At New York Comic Con last weekend, the Q&A for a panel on LGBT representation in comic books included a question about Romani representation. Writer Peter David responded with a story about a Romanian tour guide telling him that Romani parents break their children's legs to make them better beggars. He retold the story on his blog, saying further, "Apparently the only thing that matters is the sensitivities of activists, and if you take issue with actions that the people they represent have taken, then clearly there is something wrong with you." [more inside]
Today, I bring you a small handful of stories about representation mattering to people. Previously, a story about #toylikeme mattering to those with disabilities. About a black man cosplaying Batman mattering to a fellow-cosplaying child. About finally seeing yourself mattering to inventors of worlds. And a short note about a common experience of mattering in airports to young girls.
In China: Chinese dialects fight for survival. Outside China: Meet the Hong Kong academics fighting to safeguard the Cantonese language (Hong Kong); Taiwanese: a doomed language? (Taiwan); Do you speak Singlish? || The Death of Dialects in Singapore (Singapore); Penang Hokkien will be ‘dead’ in 40 years if people stop using it (Malaysia) [more inside]
10-year-old Emma had never had a doll that looked like her, until A Step Ahead Prosthetics made her dream come true in the weepiest video (alternate YT link) you will watch today. [more inside]
Courtney E. Smith writes on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's woman problem: out of 312 inductees, only 37 are women (or bands with women). No one inducted as an executive, manager, or producer is a woman. [more inside]
The first time I saw her she wasn’t even skating. I was flipping through the handful of channels our TV could pick up with its rabbit-ear antenna when I glimpsed her waving from the tallest podium at the 1991 World Figure Skating Championships, dazzling in rhinestone-studded hot magenta, with her high hair-sprayed bangs and million-watt smile. She’s Asian, I thought. There’s an Asian girl on television, and everyone is cheering for her. - What I Learned From Kristi Yamaguchi by Nicole Chung
An Open Letter To Supergirl Stars Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh, From An Adoptive Mom: "But it’s our oldest daughter that has gained the most from Supergirl. She identifies strongly with Kara Danvers. Like Kara, our girl has long blonde hair; she wears glasses; she was adopted. And just as Kara does, our girl misses her first family, and she struggles with feeling alien at times." (Spoilers for season 1 of the CBS TV series Supergirl.) [more inside]
JK Rowling has been accused of appropriating the “living tradition of a marginalized people” by writing about the Navajo legend of the skinwalker in new story. [The Guardian] [more inside]
How do you quantify the effects of things that don't happen to you? "The whole point of living in a culture is that much of the labor of perception and judgment is done for you, spread through media, and absorbed through an imperceptible process that has no single author." (previously; via)
What my favourite historical fiction has done for me, besides make me happy in the way that good books do, is teach me more about justice, and silence, and perspective. These are the questions I want to spend my time examining and writing about. The limits placed on many women’s lives are the very reason they are conveniently written out of the dominant historical narrative, in a circular argument as old as misogyny itself: “Women do not appear in the record because they didn’t do anything of note, and they didn’t do anything of note because they don’t appear in the record.”
"I told her I was sick of reading about white boys and dogs" In the past year, Philadelphia native Marley Dias has successfully written a proposal for (and received) a Disney Friends for Change grant, served food to orphans in Ghana and recently launched a book club. Dias is 11 years old. Dias' latest social action project is the "#1000BlackGirlBooks" book drive. Frustrated with many of the books she's assigned in school, she confessed to her mother during dinner one night that she was unhappy with how monochromatic so many stories felt.
To say that Asians cannot be superheroes because of “Asian values” erases traditional and contemporary Asian superheroes, assumes all Asians are the same, and echoes a long history of racist oppression. It tells Asians that we can only be part of someone else’s story, and never make our own stories. Having Asian superheroes is a way of changing all that.In response to their compatriot Umapagan Ampikaipakan's New York Times piece about the "oxymoron of Asian superheros", fellow Malaysian writers Amanda Ng Yann Chwen and Louise Tan speak of the importance of having relatable role models in fiction.
