posts tagged "media representation"
Twelve months of disgraceful discrimination.
Dec. 30 2012
January. It is reported that on average a measly two out of ten speakers on the BBC’s Today programme are women. (Later in the year, John Humphrys is reduced to asking a man to “imagine” he is a woman in an all-male panel on breast cancer.)
February. The US radio-show host Rush Limbaugh calls the student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” for speaking in favour of contraceptive coverage in health insurance plans. But at least he finally provides a decisive answer to the question: “How much of a tool do you have to be to make 67 firms pledge never to advertise on your show again?”
March. The infamous Uni Lad website returns after a brief hiatus and promptly begins spewing the same misogynistic vitriol about “smashing wenches”. (Minus its previous advice that low rape reporting rates represent “good odds”. So that’s better.)
April. The Sunday Times TV critic and noted Adonis A A Gill claims that the classicist Mary Beard is “too ugly for TV” and “should be kept away from cameras”. She gently points out that he has accidentally “mistaken prejudice for being witty”.
May. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Gaining Weight While Pregnant Shocker. The media and thousands of fans lambast the Indian actress for failing to shed the extra pounds immediately post-partum. Special mention to those who accused her of “betraying her country”.
June. Two issues of Now magazine appear side by side on newsagents’ shelves. One reports that the model Abbey Clancy is “dangerously thin” and girls are starving themselves to look like her. The other offers diet tips to get her figure. Meanwhile, the European Commission launches a breathtakingly patronising video aimed at encouraging women into science: a masterpiece of dancing and giggling, with a pink background and make-up montages.
July. The blogger Anita Sarkeesian faces a viral hate campaign after merely proposing research into the tropes of women in video games. One geek feels so strongly that there is no problem with the portrayal of women in the medium that he creates an online game where players can punch Sarkeesian in the face.
August. In the US, the Republican science enthusiast Todd Akin proclaims that women’s bodies are magically able to ward off pregnancy in cases of “legitimate” rape. (To be fair, his research efforts were hampered because Mitt Romney had the binder full of women that day.)
September. “No More Page Three” campaigners are stunned into humiliated silence when the former Sun deputy editor Neil Wallis stymies them with the shock revelation that there are other problems in the world. Admirably, the Sun covers these important issues on page two, which incidentally doubles as the crucial buffer zone between the outraged anti-Jimmy Savile campaign on the front page and the teenage tits on page three.
October. Netmums pronounces feminism dead, on the somewhat amusing basis that only one in seven women self-defines as a feminist – giving it a nationwide “membership” numbering just under 4.5 million … more than ten times that of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties combined.
November. PlayStation decides it’s a great idea to advertise its new Vita console using a picture of a woman with two sets of breasts and no head. I’ll just repeat that one. They advertise it using a picture of a woman. With two sets of breasts. And no head.
December. Just as I’m worrying that nobody will be noteworthily sexist enough in the first few days of December to meet my deadline, FHM rides to my rescue in spectacular style with its astounding, assault-normalising advice that readers shouldn’t borrow socks from their girlfriend/mother/victim. Cheers, FHM! Job done.
Save Me Not Second Base
As Breast Cancer Awareness Month draws to a close I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and a lot of waffling over whether I should get involved with a debatable issue. But one of the things you learn in the School of Humanities is that rhetoric is open for critique.
Go on. Save the boobies. Save the tatas. Save second base. Raise money. Sell wristbands. Base entire campaigns around a secondary, sexualized sex characteristic used pars pro toto for womanhood. You’ll get away with it.
But first save the people they’re attached to.
The thing that sucks about Girls and Seinfeld and Sex and the City and every other TV show like them isn’t that they don’t include strong characters focusing on the problems facing blacks and Latinos in America today. The thing that sucks about those shows is that millions of black people look at them and can relate on so many levels to Hannah Horvath and Charlotte York and George Costanza, and yet those characters never look like us. The guys begging for money look like us. The mad black chicks telling white ladies to stay away from their families look like us. Always a gangster, never a rich kid whose parents are both college professors. After a while, the disparity between our affinity for these shows and their lack of affinity towards us puts reality into stark relief: When we look at Lena Dunham and Jerry Seinfeld, we see people with whom we have a lot in common. When they look at us, they see strangers.
I honestly can’t think of anything to say right now, other than this is absolutely heartbreaking and everyone needs to see it.
reblogging again because it’s been a while since i’ve seen this on my dash.
Oh this hurts my heart
Rise dark girls.
This is so heartbreaking.
