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. MercenaryAce Force Ghost

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    Sounds like Duros talk to me. [face_waiting]
  3. Mia Mesharad Force Ghost

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    Could we please, please let the Duros thing just die already? Please? It's overstayed its welcome faster than an arrow in the knee...
  4. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    That's most of what I've gotten, as well. Both reasons absolutely astound me. Unfortunately, that kind of bigotry is very common around where I have the misfortune to be currently living.

    The "I'm trying to protect my physical integrity" isn't even worth dignifying with any form of response or attention. That's ridiculous. I feel the second one, however, is very revealing, and very interesting. And, of course, more than a little unsettling. It's a perfect example of the double standard some men have; that it's perfectly alright when they objectify women, but not alright when they do the same in turn, and certainly not alright when they're being objectified by a party they wouldn't think of objectifying back. The ongoing myth that gays are more sexually promiscuous really needs to die.

    There's absolutely no logical reason to have any problem with "being looked at that way", as long as no actions are being taken.

    @JediFreac (this is easier than quoting bits of your post one at a time)

    Now, lucky for you, if you don't want gay characters in your beloved fictional universe, there are over 200+ adult Star Wars books (per the Tim Zahn signing I went to) and countless more children's books so let's ballpark that there are 300 books featuring the fictional universe you enjoy and only one of these 300+ books, Revelation (2009) by Karen Traviss contains characters that are gay. That's <1% (a third of one percent to be exact.) Which means that all you need to do to feel like your vision of Star Wars is represented is to avoid reading Revelation.

    For the fans who would like to see a modicum of representation of diversity, including diversity in gender identity and sexual orientation in Star Wars, there are no books out of 300+ with straight lead characters and hetero romances, with only one book that even has gay characters at all, a book that happens to depict them as a happy family with no blatant romantic overtures at all whatsoever. There is nothing other than this book in Star Wars that affirms this aspect of their life or even their actual existence.

    I have to wonder how a character being gay, particularly if it's not a large component of the plot, could ever actually turn someone completely off of a story. It's like putting down a book because one of the characters is black. How should it effect anyone's enjoyment of the story? I don't ask that to be mocking (well, not entirely), but because I'm genuinely curious. Does it perhaps extend from traditional religious beliefs, where homosexuality is typically "sinful", and reading about someone being openly sinful is uncomfortable? In that case, how in the world can reading books about murder and violence be justified?


    In fact, they have to endure putting up with folks like you who cry that the theoretical inclusion (not equality, simply inclusion, which has barely happened yet) is an imposition on your ability to enjoy Star Wars. They have to stay closeted in social settings and boards like TheForce.Net and find alternative communities to share fanfic and their lives and stories. They have to hear authors like Allston and KJA and Zahn talk about how the inclusion of just a single gay character among a flotilla of straight characters was considered "a direction" inappropriate to go in.

    Did they really say that? If you can, I'd like to see a bit of context. That's too bad that they feel that way; it won't effect what I think about their work, since I've always taken the view that a work of fiction should be judged on its own merits and not led by personal opinions of the author, but it's disappointing nonetheless.



    Why? Because you are a fan, and because you are a geek. As Science Fiction Writers of American President author John Scalzi recently wrote:

    John Scalzi seems like such a great guy; I've read quite a few of his blog posts. Plus he's a fan of Matthew Stover, so he has to be awesome. Old Man's War is pretty high on my reading list.

    More words of wisdom.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Feb 11, 2013
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  5. JediFreac Force Ghost

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    It wasn't their call, it was editorial. It was at a panel (someone posted a link a while back) where they talked about how as authors they were considering putting in a gay character. (Which I think is a pretty cool attitude, writing diverse characters is always an interesting challenge for authors.) They were told they couldn't. =/ (But I'm still holding out for Wes/Hobbie as the "Captain Jack Harkness"es of Star Wars because I mean, why not?)


    As for Duros, I think that poor species has been enough. Lest we forget the horrific /awkward/facepalm-inducing Durosface/humanwashing that occurred in theaters across the Galactic Empire.

