'm arguing semantics- after all, whether it's a biological difference or a sociological difference, it's still a difference- but if it were a strict biological difference it would be unalterable fact. As a sociological difference, it's governed entirely by our perceptions.

    Like I said, most of the population simply view gay relationships as different, even though the core of them is the same. Were Peter Parker gay, that would change elements of his character, but those elements would be dictated entirely by our social stigmas regarding homosexuality; there would almost certainly be a scene with him telling his aunt, because that's traditionally a very hard conversation for a homosexual person to have, and so on and so on. But if we didn't treat homosexual relationships any differently, than it truly wouldn't be any different at all.

    If they were to go that route, that would undoubtedly be what they did. After all, it was pretty clear he was in love with Gwen in the first movie (I think? I only saw it in theaters).

    If they do a gay super hero, I personally think it should be a member of the team. Since unfortunately telling bigots that if they don't like the movie, they shouldn't see it isn't really an option, at least this way they could do a film without having the sole main character having gay cooties. Johnny Storm, for example, though that would undoubtedly piss the fans off unbelievably (which is why I support it :p)

    To be honest, I'd actually prefer they go the Ultimate route and start with Peter, and have him pass the torch to Miles. Or they could have done it the other way around.

    On that note, I actually haven't read the Ultimate universe yet, and have no idea how there's another guy with Spider-man's powers.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Jul 10, 2013
  23. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    I'm actually really into the notion of the Storm siblings--both of them--being black. Glover made a good point about a black Peter Parker being very plausible, but Sue Storm in particular being black would spit in the face of about a million stereotypes and immediately make the FF the most diverse mainstream superhero team ever.
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Jul 10, 2013
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  24. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Which stereotypes would that be?

    And I completely agree, have always thought that went without question (I was amused when so many were complaining, over the potential black Johnny Storm: "but what about Sue Storm?! She's white?! How can her brother be black!!!?? Tell me!!!!"
  25. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    Black women being nerdy/interested in science, being romantically interested in white men, being stable mother figures instead of mercurial divas...

    Edit: relevant.
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Jul 10, 2013
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