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Lit Ignorance is Bias: The Diversity Manifesto

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

  1. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Pretty bold to proclaim one fan group more relevent than another. I would imagine that people who don't share yours(or my) views on this issue don't even feel very comfortable posting in this thread because it is very one sided. I also think it very bold to proclaim that the average Star Wars fan is ready for making a main character homosexual.

    I would presume 'us' to be the vocal minority, not the oppressed majority.

    A lot of people feel like Star Wars should not be tackling this type of real world social issue because it takes away from the escapism. If you go flip through the LOTF Revelation reviews you will see that comment a lot. Reviews on including Beviin & Medrit were very mixed.

    I'm just trying to be realistic here by putting myself in Del Rey's shoes. There is still a pretty significant social stigma attached to this, as unfair as that may be. Del Rey is going to be looking at making money not breaking down barriers.

    Lets put it this way Coop, your no more than one anonymous poll away from getting wider feedback if you wish to take another step.

    @ Mechalich - Darth Maul is now half human as well thanks to TCW I believe;)
     
  2. Zorrixor

    Zorrixor Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Maul is half human?

    So that's how Maulkiller can work!
     
  3. Random Comments

    Random Comments Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2012
    I've heard nothing about Maul being half-human, unless this comes from season 5.
     
  4. Esg

    Esg Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    His mom was
     
  5. Random Comments

    Random Comments Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2012
    I've got to agree with Mechalich that Allana being homosexual wouldn't be a good thing for the character. And as to inter-species child production, we wouldn't want this to turn into Star Trek, where everyone is "half human, half Vulcan" or something. (I actually like Star Trek, too). That would be my worry with Cade and Delilah.
     
  6. Random Comments

    Random Comments Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2012
    When was this established?
     
  7. Ulicus

    Ulicus Lapsed Moderator star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2005
    [face_laugh] It's like the Eighth Doctor movie all over again.
     
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  8. Random Comments

    Random Comments Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2012
    If we're going to be on a tangent, I'm still in the 60's era Doctors
     
  9. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
    One, I claimed none of those things. I'm not comparing SOS to "us", I'm comparing it to the overall SWEU audience (which I said right off the bat was just speculation), and I stand by my comparison.
    Two, I totally agree with that - the point of contention here appears to be whether the bulk of "voiceless" readers out there would be genuinely uncomfortable with gay Allana (I don't think so), or if they're just indifferent to diversity as a concern (I think so). Though on the subject of this thread being forbiddingly one-sided, you have a point, but I'd invite you to take a look at the early days of Beating a Dead Eopie (indeed, the title alone) to see what this conversation used to be like around here.
    Three, and I believe I've said this before, the existence of gay people is only a "real world social issue" to people who have a problem with them. Per the title of this thread, choosing to have zero gay characters is not avoiding an issue anymore than choosing to have zero characters of color is.
    Again, I'm making no claims regarding the universality of my opinions. Even if a JC poll was 90% against gay Allana, the position I took in the first place was that the JC is not all fans.
     
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  10. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    For the record, Darth Maul is not half-human. He's Dathomirian, which is a very strange hybrid species showing an extraordinary degree of sexual dimorphism. Dathomirians originated in a Force-assisted Human-Zabrak pairing, males in the species overwhelmingly retain Zabrak appearance and traits, females appear more human externally. Regardless Maul, like Ventress and Savage Oppress is presumably pure-blooded Dathomirian, having had two hybrid parents (his mother, at least, is firmly established as being Dathomirian in Darth Plaigeus). The whole situation regarding the Dathomirians is complex, messy and doesn't make a lot of intuitive sense. It fits very clearly into my bit about why going crazy for hybridization is a bad idea.
     
  11. Random Comments

    Random Comments Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2012
    Thank you. I was wondering why everyone said he was half-human.
    And you're right about the mother. She was Dathomirian, not human. Angry growling at confusing people.
     
  12. Zorrixor

    Zorrixor Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 8, 2004
    You know, this idea of making Allana gay indirectly raises an interesting point:

    When she grows up, if she's straight then Del Rey are almost guaranteed to just treat her as the future Queen Mother, with her relationships and future lineage something that will heavily define her character, in the exact same way as they've reduced Jaina's character to the IWoD (just look at the current "Will she or won't she?" discussions in the SotJ threads), only in this case it would be the HWoD.

    In contrast, while it's undeniable that being gay would define her character when it comes to Hapan court politics, with Hapans questioning where the future heir will come from, whether the monarchy is at a dead end, etc, in a strange way, it would liberate her character from the IWoD stereotyping that has haunted Jaina's character for years by allowing Allana and stand up and tell people to focus on what she's actually doing, not whether or not she'll one day have kids.

    From that perspective, either way she's doomed one way or another to being defined by her sexuality due to her role as the future monarch. (And isn't it noticeable that everyone obsesses over Jaina as the IWoD, but Ben's character isn't defined by one day being the JPoD.)
     
