Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Sep 2, 2012.
Hi, welcome to the Diversity Thread! I'm afraid that by having posted here, you are now officially a homosexual.
Finally, an explanation!
Since it became an issue on THIS thread:
QUEER PEOPLE DON'T NEED A REASON TO EXIST, IN REAL LIFE OR IN A STORY.
Tokenism is an interesting concept. It's easy to understand in principle: there's relatively little effort needed to add a descriptor and then do nothing with it.
I suspect the extent to which that matters says more about what someone values. And I don't specifically mean whether someone is bigoted or not, but rather someone sees inherent value in representation like that.
But that's still buying into the concept of tokenism, it's just putting a positive gloss on it.
I submit that the real value is genericizing it -- showing it to be so utterly ordinary that it's not worthy of comment.
That can look like tokenism too. But it's different.
Best seen with POC -- the ethnicity of the Rebels cast or of Iden Versio is never commented on in-universe, because it's utterly ordinary and doesn't matter.
That's the idea. That in itself means something.
Missa ab iPhona mea est.
This world will not fully have embraced diversity until Star Wars movies are filled with Mon Cala of every color, creed, and orientation. Screw humans, I'm frankly tired of them.
This reminds me of the Ackbar panels in Princess Leia, Part I. I didn't quite like his appearance there... I can get why people like snarky Ackbar, but he sounded more racist than snarky there.
I think, for what it's worth, that Star Wars Lit has an easier time introducing LGBT characters then it does POC, because in a world where - for better or for worse - a character is assumed to be white until specified as otherwise, it's harder to describe a character as POC when you can't actually use a lot of the traditional "racial" descriptors. Like, you can't say asian or indian in Star Wars, and it's not often a character talks about, idk, epicanthic folds.
I think "epicanthic folds" is pretty much the only way I've seen Asian characters described in SW books. Isn't that how Seyn was described in Inferno Squad?
I had no trouble imagining Cienna and Sloane and Kier as black based on how they were described. Asian might be more difficult to describe in the GFFA though.
When I describe Asian people in my sci-fi and fantasy books, I simply say, "almond shaped eyes."
I still, after 8 years, treat characters with no specified racial features as white when I'm scoring stuff--though as the characters who are specified have gotten (relatively) more diverse that's become somewhat more awkward. I suppose the closest thing to "victory" I can envision for diversity scoring would be to get to a point where I felt I could no longer justifiably make those kind of assumptions.
I was actually annoyed when some of my readers were shocked one of my main characters was black when I took (apparently not enough) time to point it out. They just thought because it was a Western and Lovecraftian that the protagonist would be a white dude.
Can you see the issue if you're counting all these non-specified characters as "white" and then using that data as some sort of diversity score? That's just not right, and meaningless. Using the same logic, some guy could go ahead and assume they are all black and then complain that there are too many black people in Star Wars.
I may have misunderstood what you mean by "scoring stuff", if so just ignore me.
That's an issue with the readers, not the writing. You could always just start off by specifying skin colour but it's not like you've done anything wrong by not doing it.
It's not a perfect situation, but it's something we've discussed a lot over the years and it's very much intentional--the OP goes into my thinking on that in more detail if you're interested. As does this piece from more recently.
I'm not aware of anyone saying that they do, but I can only speak for myself. It would be nice--and arguably more sincere/respectful--if homosexual characters weren't treated as something to merely mark off a spreadsheet in order to get a cheap applause from people.
Which is basically Wendig's modus operandi whenever I read his novels or stories. Even Sinjir's presentation had far too many flagrant box-checking exercises. It's how it comes across to me as a reader and serves to routinely pull me out of the story. As does his use of modern day jargon and slang that routinely feels very out of place in the classic Star Wars setting.
Simply put--I find Wendig to be a very poor author.
As marked contrast, when the gay moff was presented in Lords of the Sith (I can't recall her name...Mors maybe?), it didn't come across as gratuitous or cheap. She had some semblance of depth as a character which as I recall manifested in a lifestyle obsessed with comfort and luxury to the point of excess. Same goes for Goran and Medrit in the LotF series. We were given their backstory, their professions, dialogue, and they actually advanced the plot.
My viewpoint isn't expressing opposition to the existence or inclusion of homosexual characters. It's suggesting that giving such characters meaning, depth, and story significance ultimately makes them more than just "a gay character."
Which is the best kind of diversity in my opinion.
Can you think of an example of a straight character whose straightness is "flagrant", or pulls you out of a story?
I for one am incensed that Raymus Antilles has a wife how dare they bring in an element of sexuality where none was present before. Just some more straight-pleasing box-checking.
Diversity for diversity's sake is not a bad thing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with off-hand referring to a queer character's sexuality the way you would for a straight character.
Did you have the same problem with Joph's mothers in Bloodline?
Would you have even noticed if it mentioned Ackmena's husband?
I could use less of his sex life in my books.
Are you writing about wereotters now?
Anakin Solo being straight for Mara Jade. Quite a few of the scenes of Luke being straight for Mara pulled me out of the story too.
And Jag Fel staring at Jaina’s chest. Less of Jag’s heterosexuality and more of Jaina’s piloting skills please.
I mean I guess if the proposed alternative is a full story about Ackmena and her wife I'm not gonna say no to that. More Ackmena in general please.
Something a lot of Asian people would rather you didn't.
I think we've been over this...