SWTV Diversity Thread

Discussion in 'Star Wars TV' started by AkashKedavra_93, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. Mia Mesharad Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    As a friendly point of fact, "gay" is an adjective, and should be used in conjunction with another noun: a gay man, a gay woman, gay people. Using "gay" alone, as a singular noun―a gay, the gays―is widely considered offensive and somewhat demeaning; it has certain socio-linguistic connotations that, in essence, reduces a person to nothing but their sexuality.

    Not assuming bad faith or anything on your part, just pointing that out for future reference.
  2. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    @TaradosGon, yeah, if we see anything, I'd expect it to be that.

    @Mia Mesharad, no I didn't know that; I'll keep it in mind.
    Mia Mesharad likes this.
  3. deathraygun Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2014
    star 2
    Interesting thread.. Even though the preview trailer was a bit too cartoony for me, I was glad that to see all original characters that weren't predominantly white males (other than some Imps). This will be a good test to see how financially viable a show like this can be. If this is successful, it could really propel some more shows or spin offs with a diversified cast.

    It'd also be cool to see some human/alien relationships.
    themetresgained likes this.
  4. Sgt Crowfield Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 1999
    star 4
    Well, I guess I'm not from your part of the world, but I find it fascinating how 'hispanic' or 'arab' is seen as something different from 'white'. Personally, I don't see huge phenotypical differences (unless we get into the mountain dwellers vs. coast dwellers range), in many cases none at all. So how did this differentiation come about?
  5. themetresgained Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2013
    star 4
    I don't know how alien you consider Twi'leks to be, but I'm guessing there's going to be Hera/Kanan shippers pretty much immediately.
  6. StrikerKOJ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2014
    star 2
    Asking this question with no disrespect intended:

    Does Rebels need a gay character? Other than a number of viewers "wanting" diversity, and in this case, inclusion of a gay character, will it improve the story? If there isn't one, will the story be worse of for it?

    I understand my opinion is in the minority on this forum, but if the writers opted not to include a gay character, or even opted not to include a "diverse" cast (however you want to define diverse), simply because they felt the story did not demand such a character, are they bad people? Is it a bad story? Will your (general your) opinion of the story be negatively influenced because of this omission, regardless of the quality of the plot or characters that were included?
    deathraygun and Revanfan1 like this.
  7. Heero_Yuy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 4
    Well, does Rebels need a straight character?
  8. TaradosGon Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    No, it wouldn't improve the story. But it's not about improving the story. Having an Asian character doesn't improve the story in any way over had they made Sabine a white character. It's just about representing the diversity that exists in the real world in the fictional world of Star Wars too.

    Sexuality is a fluid trait. Society seems to categorize people dichotomously as either straight or gay, but there are people out there that are attracted to both sexes, whether equally or skewed in favor of one over the other (but still holding the potential for attraction to members of the same or opposite sex). That is, bisexuality is often overlooked in favor of categories of strict heterosexuality or homosexuality, as though there is merely a "gay gene" that is either on or off, and that attraction to both sexes can't exist.

    Statistics are hard to really ascertain the accuracy of, since they are largely based on polls which may or may not provide an accurate representation of the frequency of homosexual attraction, since some people may be dishonest about it and not want to admit it.

    But even this source puts the potential percentage of the population that is "gay" (here defined as having attraction to the same sex, but not necessarily at the exclusion of the opposite sex) as high as 20%. Other figures I've seen are closer to 5%, though the linked to source says that usual figures are around 10%.

    But whether it is 1/20, 1/10 or 1/5 people that bear some kind of homosexual attraction, these are not insignificant figures, even at the lower end of 1/20. And it's about representing this population in fiction.
    Last edited by TaradosGon, May 14, 2014
  9. StrikerKOJ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2014
    star 2
    A well reasoned argument... :rolleyes:

    Does the story need to be told at all?

    **edit** post was in response to Heero

    **edit again**

    I will ask again, other than "wanting" representation of one group or the other, is there a reason why one group or another "needs" to be represented? While I recognize a great many works of fiction draw parallels or inspiration from real world events or situations, is it necessary that all fiction tackle, address, or refer to, modern social issues? If not, why is Star Wars held to a higher standard? (I draw this conclusion based soley on my observations from this forum).

    Is the argument for including "people of color" or homosexual individuals in Star Wars any different than the argument for wanting more Jedi or more space combat, etc.? I just get the impression that because of current social situations in the real world, those in favor of more "diversity" in a fictional universe come off as some how morally superior to those who take the story for what it is.