Okay.. seriously though I have a very reddish complexion, yes I’m white but when I was younger and even now I get made fun of for how red my skin always is but do you see me making a pity video? Hell no, build a bridge and get over it…
Okay, for one, this was not about you. This was not about you. This was not about you.
As a white woman, you experience absolutely no oppression due to the color of your skin, but particularly not for the shade of your skin. This was not even about white women, so sit your ass down. This was about Black women, and colorism applies with communities of color - particularly affecting women of color.
Colorism has tangible effects on darker skinned Black women - ranging from damaging self-esteem to earning less money. So seriously, don’t comment on something and compare it to your own life when you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.
oh my god i’m choking at the red skin comment… i have that problem too but the last time i checked that wasn’t linked to hundreds of years of racism and oppression, i’m just white as hell!
Was she going to slap you because you never in any way made him gay in the actual books, taking zero risks/doing absolutely nothing for gay characters in literature, and only announcing your “authorial intent” afterwards for a cheap shot at looking like an ~ally~
Gay people are just normal people. We are not told about any of the Hogwarts professors love lives, other than Snape, and it would be completely out of character for Dumbledore to walk around telling everyone about his sexuality.
Did you want her to make him dress in glittery platform boots, a crop top, and decorate his office in rainbow flags to make it more obvious for you? Would that be enough of a stereotype to appease you people? Or what? Please tell me. I’d like to know how you think a gay character is supposed to be portrayed.
And did you miss the Grindelwald chapters in the ‘actual books’? Or was that also not obvious enough for you? Did Dumbledore need to whisper “always” wistfully in order for you to connect that he had romantic feelings for Grindelwald? Maybe you are American and need them to gaze longingly into each others eyes with awkward close ups of their fingers almost grazing each other that Hollywood thinks means ‘true love’.
It didn’t fit into his relationship to Harry to ever say “I’m gay”, and so it was not stated explicitly (you might have noticed the book was told from Harry Potter’s perspective).
The point is though, that he is a homosexual, well respected, powerful, and very loved wizard- and his sexuality doesn’t matter because no one else thinks it matters. a.k.a. no one care that he loves men, and that is wonderful.
I really like what she’s wearing, as I do with a lot of the pictures I see on my dash. But I find myself feeling more and more conflicted reblogging these headless (usually at least eyeless) women. Tumblr feels obligated to edit images so that women are faceless and the sole focus of the image is their bodies. If I was optimistic I’d hope that people are simply doing it in an effort to draw attention to the clothes, but I’m not even mildly optimistic so I don’t think that’s the case. I see these crops that are just an ass and thighs or just a torso or everything but a face, and I feel pretty safe in assuming that it’s just really lazy objectification. While the objectification and the dismemberment is clearly the biggest issue, the lesser issue of how fucking rude it is to take someone’s art and mutilate it to redraw the focus for such a shitty reason is also frustrating. You can debate the artistic quality of the images all you like, but you still have to agree that taking somebody’s work (and in the case of the model, their face) and cutting it up to suit your disengaged idea of sexy is obviously wrong. To be clear, when I say ‘disengaged’ I mean not wanting to see a woman’s eyes, and by association not wanting her to be a person. Wanting her to be a thing, merely the sum of her physical parts without the one physical part that seems so personal. Blank faces aren’t enough, they have to have no faces? You can’t look and think “she’s hot”, you have to think “that body is hot”? This went on longer than I’d planned, so I’ll just cut it off here and share her fucking face.
The picture I’m reblogging is some woman’s body as edited by kinky-little-kitty for Tumblr. The picture I’ve uploaded is Lara Stone by Mario Sorrenti for Vogue Japan.
Because those very-thin models in the magazines or catwalks — even the ones who may struggle with eating disorders, as we are so quick to accuse — are real. Morbidly obese women are real. Trans women are real. Women who curse, who eat with their mouth open, who dress and act in what you perceive as a “masculine” way are real. Laughing at your jokes and knowing how to make a pot roast do not suddenly transform a woman from Pinocchio-esque facsimile into a living, breathing human overnight.
Welcome to: If Male Superhero Costumes were Designed Like Female Superhero Costumes!
Aaaaa I dunno. I got tired of guys having no idea why girls find female superhero’s costumes kinda sexist, so I, um, made this?
My main goals were: 1) Make it so the first thing you think of when you look at them is sex, whether you want to or not. 2) make it so that any male human who looks at this feels really uncomfortable. 3) make it funny, because, well, it’s kinda hilarious really.
Not trying to start a war here, just wanted to poke a bit of fun.
So, here you go menfolk, welcome to being a girl who likes comics.