    [IMG]

    Yeah, that's a human trying to play a Duros in a play. I can't either.
    Last edited by JediFreac, Feb 12, 2013
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  6. Lugija Force Ghost

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    You have seen the chart of how inside-jokes move in the Internet? From 4chan to Reddit to Tumblr to FB to Youtube and then to the mainstream media where it doesn't make anyone laugh. Well on Lit the jokes move like this:

    [IMG]

    So how about that Waru? He seems to promote diversity, being the creator of the universe.
    Last edited by Lugija, Feb 12, 2013
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  7. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    EU could benefit from more gelatinous cubes. Because there is always a 10x10 room for Jell-O.
  8. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Ah, thanks for the clarification. Of course, now I'm confused... why were they denied when they wanted to put a gay character in, but Traviss was able to? I haven't read the works in question... was it very subtle in Traviss' books, or is it something they were originally okay with but changed their minds on for some reason?
  9. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    Much like other hot-button topics, the inclusion of a gay character may have simply been something that the Powers that Be did not want to touch at the time. Things have loosened up, and more and more media franchises are jumping on the bandwagon. Traviss may have been able to insert her characters because at that time, things may have simply been on the verge of changing and editors were a bit less strict in regards to what they deem would be "in poor taste."

    That's just my guess, though. Based on observations of other companies dealing with similar issues, it seems like a logical guess to make.
  10. Mia Mesharad Force Ghost

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    Traviss was subtle in a certain sense, yet at the same time, not really all that subtle to anyone reading with any real level of perception.

    In A Practical Man, Beviin muses upon Medrit as though the character were his wife, only for Medrit to show up in Sacrifice as a tall, muscular man. Neither fulfill any effeminate gay stereotype, and there's no strange external markers like pink armor or specifically pierced ears. While they don't kiss, and per the Star Wars norm there's no explicit sex, they do often throw an arm around one another. They live together, and have done so for years, tending a farm and raising their adopted daughter, who refers to both as buir, or "papa." Medrit comments to Boba Fett that he's got no experience when it comes to judging attractive women.

    On top of the contextual evidence, Traviss confirmed the intent of Beviin and Medrit as a married couple on her blog, noting that Mandalorians don't have any concern with homosexuality so long as you abide by the Resol'nare the same as everyone else. And the Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia later further canonized the relationship in an explicit capacity.

    It's strange to hear that Allston or Zahn would be shot down in regards to a gay character after all that, but with the way Traviss spaced out the relationship between the two characters over 1/3 of three novels and an e-novella, perhaps the powers that be simply didn't notice until the Encyclopedia came along and spelled it out in no uncertain terms. It's sad to see, either way, though.
    Last edited by Mia Mesharad, Feb 12, 2013
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  11. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
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    I don’t know what the "Duros thing" is, so I ask - What is the "Duros thing"? Is it something that has come up recently or something old that I have missed or something else?
  12. Lugija Force Ghost

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    It's a recent meme. History will tell if it is as good as Waru or The Glove of Darth Vader, but this is where it started.
  13. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Jul 22, 2010
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    Eh, Duros was good for awhile, and those ugly guys will always have a place in my heart, but it's no Waru or Trioculus. If in ten years it turns out I'm wrong, well, you can punch me if you'd like.
  14. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Thanks :)
  15. Robimus Force Ghost

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    I don't know that that is a completely fair statement. I would imagine that a lot of people didn't even read A Practical Man until the Sacrifice soft cover came out and I admit that I didn't put two and two together based upon Revelation until someone else mentioned it. It wasn't really something that was even in my thought process as I read the books.

    It was pretty subtle in my opinion. It was presented in such a way as being completely normal(which is how it should be presented) but because of that it blended into the background in a seemless manner.

    If you initially caught it, great. In the grand scheme of things it was an incredibly minor detail in the sea of minor details that make up every Star Wars novel. I've found that it is very hard to pick up on every little nuance the first time through a novel. Even more so for one that is kinda obscure, unexpected, and spread out over three different books.
    Last edited by Robimus, Feb 12, 2013
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  16. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    I think it's time we got some data on this one.
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  17. cthugha Jedi Grand Master

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    Been busy these last two days, but you seem to have misread me here -- I was talking about my own one-sided blindness that I only noticed after posting. The fact that in my mind, I apparently didn't include lesbians under "homosexuals", nor women under "homophobes". Thinking back, I think I've noticed that in a number of conversations on the topic, too -- the fact that when talking about homosexuality, everybody seems to be talking about male homosexuality a lot, and almost not (or in a joking manner, if at all) about female homosexuality.
  18. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    Clearly you are a horrible person. :p

    But yeah - that is something that gets glossed over all the time. I have straight female friends who believe all women are at least slightly bisexual, and gay male friends who don't believe bisexuality exists.
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Feb 12, 2013
  19. MistrX Force Ghost

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    Jun 20, 2006
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    I'm ashamed to say that I am in this category. I hadn't realized it until I was reading about Revelation later on these boards. I think I just tend to sometimes lose track of characters when we get to a certain number.