    Again, I don't care one way or the other, but I haven't really seen a reason why X or Y must be in Star Wars, other than "in the real world...", which should have minimal, if any, impact to the story in a fictional universe; though I admit I have not read the several hundred pages worth of posts over the years, having recently just invested time into these forums.

    It all just strikes me as odd. I have been a fan of Star Wars since I can remember, and I never once thought the universe was lacking "diversity", and not once did it cross my mind that others took the issue so seriously. I'm really just trying to understand the other side.
    Last edited by StrikerKOJ, May 14, 2014
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  10. Heero_Yuy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 4
    Why, yes it was. Thank you for noticing. It's every bit as well reasoned as your own.
  11. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    I can understand why people would want diversity and representation in the show. That doesn't guarantee there will or won't be a gay character, or there should or shouldn't be. It's up to the directors and writers to decide that. Let me just say I don't want it pointlessly shoehorned in for the purpose of having it, though.
    Force Smuggler likes this.
  12. TaradosGon Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4

    No disrespect meant - I am for the inclusion of a gay character(s) - but having said that, I don't see how they can include it in such a way that it doesn't feel shoehorned in. Even in a show like Game of Thrones (an HBO show, and like many HBO shows has chosen to include gay characters), the character of Prince Oberyn is shown to be gay, but it's not really relevant to the plot in anyway. Or in the film Skyfall, the villain was depicted as gay, but in both of these two cases, the homosexuality of the characters could arguably said to be "shoehorned" in, because the stories would really be no different if the characters were straight. It's pretty much irrelevant to the plot, and ultimately more of an aesthetic (I don't know if that's the best word, but I can't think of a better one) decision on the part of the director and writers.
    Revanfan1 likes this.
  13. Dark Lord Tarkas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2011
    star 5
    What part of the world are you from?? I thought you were in the US. Here in the US we are pretty terrible about distinguishing among non-white people, but going by the census even here we have a Hispanic race category. It's all just an imaginary social construction signifying nothing anyway, but those of Hispanic and Arab descent are not categorized as white.

    I see a problem with your logic here. If it is totally irrelevant to the plot whether a character is homosexual or heterosexual, then they should be able to be either, not have to default to heterosexuality as the norm or risk being accused of shoehorning.
  14. Heero_Yuy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 4
    I'd define shoehorning as something like an episode of SWR that deals with gay marriage or something to try and clumbsily at modern, real world politics into it. Aside from me finding it hard to believe same sex couples would be seen as an issue in a universe as diverse as the GFFA, it'd just be a dull topic for a series that should be about escapism.
  15. TaradosGon Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    Shoehorn: to force to be included or admitted

    Some have said, and @Revanfan1 is not the only one to have stated such, that they do not want to see the inclusion of a gay character, if it's "forced."

    I believe Zachary Quinto - who himself is gay - even at one point was asked if he'd like to see the inclusion of a gay character in Star Trek, and he said he wasn't interested if it's "forced." (EDIT: He actually says "not for the sake of having one.")

    My question was merely what do they perceive to be its forced inclusion as opposed to a non-forced inclusion? In many cases the sexual orientation of a character is irrelevant to the plot, and sometimes not. For instance, in the HBO show Big Love the homosexuality of certain characters and their struggle with it as a perceived sin is a big part of the problems of those characters. But there are also the aforementioned instances of gay characters in which their homosexuality is merely an incidental trait of the character.

    I'm curious as to what a homosexual character done right/not forced would mean.
    Last edited by TaradosGon, May 14, 2014
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  16. Dark Lord Tarkas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2011
    star 5
    In my mind something that is presented as incidental is by definition not shoehorned. If it's not shoehorned to see a character romantically engaged with someone of the opposite gender in a passing way that has no impact on the plot - which is not at all rare - I'd think the same would apply if it happened to be someone of the same gender. The sexual orientation on display should never be the deciding factor in whether something is forced or shoehorned.
    The Shadow Emperor and Heero_Yuy like this.
  17. TaradosGon Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    These definitions are subjective.

    Quinto's rhetoric for instance implies a negative view that he's not interested in Star Trek pandering to the gay community by including a gay character for the sake of "hey, look, it's a gay character!"

    Personally, I see nothing wrong with that, and I find it odd since Star Trek is a franchise that's all about cooperation of individuals of different walks of life. But I can't really sit down and question Zachary Quinto about his view here, the best I can hope for is that someone that has similar views (that don't want to see a gay character, or some other character, represented "for the sake of it"/"because it's forced") explain their view, because with some kind of subjective definition, I'm not going to understand what is meant without concrete examples of what is meant by "forced." Telling me what is "not forced" doesn't clarify that question.