“Empowered” and “sexy” are not universally synonymous. That a woman is not a sex kitten does not mean that she’s any less comfortable or empowered or any of that stuff. See above, re: not a homogenous demographic. Stop making sexiness a universal demand. Let some characters be unsexy. And for f*ck’s sake, please, please stop drawing women who are injured, or dead, or being tortured, or punching bad guys, in sex-kitten pin-up poses. That is bad visual storytelling, and it is INCREDIBLY creepy. Let women be heroes for the sake of heroism. Women don’t have to be damaged or traumatized to be strong, or to want to make a difference. Corollary: Dropping rape into a backstory is not a panacea for making a female character complex and gritty.
Imagine you have a daughter. Imagine the kind of women you’d like her to want to grow up to be. Write them. Write women you’d want to be friends — really good friends — with. Write women you’d get in arguments with. Write women you’d be legitimately scared of. Write women like your mom, like your aunts, like your wife, like your friends, like your nieces and nephews and daughters and bosses and friends. We are not aliens… This, too, goes back to “doing things.” A lot of the time, male characters act, and female characters are acted upon. Let female characters make difficult choices — and sometimes choose wrong — and have struggles and the same real victories. Because without those things, they’re not characters; they’re just window dressing.
Part 3: “From Snow White to Brave: the evolution of the Action Princess”
To see Part 2 of excerpts/my discussion of this article by Jaclyn Friedman, click here.
“The tragedy of Brave, however, is that while it’s clear that our new Snow White is an actioned-up old-school princess, Merida is a princessed-out action hero. Brave producer Katherine Sarafian made no bones about this in a recent interview on NPR, saying:
“We tried making her the blacksmith’s daughter and the milkmaid in various things … There’s no stakes in the story for us that way. We wanted to show real stakes in the story where, you know, the peace of the kingdom and the traditions are all at stake.”
Let’s take that in for a minute: the studio whose most iconic heroes include a toy cowboy, a rat, a fish, a boy scout, and a lonely trash compactor (all male-identified, of course), couldn’t figure out how to tell a story about a human girl without making her a princess. That’s the problem in a nutshell: if the sparkling minds at Pixar can’t imagine their way out of the princess paradigm, how can we expect girls to?
The past decade may have seen a welcome increase in on-screen female action heroes, but we’re still far from gender parity in the genre, and even when they’re not princesses, they’re nearly all trained assassins or Chosen Ones. Joseph Campbell wrote indelibly about the power of The Hero with a Thousand Faces – an ur-hero who’s living a mundane life when he’s faced with a challenge through which he can discover his greatness. It’s easy to see why this matters: everyman hero stories teach every boy that he can make himself great through his own actions, regardless of how dull or difficult the lot in life he’s been handed.
Princess stories – even Action Princess stories – inherently fail the Campbell test. That’s why, until we’ve got as many Mulans and (un-whitewashed) Katniss Everdeens as we do Frodos, Batmans, Kung Fu Pandas, Rangos, Shreks, Woodys – I could go on here … to infinity and beyond – even the most liberated of princesses will always be failing girls.”
I’ve covered the above NPR quote earlier and it still makes me sad to re-read it.I think a lot of the points made here are essentially right- the princess genre will always be a problem so long as it continues to define the majority of female lead characters/how we interpret the dreams and desires and futures of girl children/what identities society sees as legitimate. It is too bad that Pixar, of all companies, still has trouble envisioning girl leads as anything other than a princess. The idea that other stories have “no stake” in them says so much about the way we as a culture interpret narratives of the female experience; the experiences of an ordinary girl cannot be universal in the way a boys’ experiences can be… that the life of an ordinary girl cannot be made appealing unless she is princess-ified… etc.
This is also why I continue to have issues with the often used theme of making a movie “empowering” for women by continuing to “challenge” concepts that have been pretty duh in our culture for centuries- yes, you shouldn’t be forced into marriage or relationships if you don’t want them, yes, no one should be able to force you to wear restrictive garments in order to look more appealing.
Constantly identifying these problems as the “major ones against women” undermines current struggles by making it appear that a “feminist friendly” character is “anti-forced marriage”, which leads people to wrongly assume that feminism is about outdated concepts and problems society has already moved past for the most part. It also reinforces what the director stated here: “We wanted to show real stakes in the story where, you know, the peace of the kingdom and the traditions are all at stake.” Nothing is seen as “being at stake” if the main woman in a story is not constantly battling traditions that do not have a whole lot of current relevance. She is not seen as interesting if she is not engaging in this- her own stories removed from these cultural pressures are not seen as interesting enough.feministbatgirl replied to your post: Part 3: “From Snow White to Brave: the evolution of the Action Princess”“I think the main problem here that most of the girls who watch princess movies are middle class or poor. To say the stakes aren’t high in a story without a princess is very insulting to the human dignity of the real girls in the audience.”