    I still can't remember if I just didn't realize that Medrit was male or if I didn't realize that he and Goran were together.
  20. Random Comments Force Ghost

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    Sep 25, 2012
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    I didn't realize they were gay, because I didn't realize he was male (I think they-and all Mandos-blurred together in my mind)...admittedly, I spent those books switching between abysmal boredom and extreme anger, so I wasn't paying that much attention...more screaming that Ms. Karen "I don't read. And I don't care about Star Wars" Traviss decided to kill the greatest character in the EU...
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  21. Mia Mesharad Force Ghost

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    You're right, I suppose that isn't very fair. I apologize. Being generally disinterested in the goings on of the Legacy of the Force series, I'd payed no attention to it initially, not until a friend of mine mentioned the appearance of several Republic Commando novel characters and the Mandalorian subplot. With that in mind, I found and downloaded a series of Word Docs on the internet that were focused just on the Mandalorian storyline, including and starting with A Practical Man. So you can see how my reading experience was quite different than most people's, and in the condensed one-after-the-other readthrough, things like that became much more evident much more quickly.
    Last edited by Mia Mesharad, Feb 12, 2013
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  22. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

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    I haven't even read A Practical Man or LotF, because of my disdain for the direction the post-NJO was taken, so these Mandolorians hardly even factor into not reading these books.
  23. beccatoria Force Ghost

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    Do you have a source for this? I'd never heard about this before, but that is just...absolutely repugnant and totally heartbreaking, and if there's a referable source, I need to be complaining about this.

    Also, late to the party, and partially beaten to it by Coop, but -

    Well, dude, by definition, basically yeah. Prejudice is when you have a preconceived opinion that is based on a biased rather than an objective view reality. Since you admit that you don't even know why you don't want gay people in your media, I'm not sure how you can also argue that it's objective.

    As to the issue of marriage, not to derail the thread, but that's an opinion that has always, always utterly baffled me. So, okay, Christianity defines marriage in a specific way. I disagree with the morals of such a judgement, but that's not even my point here. Marriage isn't a specifically Christian invention or institution. Other religions have weddings too! With different traditions and different requirements! And there are completely secular weddings!

    If the institution of Christian marriage isn't threatened by the existence of hijra and the widely varying views on homosexuality that exist within Hindu doctrine and history, or by the existence of legal polygamous marriages in many African countries, or by the fact that marriage has become a tool of the state rather than the church, I really don't see why it should be affected by two people of the same gender marrying.

    It seems like a totally arbitrary line in the sand.

    And the most blatant example of the "bisexual = twice as horny" stereotype I've come across was from a gay woman I worked with telling me that she could never date a bisexual woman because she could never trust her not to run off with a dude behind her back.

    Oppression is a pernicious, internalised thing. :(

    Okay, so, it's important to note, I'm not trying to be combative here - but I am curious if you're willing to answer:

    Why do you think this is? Do you think it has anything to do with a lifetime of socialisation telling you that you oughtn't find this acceptable viewing?

    Again, I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who thinks we all have a ton of this programming; cthugha's example of associating homophobia primarily with men is a good example as I suspect I might have made a similar error.

    But the absolutely intense social pressure with regards to homophobia in the masculine world is something I've only ever seen from the outside. Which makes me curious to get your perspective on what you think the relationship between your point of view here and cultural pressure is?
    Last edited by beccatoria, Feb 12, 2013
  24. Esg Jedi Grand Master

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    I remember hearing Marriage even predates established religion somewhere
  25. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    It does. My issues with the concept of marriage don't have anything to do with religion. It's really the fact that marriage is historically designed as little more than a convenience for men. It's religion that supplied a lot of the supposed deeper meanings and connotations commonly associated with marriage today. I feel marriage is pretty much the epitome of a tradition kept for traditions sake.

    But that's marriage in general, not homosexual marriages.