  13. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Beyond which, there is cloning technology in this universe, and in any event, "gay" is not synonymous with "barren". :p
     
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  14. CeiranHarmony

    CeiranHarmony Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 10, 2004
    Hapans probably will have Allana father a kid with a man, then live her lesbian life however she wants. it happens in the real world often enough folks.

    Still, interesting possibilities indeed. hmm.
     
  15. Random Comments

    Random Comments Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2012
    How likely is it that Del-Rey would be willing to do this, though?


    This discussion is kind of scary. Allana's nine right now.
     
  16. CeiranHarmony

    CeiranHarmony Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 10, 2004
    scary? we are not talking her 9 year old self being a lesbian.. are we? [face_worried]
     
  17. Random Comments

    Random Comments Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2012
    We're discussing the future... But that's the future.
    I'm saying its a little early for this discussion. Allana doesn't know what a lesbian even is...as FotJ established.
     
  18. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Let's be honest; they could announce tomorrow than SotJ takes place after a twenty-year gap. There is no "right now" where character ages are concerned.
     
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  19. beccatoria

    beccatoria Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2006
    I dunno, dude, I think that's more your perception of how you're afraid it'd be handled than how it must be handled.

    If we're talking about anything other than a minor character, "it's incidental," really isn't an option, because their love lives won't be incidental. So the only choice, really, is whether you're going to treat the fact it's a gay romance as incidental or whether you're going to use it as part of the plot - either by mirroring the real world's issues, or by creating new ones. And while I'm not inherently against it, mirroring real world issues does often lead to "a very special episode of..." syndrome. So let's table that option for a moment.

    Part of why I like this idea is that Allana has a great deal of flexibility in how this could be handled. The matriarchal culture she comes from could easily be characterised as being utterly unconcerned with lesbianism as a moral issue, and therefore any romance could be written with her lover's gender as incidental. Yes, her reproductive status matters because she's the Queen, but that only becomes as much of an issue as you want it to be; it could even be a chance to normalise the subject by treating it without a lot of import. The options are enormously broad - if Hapes has a tradition of accepting homosexuality without qualm, they might equally have a tradition of respect for adoption on a par with biological relationships; we already know that the crown doesn't descend along strictly biological lines. If they do care about biology, there's no reason Allana can't have children - her own status as heir didn't seem to be the least bit threatened by her illegitimacy by real world standards; people mostly seemed to want her father's identity for political leverage and curiosity. If you wanted to be truly scifi or possibly mythic, there's even magic gene splicing cloning science.

    On the other hand, Allana's position as a ruler, and as ruler of a culture that goes against our expectations with regards to gender roles, could be an opportunity to actually make use of this aspect of her character to tell interesting stories about her that could not otherwise be told, and those reasons could be internal to the universe, not "ripped from our headlines". Does Hapes have set rules for a female consort? Hapes already has the fairly unusual law of succession in that Isolder's wife became the ruler, despite having no biological tie to the ruling house. Would the female consort of a ruling queen be able to succeed her wife to the throne? What would that do to the political structure around Allana's throne and those seeking to manipulate or destroy it? What if Allana taking a wife was seen by male citizens of Hapes as a message of their irrelevance and it fueled rebellions in the name of male equality? If Allana's children did have a biological father with whom she was not romantically involved, what kind of person might that be? For all that it could be written like a terrible soap, it could also be an opportunity to create a unique and interesting character.

    ETA: As Zorrixor notes, the opposite option could also be raised - what if Allana chooses not to have children and this sparks ideas about the future of the monarchy and Allana's role within it. If Hapes does turn out to be homophobic, while it's skirting fairly close to real world issues, it could still be for very tonally different reasons than our world.

    One thing I always hear said about things like this, is that it has to feel organic to the plot. I always feel a little suspicious about that, to be honest, because I feel it sways towards the whole "ignorance is bias" idea, that if you have to justify a character being "not default" then "default" is just going to get more entrenched. But I get the idea that if it is more organic to the plot, it's less likely to be sensationalist, plus it's always nice when characters' traits play into their stories. And...I guess that's why I'm so in favour of the idea.

    Sure, it could be written appallingly, and there are probably more ways it could go wrong than most other stories. But if it doesn't go wrong, Allana is a far better prospect for there being a plot-based reason for her to be gay, because the same stories couldn't be told otherwise, with that reason being genuinely rooted in Star Wars universe, not outside it, than pretty much any other character I can think of.

    Oh, come on, dude, that's a weak piece of diversion. THINK OF THE CHILDREN! :p

    We're talking about the future, it's speculation, it's fun. Unless you think there's something inherently unwholesome about imagining a little girl growing up to be gay. In which case, will we institute a similar rule about ~never thinking~ about the fact that Jaina Solo's son is going to have to grow up, get married, and spawn Roan? Will we have to pretend we don't know about Marasiah once Roan is born in case we ~accidentally realise a grown up version of him will have sex~?