    But in regards to Star Wars (or any franchise really), if there is no compelling reason to include something, then it included merely for the sake of it, which I find perfectly acceptable. The decision to make all the main heroes non-white similarly also may be a decision made for the sake of broadening diversity where there was once little, or it could be a conscious decision to mirror social power hierarchies, just as I highly doubt it was any kind of accident that Lucas didn't count a single white male human among the Delegation of 2000, while they predominantly figured among the rest of the heroes and the villains, or who would become the villains in the OT, anyway.
    Last edited by TaradosGon, May 14, 2014
  18. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    Just to point out, the character of Oberyn Martell is bisexual, nor is it forced in anyway. He is bisexual because that is what his character required - he is a different person, from a different place, with a different set of values that is a direct contrast to everything represented by the Lannisters, Tywin in particular.
  19. Sgt Crowfield Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 27, 1999
    star 4
    Oh, thanks for explaining. I lived in the States for a few months back in '89 (I'm from Germany), but it was in a small town in the Midwest where the populace was pretty homogenous, anyway, and I obviously wasn't there long enough to notice this categorization.
    Last edited by Sgt Crowfield, May 14, 2014
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  20. deathraygun Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2014
    star 2
    I totally disagree with your source, and assertion of percentages. Sexuality is not a fluid trait, possibly for a very minor, insignificant few (less than 5%). Statistics are not hard to ascertain if it's genetic material we are working with, and if it's not, then you open the door to another concept entirely - that there's this "hidden" population of bi-sexuals is nonfactual. By your estimation, we would see a large representation of Muslim/Christian, Asian/White characters occupy the SW universe. That makes no sense to tailor the story to what actually exists. It's almost as ingenious as having different dialects presented in TCW's, I mean really, do we need Russian, Italian, Transylvanian inflections in our characters that exist in a galaxy far, far away? That always made zero sense to me. Present it in whatever country the language/dialect/subtitle that the show is being presented in. I wouldn't expect it to be filtered into every dialect just because that's a reflection of the real world.

    I'm in the ultra minority opinion here, but I see diversity in a concept of "diversity of thought", rather than diversity of skin/race/sex (gender is a preference). Why does diversity automatically equate to skin color or sexual orientation? Isn't that stereotyping?
    StrikerKOJ likes this.
  21. Heero_Yuy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 4
    . . . I don't think you understand what stereotyping means. I'm also not sure what point you're trying to make. Giving characters from different planets unique accents adds color to the galaxy. Having everyone speak the exact same regional dialect is actually less realistic, not more. And your Muslim/Christian argument is so silly it barely deserves the dignity of a response.

    I am curious as to why having a gay character in a SW series makes you uncomfortable?
  22. StrikerKOJ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2014
    star 2
    There is nothing "silly" about his Muslim/Christian argument. These groups of people exist in the "real world", in great numbers, yet we don't see these groups represented in the "fictional" world that is Star Wars. The argument I see for those calling for more "diversity" is that certain groups exist in the "real" world, (women, homosexuals, those with dark skin) and are not adequately represented in the "fictional" world. How is the (lack of) inclusion of the "real" world religions any different than the (lack of) inclusion of the "real" world skin colors or sexual orientations.

    I also don't get any impression that "gay"s make him uncomfortable. His ultimate point, which is one I agree with, is it is not a requirement of fiction to include an equal representation of all possible groups found in the "real" world.
  23. TaradosGon Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    The study I linked to was two fold: That when a survey is done as anonymously as possible, bigots are more vocal than they would be otherwise, and the number of people admitting to having same-sex attraction is higher.

    Bisexuality isn't like some mythical thing. There are indeed bisexuals. Everyone doesn't fall neatly into heterosexual or homosexual, there is the "LGBT" community after all.

    I don't dispute that there is a genetic component to homosexuality, but I don't think it's as easy as looking at the genetics of a kid and saying "yep, he's got the gay gene, your son is going to be gay." I do believe there are societal pressures that help govern sexuality as well, otherwise bisexuality wouldn't be a thing, if it all boiled down to a single gene that was either just on or off like a switch. Genetics are seldom that simple.