"There's an intimacy to live performance that's removed through the medium of television, and in-studio audiences help restore it. After soaring, cathartic numbers, we need applause breaks. The collective gasp of appreciation when an impressive set piece dazzles, or the murmur of amazement when a section of choreography transfixes are parts of the lived language of musical theater. If you want to make a movie, make a movie. If you want to put on a show, don't play to an empty house." [more inside]
"Jane the Virgin is doing some of the most serious, most valuable work I’ve seen in a long time, and that work is rooted in a radically frank depiction of new motherhood." Links may contain spoilers, but also this show is very silly so knowing some things that happen will probably not ruin your enjoyment of the rest of it [more inside]
Media watchdog and advocacy group GLAAD (the acronym doesn't stand for anything anymore) has released the 2015-2016 edition of its Where We Are On TV Report, breaking down the overall diversity of main and recurring characters on broadcast, cable, and (for the first time) streaming scripted television shows. [more inside]
Why Don't Queer Butch Women Exist in Games? Meanwhile, Julie Compton wonders Why Hollywood Can't Get with Butch Women. And Jack Halberstam asks, Is the Butch Back?
"First of all, in terms of history I’d like to say the vast majority of the medieval world as we think of it was all kinds of people with various shades of brown skin moving back and forth across borders. Yes, there were people in remote little areas who might have never encountered anyone who looked any different than themselves, but overall there was a lot of movement and a lot of contact and a lot of exchange of ideas, crossing transcultural, trans-religious, trans-ethnic zones." -- Arthur Chu and David Perry talk about The Inaccuracy Of “Historical Accuracy” In Gaming And Media.
Dr. Prescod-Weinstein talks about her inspiration, teaching herself what she needed to know, how she keeps balance in her life, and being one of 89 black women with a physics Ph.D., and the only theoretical physicist. [more inside]
the "lolita" covers. Tubmlr user gowns (reposted by Hark! A Vagrant's Kate Beaton) examines the subject matter, history, and implications of official book covers for Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 Lolita. (some NSFW book images) [more inside]
Julie Dillion is an award winning science fiction and fantasy artist in a field that rarely nominates women. One of the themes of her work is diversity. And yes, she's up for the Best Professional Artist Hugo again this year.
A Dream Undone: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act.
‘Steven Universe’ and the Shape of Masculinity to Come (includes spoilers) [more inside]
I am just about the biggest advocate for “representation matters” there is, but as a white woman I never really felt it applied to me all that much. Watching Fury Road, I realized how wrong I was. I’ve been this way my entire life and I’ve never felt “handicapped.” I’m disabled, yes – there’s shit I just can’t do, but an invalid I am not. For the most part I’ve always approached life with a “figure out how to do it and just get it done” attitude; I am loathe to admit I can’t do anything and I never give up without exhausting all the possibilities available to me. Watching Fury Road, I felt like I was watching my own struggle brought to life (albeit in a very fantastical setting), and I don’t think I ever realized how truly profound that could be for me.Laura Vaugh talks about her response to seeing a kick-ass woman with the same disability as her on the silver screen. [more inside]
In the video, Michelle Rodriguez offers a few choice words on diversity in casting: “Stop stealing white superheroes.” It caused a bit of an uproar in some circles, and Michelle made a video clarifying her statements. But first, let’s address the premise itself. Are all of these superheroes, “originally” white, whose races are being changed, being stolen?
With WrestleMania 31 mere hours away, let's talk about representation in pro wrestling. And really, lessons that apply for any form of entertainment.