    Besides, I think most nine year olds probably know what a lesbian is, even if they don't know whether or not they're going to grow up to be one.
     
  20. Zorrixor

    Zorrixor Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 8, 2004
    That idea would be awesome.

    No idea how it'd square with the beloved queen of the White Throne uniting the galaxy, but I'll wave silly prophecies on the grounds that it'd be awesome. :p
     
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  21. CaptainPeabody

    CaptainPeabody Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Imagining Star Wars trying to do gender issues is bringing back to me all the horrible memories of those God-forsaken episodes where Star Trek tried to do gender issues...and Star Trek at least had a long history of contemporary social and political commentary behind it. The only socio-political relevance Star Wars ever had was to the Roman Republic, the American Civil War, and the Nixon administration--and frankly, that's how it should stay.

    I accept my minority status with aplomb.
     
  22. beccatoria

    beccatoria Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2006
    There's a difference between trying to be specifically topical and acknowledging the fact that society breaks down into groups, along various lines of identification, and that the relationships, alliances and conflicts that arise between them are often a source of great and wonderful drama.
     
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  23. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 6, 2007
    I don't have the sources handy but I don't know if I agree with the take of the Wookieepedia. According to it there seems to have been a retcon involving the human witches of Dathomir mating with Zabraks that equals a Dathomirian.

    If that is the case then Maul is one quarter Human. Of course prior to TCW Nightsisters were human thus the assumption that many, including myself have made. Again, I'd like to look at the sources myself but it seems as though TCW is layering its silly right now :p

    I don't know that I would agree with this. I think it is still a real problem that gay or lesbian people have to deal with. They don't have a problem with themselves but they do have to deal, at times, with people and parts of society that don't accept them. The United States for instance has an entire politicial party, that garners roughly 50 percent of the vote, that is against legal gay marriage. Thus I say "real world social issue". Just like women gaining acceptance into exlcusive highbrow US golf clubs is a "real world social issue".

    You can say its only an issue for people who have a problem with this or that minority or group, but in reality those problems are then thrust onto those minority groups as well. Would the issue go away if everyone magically accepted these minority groups as they should? Absolutly, but I dont see that happening anytime soon.

    I'm guessing that its more that you don't like my terminology than anything else. I don't think we disagree what so ever on the need for society to change.
     
  24. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
    I'm sure you don't think I disagree that being gay can be challenging right now, so yeah, I think we're just having a terminology problem. To my ear, you've now defined "real-world social issue" in two different ways. Here you seem to be using it to mean any human problem that exists in reality, which of course includes a lot of things that have always been part of Star Wars. Originally, though, you were saying that many people don't want "real-world social issues" in their escapist fiction, which Is iezed on because "social issue" was another way of saying "controversy" - saying that people don't want real political viewpoints, as they see them, injected into SW books. So I would more accurately say that gays are only controversial to those who have a problem with them; to everyone else, they're simply a reality.

    Ironically, the way I see it, the best way to include controversial members of society in speculative fiction is precisely to treat them as uncontroversial. Star Trek didn't put Uhura in there as an excuse to produce stories about desegregation, it did it to show that no one gave a crap - and in doing so, made an implicit comment on the matter, just like SW has been doing with gays, but in the other direction.
     
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  25. Dunc T'racen

    Dunc T'racen Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 11, 2000
    I think Hapes may actually be the ideal place for this plotline, and Allana herself is the example. She is heir because she's her mother's daughter, full stop. Who fathered her is not an issue, as far as Hapes as a whole is concerned. (Court politicking and trust issues aside - which is why Tenel Ka went for Jacen in the first place - is presented as nothing more than court politicking not medieval MATTERS OF STATE.) It probably mattered for Allana's grandparents, since the succession was through Isolder, but Tenel Ka having a kid out of wedlock is presented as no big deal. We have no implication that this isn't something common in Hapan society, particularly if the royalty is doing it with minimal backlash. Why should it be any different for Allana, if she turned out to be a lesbian? So the court intrigue is the ladies pursuing her for love, with the guys all rushing to contribute to the royal sperm bank just in case.

    For Hapes, it doesn't matter who fathers Allana's kid(s,) any more than it mattered who fathered Allana herself. It doesn't impact the succession, because the succession is through her.

    It's only a big issue if they make it a big issue, and I don't think they really need to. Love stories are love stories, no matter the plumbing involved. But 'because she needs to have kids' is a lousy reason, particularly for what we've seen of Hapes. Being into other women doesn't stop ladies from ovulating or wanting kids, and I'm willing to bet a very matriarchal society has this issue all wrapped up. (So to speak.)
     
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