Lit Ignorance is Bias: The Diversity Manifesto

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

  1. Reveen Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 4, 2012
    star 3
    Still can't wrap my head around the "fit the story" argument. The characters are the story and if you're writing in a completely fictional universe you can generally do whatever the hell you want. Unless you're in franchise fiction and breaking the rules of the setting, but I'd say Star Wars rules are pretty damn liberal.

    Everything boils down to execution. You could have a cyborg, transsexual, Jawa jedi raised by Wookies if the writer has the chops to pull it off.

    Hell, even from a modern standpoint the "makes sense for the story" thing doesn't hold alot of water. Does a Muslim, Chinese, eunuch explorer fit the story for historical fiction?
  2. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    I would totally read a story about a cyborg transsexual Jawa Jedi who was raised by Wookiees.
    Last edited by TrakNar, Dec 4, 2012
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  3. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Coop, that's one of my favorite episodes but by the gods that outfit is an affront to good taste.

    You should have said "TrakNar is token female."
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Dec 4, 2012
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  4. Rilwen_Shadowflame Force Ghost

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    Mar 27, 2005
    star 6
    Well then I guess TrakNar and I will have to duel it out to be this thread's token female; I mean, more than one? Clearly someone is shoehorning us in.:p
  5. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Heh. Knowing you, I'd have to wonder if you almost looked forward to the prospect of a duel :p
  6. Likewater Force Ghost

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    Dec 31, 2009
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    THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!
  7. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    Oh boy, and I've been practicing with my kendo sword lately! :D
  8. Rilwen_Shadowflame Force Ghost

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    Mar 27, 2005
    star 6
    [face_whistling]I refuse to answer on the grounds that I may incriminate myself.:p
  9. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    Because this was an edit I think it got lost in a shuffle of jokes and spam so I'm reposting:



    While I agree with a lot of what you say above I can't see what point your trying to make here. Catwoman made $40 million dollars, Elektra made $24 million dollars but Green Lantern made $116 million dollars(all domestic boxoffice totals). I suggest to you that the reason a Green Lantern sequel is getting green lighted is because it made five times as much money as Elektra did and almost three times the amount of Catwoman.

    I don't think the producers sat around a table and decided that they were not going to make sequels to those films based on anything but dollars. Even though all three films were crap in my eyes, Green Lantern was a financial success. Things like production costs would also be a huge contributing factor as well.

    For instance Resident Evil 1 made the same amount of money as Catwoman, but Catwoman reportedly cost $100 million to make, Resident Evil only $35 million.

    While I'm sure that the playing field is not as level as it should be, other action films with female leads that are also kinda poor in my eyes like Tomb Raider and Resident Evil, but they get their sequels green lit because they were financially successful.

    You make it sound as if sexism made sequels to those films impossible, when in reality the numbers don't lie.
    Last edited by Robimus, Dec 4, 2012
  10. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Rob, she's aware that financial considerations are overriding but what she's saying is that there's probably an assumption that female leads don't sell. You can be sexist without having sexism as your primary goal.

    I think your record speaks for itself. :p
  11. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    Seems like everyone is forgetting about the Alien series.
  12. Havac Former Moderator

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    Sep 29, 2005
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    That's the point!
  13. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    I know that. I'm saying I'm siding with the folks on... urgh, which planet was that? It's not Ariel, that was the Trash planet. Well, whatever that planet was. :p
  14. Robimus Force Ghost

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    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    There probably is an assumption, but for her to come in and give the examples she gave doesn't support her arguement. Her statement is clear, she thinks those films didn't get sequels based upon the assumption that female leads won't sell - and there are no facts backing that up. The fact is those films, with female leads, didn't sell and I suspect thats why they didn't get their sequels.

    I suspect Ant-Man will never see the light of day(it might go straight to DVD) and I don't see Black Widow as a strong enough character to garner her own film(I feel the same way about Hawkeye). A stronger arguement might be questioning why Marvel/Disney hasn't done a Storm film despite the huge success of the X-Men franchise.

    Catwoman and Elektra are examples of producers trying to include female leads and failing, not examples about the sexism of Hollywood because they didn't get sequels.
  15. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    You did nothing to disprove her argument though. She's saying that the failure of those films is attributed to the gender of the lead character, and she's saying that's unfair. All you're saying is that those films failed. That's great but she already said that.

    Yeah, she mentioned a bit about the sequels, but that was parenthetical to her main point.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Dec 4, 2012
  16. Havac Former Moderator

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    Sep 29, 2005
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    Persephone. And Ariel was the planet from . . . Ariel. The hospital heist. Trash was on Bellerophon.
  17. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    lol. That's right, I forgot that there was an episode called Ariel. Whooops. And this is why I don't post on a Firefly forum.

    Anyway, the point is, central planets > those filthy browncoat criminal things.
    Valin__Kenobi and CooperTFN like this.
  18. Robimus Force Ghost

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    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    She clearly makes the comparison to the Green Lantern film, which was a financial success where those other films failed, as a part of her arguement. She saying Green Lantern is getting a sequel because of a male lead - I'm saying Green Lantern is getting a sequel because it made money. Same as the Resident Evil films, same as the Tomb Raider franchise.