If you don’t use positive representation to speak to new fans who look different, who act different, who have new ideas, you’ll never have new fans at all.If You Can't See It, You Can't Be It: The Importance of Representation in Modern Day Wrestling [more inside]
Women Characters Redesigned by Women SFF Artists
As I said, I’m going to be discussing this at length in my next post. For now, I’m going to give you a flood of examples of women characters in fantasy art — many infamous for being depictions unwelcoming to women — that have been redesigned by the professional artists in the Women in Fantasy Illustration group. Each woman’s point of view is different, and the redesigns reveal what is most important to that woman, whether it’s realistic body armor, or it’s making sure the woman has a narrative and agency of her own. There is no one right way to depict a woman character, and it is not as simple as "cover her up more" because, as you'll see, some of these redesigns are sexier than the original. And I have found through my own work that you CAN absolutely have a single depiction of a character that is sexy and empowering to all genders. As I said, more on that next post.[more inside]
I Am Puerto Rican "The Sparrow, a novel by Mary Doria Russell, has as its protagonist Father Emilio Sandoz, a brilliant Puerto Rican linguist who is of Taino and Spanish background. The Sparrow is one of my all-time favorite books, and Emilio Sandoz is one of my favorite characters, and one with whom I identify closely. Not to take away from the novel, which I think tells an incredible story, but the fact that the portion of the novel that takes place on Earth takes place in Puerto Rico, and that the main character is Puerto Rican is part of why I love it so much. Finally, someone who looks like me."
I’ve been reading for, it feels like, as long as I have had sentience and consciousness, and it has taken me my entire life to meet someone in a book who looked like me and felt the same way I do and has struggled with some of the things I have struggled with, and is still loved.Kaye Toal at Buzzfeed on finally meeting a fat girl in young adult fiction, at the age of 23. Contains spoilers for Eleanor and Park and Harry Potter.
Today, March 6, is Blackout Day, "a day where black people post, share, reblog, like, and distribute other photos of black people on social media. This includes Tumblr, Instagram, the petri dish known as Facebook, Vine, Twitter, and any other site that allows you to share photos." (FAQ, official master post)
"Hello! I am going to answer your question, and then I am going to talk a little bit about GENDER IN COMEDY…" [more inside]
Bret Victor talks about media, abstraction, and the richness (and neglect) of human experience (slvimeo) [more inside]
Tacoma Art Museum has just opened an entirely new wing devoted to a single collection of Western American art [depicting Native Americans and created by Europeans and Euro-Americans]. Because the work presented is culturally problematic, the museum has taken the unusual step of commissioning a handful of Native American people to write labels responding to the art. What results in the galleries can be frustrating, but it also breaks open the complexity of what's really going on both in the art and in the institution of the museum in 2014.How Tacoma Art Museum Criticizes a Collection Without Angering the Donors, by Jen Graves.
After seven years of litigation, the New York Civil Liberties Union has announced a settlement in Hurrell-Harring v. New York, which will reform the way in which low income criminal defendants are represented in court. [more inside]
"The Harvey/Renee Index doesn’t distinguish between the different types of Renees. Any character who can be identified with one or more groups that are currently marginalized based on race, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender is a Renee. Anyone who is white, non-Hispanic, cisgender, straight, and male is a Harvey." -- Diversity in the Big Two's superhero comics being a perennial hot topic, Comics Alliance comes up with a novel way to quickly establish a diversity baseline: the Harvey/Renee index. (Named of course for Gotham's greatest cops Harvey Bullock and Renee Montoya.)
Debo Adegbile was selected by President Obama to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The Senate, aided and abetted by seven Democratic senators, killed his nomination. Why? Because he’s fought for civil rights.
A Conservative History of the United States - Jack Hitt for New Yorker's Shouts & Murmurs, pieces together America's storied history from quotes by Rick Perry, Dick Armey, Mike Huckabee, Dan Quayle and more.
See What You Think. Information Is Beautiful.
"[Jax de Leon's] last project as a student was a graphic representation of every note, word, instrument and voice from Come on, Feel the Illinoise! by Sufjan Stevens." Read an interview with him here.
rsspect and AfroSpear -- both bringing more Black voices of the blogosphere to our attention. Rsspect is a growing collection of feeds, and AfroSpear a group blog. The loss of Steve Gilliard of the NewsBlog this week has caused many to rightly question why more minority voices aren't as visible or prominent online.
Being and Seeming: the Technology of Representation an essay by novelist Richard Powers
Magic Cube 4D [note: java]
REbranding a few famous sites to more honestly represent the true nature of the sites.
Nuclear war on film The Los Angeles Times [registration required] reviews the potrayal of nuclear war in the movies.