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Erasure: My Feelings on Proving POC Exist

4 Jun

There is a lot going through my head right now. After a fantastic weekend at WisCon 39, I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing regularly and have gathered a surprising amount of ideas over the past few days. However with all of the new ideas that have been floating around in my head there are also new doubts and worries, some of which are minor and some of which are slightly existential.

I think I should back up for a moment and let you know where all this begins. At WisCon I got the opportunity to once again interview Daniel Jose Older about his upcoming novels. During the interview, in a conversation about how realistic his novels were because of the diversity, I’d jokingly asked how he felt knowing that in 1000 years, his novels would be used as the proof that there were People of Color in the year 2015. He expressed not just hope, but certainty that it wouldn’t be the case, and that it seemed as if with campaigns like #WeNeedDiverseBooks, #INeedDiverseGames and many others, media was going towards a more accurate portrayal of race, gender and sexuality in the world.

I agree, but it feels like we have a long way to go, as evident (at least to me) by the fawning over the feminism of Mad Max: Fury Road. It’d been suggested to me by several people that I should watch it, and for a few weeks I felt apprehension about my concerns about not being as excited to see it as others. The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic Australia but has no Australian Aboriginal Women in the main cast. To me, it seems empty to say that a movie is Feminist when it ignores and almost erases the stories of the women native to the setting.

If you ever wonder why twitter campaigns calling for diversity in media are important this is why. We shouldn’t have to prove a thousand years from now that we existed. We shouldn’t have to re-discover our histories because they were drowned out by the stories of those with power. The erasure of People of Color, especially Women of Color, being treated as the standard is why things like the K Tempest Challenge, #INeedDiverseGames, #WeNeedDiverseBooks, #DiversifyAgentCarter and so many other hash tags and calls for diversity are important. So going forward, as a Midyear’s Resolution to myself I’ve decided to not be afraid to speak up when I feel trepidation about dishonest representations. So….. wish me luck?

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Any Customer Can Buy Any of the Merchandise of Any of the Characters They Want, As Long As The Character Is White and Male

26 Apr

When I woke up this morning I immediately got on Twitter to see what I’d missed in my sleep. A bunch of my Midwestern friends are at C2E2 so I’ve been reading all of their Con related tweets to make up for the fact that I can’t be there. While scrolling through my timeline, I saw a few of my friends discussing the Marvel Bobble Heads being sold on the Hot Topic website, specifically this one:They wasted all their brown paint on the box instead of the doll.....

What the hell is this?

As you can tell (more from the box than the actual doll) the character is supposed to be Heimdall. Not the Norse God version, not the comic book version, but the Marvel Movie verse version who’s played by Idris Elba in both of the Thor films. So why is the doll white when the character, actor AND EVEN THE PICTURE OF THE DOLL ON THE BOX is Black?

It seems like a big  (read: racist) mistake, but one of the many that Marvel is making when it comes to their merchandising. Recently the Internet has pointed out that out of all of the six main characters in The Avengers, Black Widow is the one with the least merchandise out. If you go to the Target website alone you’ll see that while Hawkeye doesn’t have any merchandise out for just himself, he’s still featured on more items featuring the Avengers as a group than Black Widow, who is totally excluded from most of it. Black Widow also only has 5 items available, as opposed to the 111 for Captain America, 70 for Iron Man, 66 for The Hulk and 25 for Thor.

But it seems that Marvel isn’t the only company who thinks only White Male toys sell. Funko — the company that makes the bleached out Heimdall above – seem to have played around with color changes with Characters of Color before. For the Assassin’s Creed video game character Connor, Funko decided to ditch the darker tone of the character in the game in favor of one much like Heimdall.

 

Bleaching out the Men of Color in merchandise and limiting merchandise for women isn’t where this stops either. When it comes to Women of Color, it seems that some companies think the best course of action for their merchandising is to exclude them entirely. McDonald’s Happy Meal toy for the the movie Home feature only one of the two main characters, Oh. The other main character, a black Trinidadian girl named Tip, was only featured on the box of the Happy Meal.

My money is green like everyone else’s, but it seems as if most companies don’t think this. While I’m more than willing to spend my money on toys, posters and just about anything of my favorite characters from my favorite shows, it bothers me that my money seems to only go towards things that don’t represent me. People of Color, especially Women of Color are growing a voice in Pop and Nerd culture, and we have money to spend too. Representation is important, so maybe companies should start to recognize that and give Fans of Color the merch that they want.

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Catching Up: March 2015

6 Apr

So March was actually a pretty big month for me! Aside from my regular articles in Arsenal for Democracy, I also did an interview with Buzzfeed about Women in Nerd Culture. That was a fun experience, as I’ve never been interviewed for anything without having a partner or group with me. I was nervous, but the article came out great! You can check it at the link below:

8 Women Talk About Sexism in Geek Culture

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

 

Also here are my March posts for Arsenal for Democracy:

Thanks for reading!

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Catching Up: February 2015

13 Mar

So here I am again, neglecting this blog (aside from the #CareFreeBlackGirl videos), but I haven’t gone back on my resolution. I’m still writing more, just in other places, and I’m also working on a couple short stories to shop around. And then there’s the zine, which I am also still working on, but don’t think it’s as humorous as I had hoped. However there’s always time to rewrite, so I’m not too worried about.

However to make up for my absence here, let’s catch up on all of the other things I’ve written for other places, specifically for Arsenal for Democracy.

Make sure you go check those out!

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