It astounds me how often we fail at being able to comprehend two complex concepts at the same time.
I’ve been seeing this post going around in two forms, about how Rogue One (which I have yet to see, so please NO SPOILERS) has an extreme lack of women (including background characters). That’s a really good, important point to discuss. And then there’s a post bashing that same article, pointing to the fact that the film highlights many non-white men and dismissing the article as white feminism.
Both of these may be correct.
The ability of a film to have great representation for men of different races, creeds, abilities and backgrounds does not for a moment contradict the inability of the film to have adequate representation for women of any race, creed, ability or background.
This is why I hate the “trash fire” all-or-nothing mentality. It cannot cope with the notion that something can be good and bad at the same time, in different corners and contexts. For example: something can be great for racial representation and terrible for LGBTQ+ representation. The former does not automatically make the thing great; the latter does not automatically make the thing terrible. (Key word: automatically.)
Not only that, things can have different meanings to different people based on their different experiences. For someone mixed race Asian-white, a main character like Chloe Bennet’s on Agents of SHIELD may be hugely important. For someone black, the show’s troubling history of killing off most of its black characters may be deeply problematic. Neither is wrong.
Personal experiences shape our interpretations of things. Experiences are not universal. The world is not comprised of absolutes. The stunning lack of women in film (at every layer) intersects, of course, with the stunning lack of non-white people in film (at every layer), but neither is more or less important than the other. (Especially since the doubly stunning lack of non-white women in film is something we should talk about more.) It is not “white feminism” to point out that a film with ten character posters had only one devoted to a (white) woman (even if she is the lead), just because the remaining men are non-white. Nor is it misogynistic to appreciate the film’s focus on (male) non-white heroes.
Complex concepts can coexist.