Yes, definitely. And if you go to the full article, it references how the princesses inherently live a life most girls can’t: you’re born into it or you marry into it, either way it’s the 1% type thing.
“It’s so bizarre to me because, I work with a lot of men and then I do these press tours with them and nobody ever looks at Chris Hemsworth and goes, ‘Wow, you play such a strong guy in Thor!’ Nobody does that, you know what I mean? But when we are conflicted and we play characters that find themselves in circumstances where we have to to find our strenght or just something in order to survive, like all of a sudden we are such strong women.” — Charlize Theron on playing strong women
Because Zoe wanted a rebloggable text post
This is a really good question that I hope my other A/autistic (are we all capital-A at this point?) who are much smarter than me will answer too, because I’m sure our answers will differ.
likeacrime asked: If you could tell all TV writers (or movie writers or book writers) five things about writing autistic characters, so as to to make them explicitly autistic, not offensive, and actually empowering for autistic viewers, what would those things be?
So, my five.
1: Say their diagnosis.
Don’t dance around it. Say it. Maybe not in the first 30 seconds, but give the audience the correct vocabulary. Don’t make a huge deal out of it, don’t make it sad, don’t make it change anything. Just have the character (and yeah, Outing is wrong, no matter what it’s about, so, let your characters come out as Autistic on their own unless you’re going to do a plot about Outing,) disclose in a relevant context, and move on. Don’t give your audience a chance to squirm out of it if they feel like being assholes.
2: Autism is not a character trait.
You know that post that’s been going around on tumblr, about how being female is treated like a character trait, and that’s fucked up? And it’s true for just about any minority group, because our culture is stupid. You have characters who are smart and funny and strong, or charming and a little douchey and secretly depressed, or A+ bullshitters with hearts of gold….and then you have a female character, a black character, a gay character. And now, apparently, an autistic character. You know they’re autistic because they rock, and flap, and they have a Special Interest that they talk about all the time, and they are so adorably terrible at people, and they cover their ears for loud noises and do bizarre things and they’ll even ask to count your toothpicks. They do everything you’ll find in the DSM, and they don’t do anything else.
This is lazy writing!
Autism is a really basic, fundamental part of who someone is, and it colors everything else. But! So is their gender, their age, their height, where they’re from, what kind of education they’ve had, where they work, who they live with, who their friends are, etc. No person is just one thing. Please don’t forget that you’re writing about a person.
3: Autism is not a social disability.
If you don’t know that, you probably shouldn’t be writing autistic characters. You should probably be doing research and learning about sensory differences and motor issues and executive function and language processing and joint attention and the rates for anxiety and abuse and how every interaction takes two people.
Everyone knows that autism is a failure to connect, that autistic people are robots, that we don’t have feelings or theories of mind or any desire for companionship. This is all flat-out wrong, but it’s a familiar story. Tell a different one. Tell me a story about an autistic person who isn’t a robot, a burden, an innocent, or an emotional vampire.
Tell me a story where the autistic character has friends. Tell me a story where they fight, where they negotiate, where things are imperfect and messy and human. Tell me a story where they have value. Tell me a story where the autistic character has different relationships to and with different characters. Tell me a story with joy and jealousy and empathy and intimacy and affection. Tell me a story where the neurotypical friend hands the autistic character headphones when its needed—and also one where the autistic character remembers a birthday and throws a party. Tell me a story where the friendship maybe looks a little different, and that’s okay—but tell me a story where the friendship is real and mutual and complicated.
Oh, and if you really want to blow me away?
Tell me a story where the autistic character fucks.
4: Autism is not a metaphor.
Every. Possible. Metaphorical. Use. Of. Autism. Has. Been. Explored. Already.
Write something else.
5: Let us do things.
I mean, it’s what this whole screed boils down to. Give us stories, give us choices and personal power and relationships, let us affect and be affected by others, and let us do things. Have what we do be colored, quietly and subtly, by autism when it’s appropriate—have us covering our ears in a crowd, or hanging a visual schedule on our bedroom wall, or fiddling with a stim toy while we wait, yes, please. But give us things to do.
also, don’t focus on the parents. I’m not autistic but I HATE whenever any program focuses on the parents whenever a child has a disability. I’ve seen this a lot with autism, “oh I can’t communicate with my kid why can’t they be NORMAL.” As a disabled young person I know my disability can put strain on parents. I know it’s difficult but if that’s all you get from “this character is autistic” that’s REALLY not cool.