    Even the basic Punnett square kids learn when they first learn genetics breaks eye color down into something simple, like B = brown eye allele, b = blue eye allele

    and: Bb x Bb = 1/4 BB (brown); 1/2 Bb (brown); 1/4 bb (blue)

    which is a gross oversimplification as to how it actually works with several genes dictating eye color.

    I mention societal pressure because historically there have been cultures, like feudal Japan, where homosexual relationships were somewhat common between samurai lords and their squires (I forget the Japanese equivalent), in a practice called shudo. There was no religious opposition to homosexuality and buddhists of religious prominence would also engage in bisexual or homosexual relationships. And if the frequency of the "gay gene" is <5%, I can't imagine either scenario in which

    1. There was a homosexual dictatorship among the ruling military class
    2. Plenty of heterosexual men voluntarily engaged in homosexual acts that they were put off by

    And many of these individuals were not strict homosexuals. They had wives and concubines as well. They grew up in a society that did not preach strict monogamy or heterosexuality or shame people out of homosexuality (it's depicted in art as well).

    Other areas of the world like ancient Greece, also had an increased tolerance for homosexuality that you won't see in a place like the modern United States.

    But to go back to the genetic component. If it is genetic, then it is more comparable to something like skin color or possessing an epicanthal fold (what gives asiatic peoples their eye shape). It is not at all comparable to real world religious decisions. And so the comparison that "we don't see Muslims in Star Wars, and so we shouldn't see homosexual individuals either" is ridiculous.

    A better analogy would be to say "just because people of color exist in the real world doesn't mean they belong in Star Wars," in which case the prejudice is quite a bit more apparent.
    Last edited by TaradosGon, May 15, 2014
  24. Heero_Yuy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 4
    @StrikerKOJ

    Religion isn't a biological trait the way race or sexuality are. They're a result of where you were born and raised typically and there's no logical reason for Earth religions to exist in the GFFA. But then you both know that already and are deliberately bring obtuse. Besides, there IS religious diversity in the GFFA. Just religions that make sense for Star Wars.

    Conversely, there are a wide variety of planets with humans populating them, which makes a lot of sense that they'd be a variation on language, culture, and race.

    Also, no ones been saying it should be a requirement to have a gay character in Rebels. Literally no one has said, " If Ezra and Kanan don't make out every episode, I'm gonna walk!" That's just you trying to distort the issue. Really, the point we're trying to make is there's no reason they SHOULDN'T feature a gay or lesbean character. Especially in this day and age.
    Last edited by Heero_Yuy, May 15, 2014
  25. StrikerKOJ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2014
    star 2
    Don't mean to be arguing in place of another poster, but I still don't see where he states X or Y group "shouldn't" exist in the fictional universe. The fact that things exist in our "real" universe does not mean they must be included in the fake fictional universe. Simple as that. To try to take our real world understand of science and genetics, or our real world historical president for bi-sexual relationships, and insist that these be applied to a fake made up story is the issue. Can they be included? Sure, there is nothing preventing any writer from including any character in his/her story. Can they enhance the narrative? That is up to the skill and imagination of the writer, and the opinion of the reader. Is there anything inherently wrong, prejudiced, evil or untoward if a writer chooses not to represent a particular group? I submit no, and I still have not seen a compelling argument to the contrary.

    I don't see a lot of posters saying that these real world groups don't belong, or are bad, and shouldn't exist in the fictional universe because of racist or bigoted reasons; rather it is not a requirement that they MUST be represented in the fictional (read: fake, made up, imagined, make believe) universe because they exist in our "real" universe.

    I completely understand an individual wanting their "group" represented in the fiction that they enjoy. There is nothing bad about wanting more of what you like, and there is no reason to assume that inclusion or exclusion of those wants will make for a better or worse story. But to push the agenda that the writers must be prejudiced, racist, bigot, mean spirited, unfair, or whatever negative adjective you choose simply because the story that they wrote (not the story that you wrote) did not include whatever you would have liked for them to include, is tiresome.

    **edit to respond to heero**

    Of course religion is a choice. I intentionally left that part out because it ultimately has no baring one way or the other on a work of fiction (where anything can happen). Just as the writer can choose what real world issues and groups they wish to include in their work of fiction.

    I recognize that my significant amount text it may seem like I am implying that someone is insisting X group be included. Forgive me, as that was not my intention, and I know that is not the case. This was more in response to the general issue of "diversity" being discussed in this topic and others on these boards, and the impressions I personally have been getting from those who are less than satisfied with the current and future cast of characters.
    Last edited by StrikerKOJ, May 15, 2014