    She is speculating bad will when there are clear, logical reasons to point towards about why those films are not getting sequels while Green Lantern is.
    Last edited by Robimus, Dec 4, 2012
  19. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    the fact that failed female-lead movies are almost always blamed on the protagonist's gender not the writing of the movie


    Seriously Rob? It's right there. Cool it with the strawmen -- she's already agreed that those movies failed, she's positing a reason why the executives might've have imagined their failure (gender) and then positing the outcome of that assumption (the successful, male-lead film gets greenlit for a sequel, while the unsuccessful female-lead films do not). She's already said that they were unsuccessful, and you're doing absolutely nothing to contest her point.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Dec 4, 2012
  20. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    Apr 4, 2011
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    Could it also be simply that the public fandom had moved beyond Resident Evil and Tomb Raider?
    Last edited by TrakNar, Dec 4, 2012
  21. Robimus Force Ghost

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    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    I'm not taking the same meaning from her post as you are, but instead of you speaking for her, and me speaking around her I think we should wait for her to get the chance to respond before we continue.

    I'm not sure what you mean by this?
    Last edited by Robimus, Dec 4, 2012
  22. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    Hollywood tends to cater to popular fandom, and if the public eye is not on a certain property, as in that property has not received a sequel game in a number of years, or it's become something of a cult icon and isn't really in the public eye as much, then it probably won't get another movie made. The tastes of the general public change on a regular basis. What is "hot" one year is "not" the next.

    To put it another way, Hollywood tends to see what will make the most money, and if a franchise isn't making enough money, they won't make sequels. Yet, if the franchise is making money, they will make sequels, regardless of character. Look at Twilight. The books were terrible. Yet, we have five movies.
    Last edited by TrakNar, Dec 4, 2012
  23. Skaddix Force Ghost

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    Feb 3, 2012
    star 4
    How much did GL cost? Generally to get a sequel u need to make back at least double of the cost of the movie.
  24. beccatoria Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2006
    star 4
    I'm not an expert on the issue of movies, but I'm not the only one ignoring context here. As you say issues like production costs, marketing and perception of how well those movies should have done will matter. Green Lantern was a much larger property released at a time when Superhero movies are reaching the apex of their popularity; expectations are different. You're not wrong that there are a lot of complicated issues going on - Superman Returns is another example - vastly more financially successful than Green Lantern, but still branded a failure and subjected to a reboot. But, it gets a reboot not a boxing away - the character is still useful property.

    Honestly, though, we can go the rounds with this, and the only thing you've told me is that you're on the side of "numbers don't lie".

    Numbers are directly linked to marketing budgets and people who get offended every time they perceive a woman's inclusion isn't organic and a lifetime telling them that if it's got a female lead it's a chick flick. Computer games are a great example. Based on numbers, computer games with male leads make vastly more money than computer games with female leads. They also get vastly more in terms of marketing budget and visibility.

    The real question is why Elektra and Catwoman tanked worse than Green Lantern if they were all equally awful (which I don't think they were, I think Elektra and Green Lantern - and I basically thought they were both okay - were on par and Catwoman is a film so bad I have been known to watch it when I need a pick-me-up cus it's so bad it's funny, but whatever, I also thought Spider-man 3 was pretty poor). Or, indeed, why the few female-based superhero films we have "just happen" to be minor franchises that then tank and get no attempts at resuscitation and lead, so coincidentally, I'm sure, to an eight year stretch without a single female-anchored superhero movie, despite the fact that they're planning to make one about Ant-Man.

    I'm not denying that Catwoman was a truly awful film. I would, however, be really interested to have watched the executives and writers decide to write the film in the atrocious, gendered, idiotic way they did.

    Regardless, I don't really think the point of my post hangs on whether or not you agree with this specific example.

    ETA: also, dude, I was asleep cus I live in Britain, I wasn't ignoring you; I got your message, no need to repost a few hours later. It's all good.

    ETA2: also, apparently when you reply to something before going to work and don't read to the end of the thread you miss other people making your point for you far more eloquently; cheers Jello!
    Last edited by beccatoria, Dec 5, 2012
  25. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    The biggest problem with Green Lantern for me was when the fridge logic set in on the car ride back from the theater, and I was pointing out hole after hole after hole, after error after error after error. I'm hoping the sequel/reboot/whatever does a better job. I want a good DC movie. We get great DC animated movies; why can't they translate the success of those to the big screen and in live-action?

    But, back on the subject at hand... If you look at comic books, you'll notice that the female leads who last generally are long-established characters who cater to a male audience. Even female comic artists cater to male tastes. Males comprise the larger segment of comic readers, and thus writers and artists will cater to them. The books that were written for female readers end up being criticized by male readers for "pandering," and those books crash and burn due to low sales. Granted, there were a number of successful books that were geared toward female audiences, but they tended to be either independents or small press, and tended to follow a slice-of-life theme, or were fantasy-oriented. Books such as Love and Rockets, Strangers in Paradise, ElfQuest, and Bone had strong female readerships. These books, however, were independents and many mainstream comic stores did not carry them.

    Independents and small press tend to be the ones who are ready and willing to try something new, and they are usually leading the revolution while remaining quietly under the radar. It's when big-name publishers start getting into the act and doing what the little guys had been doing for years that readers start crying "foul." The same has held true for not only female-oriented comic leads, but homosexual comic characters (unless in a "mature reader" mainstream comic), and ethnic characters. When the independents and small press do it, it's "edgy." When the mainstream does it, it's "pandering."