independent character

Defined By Others: The Double Standards of Heroic Lineage

rex-shadao submitted:

Some say that Rey shouldn’t be a Skywalker because it lessen her achievements and undermine her status as an independent, self-made character because audience will say she’s only good because of her Skywalker lineage/genes.  That she will only be defined by her relatives rather by herself.

But do you know who else is defined by their relatives?  Luke Skywalker.  Think about it.

What was so special about Luke Skywalker in A New Hope?  He’s an adventurous youth and a skilled pilot, but what exactly did he earned on his own before the movie?  They say his pilot skills are like his father, who is said to be the best star pilot in the galaxy.  Too much of his father within him, Aunt Beru says. He was told that his father was a mystical Jedi Knight, skilled with the power of the Force.  His neighbor, Ben Kenobi was his father’s best friend and a Jedi Knight as well (also a mentor and surrogate uncle for Luke).  Luke gets to inherit his father’s lightsaber rather build one himself, and he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a Jedi.  And he certainly wants to avenge his father’s “death” by killing the villainous Darth Vader.  And he gets all the rewards that come with heroic lineage and journey, such as recusing the princess and blowing up the Death Star on his first flight.  Luke can be considered the fantasy escapist character for many viewers, with all of the cliches that come with it.  But he is not a self-made character.  He is largely defined by his father’s legacy.

The Empire Strikes Back furthers that theme.  Not only does Luke still wishes to follow his father’s footsteps as a Jedi, but he is also being defined by his conflict with Darth Vader, who wishes to turn him evil.  Master Yoda cites how Luke has the same anger as his father, and Luke is warned by his vision in the cave of becoming as evil as Darth Vader.  Meanwhile, the Emperor declares Luke Skywalker as a threat, not because of his accomplishments during the war but rather of his Skywalker lineage.  The son of Skywalker indeed.  And it all culminates into the big reveal at the climax.  Darth Vader didn’t kill Luke’s father, he is Luke’s father.  And all of Luke’s hopes and vengeance collapse as he begins to comprehend the implication.  That his father became the evil Sith Lord, and that he, Luke, was said to have the same temperament as his father and was given a vision of becoming Vader himself.  Was he doomed to the same path?  The standard male fantasy is suddenly subverted.  His lineage is no longer a blessing, but a curse.  But regardless, Luke is still defined by his father, Darth Vader.  He wouldn’t be half as interesting without this parental conflict.

Return of the Jedi runs with the implications that came from the revelation.  Luke becomes darker and more aggressive with the Force during the Rescue of Han Solo.  Is the Dark Side claiming him?  Luke eventually comes to terms with the truth, and learns the whole truth from Yoda and Obi-Wan.  He couldn’t kill his father, but wonders if Vader can be redeemed.  He also learns that Leia is his sister, giving him one last close family member to have when all of this is over.  Onboard the Death Star II, Palpatine taunts Luke about his father’s fall to the Dark Side and states that he’s doomed to be the next Sith apprentice because of his bloodline.  It is the battle for Anakin’s soul between the Emperor and Luke.  And Luke eventually won, though not before realizing how close he has come to the edge by seeing his father’s mechanical hand.  He refuses to let his father’s fall define his fate and become his own person, symbolized by his new green lightsaber.  His defiance against the curse is what ultimately defeated Darth Sidious, but the whole conflict in Return of the Jedi is defined by Luke’s relationship with his father.

So what does this all mean?  Luke Skywalker, one of the most iconic heroes in cinema, is heavily defined by his father, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.  It is one of the most memorable conflicts because of that relationship.  Their characters are not weakened by it.  In fact, their characters are made stronger because of it.  Makes it unique.  So if Luke is still hailed as a beloved character despite being largely defined by his father, why can’t Rey be the same?  Just because she’s a female doesn’t mean she has to work twice as hard to be seen as a strong character.  Luke had it easy compare to her.  No one was demanding that he needs to be self-made and be related to nobody famous.  Those who do fail to see what Star Wars is all about now.

It’s not just a wish-fulfillment sci-fantasy, it’s a story about a family known as the Skywalkers.  Specifically, the Fall, Redemption and Legacy of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.

i want to emphasise how much i love adventure time for how GROSS it allows its female characters to be we always see finn and jake doing yucky bodily stuff but for once it extends to the other sex! like marceline is this really cool demon vampire queen, described as ‘sexy’ by other characters, who we also see picking her nose (and wiping her snot on the settee), not washing her hands after using the loo, digging bugs out of her belly button, and actually being drawn as the ugly shapeshifting monster she occasionally is instead of being prim and proper all of the time. there’s a muscle princess and a slime princess and raggedy princess and they’re all in-depth characters who independently rule their own kingdoms despite not being ladylike at all bubblegum is a real fucking sociopathic dick half the time who gets way too caught up in her goals and puts literal lives on the line in order to get what she wants it’s just nice to see girls normalised as actual humans for once. or vampires/bubblegum/slime. whatever.

friend: whats so good about jojo lol

me, thinking: jojo’s bizarre adventure is a breath of fresh air. it has an amazing set of characters for each part, and all the characters are believable. the characters are deep and meaningful, and all go through real, human struggles. lots of characters go through some sort of trauma; and lots of them get through it and overcome it. the trauma of these characters isnt used as a plot point, rather a way to show how strong the character is, and how these traumas dont reduce these characters or weaken them. take a look at nearly half of the protagonists of part 5; most of them have dealt with abusive parents. and yet they overcome that, making them strong, independent characters. and they care. they care about eachother and have healthy relationships with one another. they showcase that despite being victims, despite being hurt, they can still be happy, they can still do fantastic things. they arent broken. secondly, none of the characters in any part are shota/lolicon. it is so very common to see some sort of young character in a series to be seen as “moe,” and they often get sexualized, despite being minors. in jojo’s bizarre adventure, however, there is not one minor that is overtly sexualized. i feel that this is important; pedophilia shouldn’t be normalized, and shows in which loli/shotacon is present is harmful. jojo steers clear from that toxic trope. there are scenes where a character who is a minor is in a situation that could be seen as sexual (ie, valentine advancing on lucy,) but that, instead of being portrayed as “hot,” is instead portrayed as creepy and wrong. oh, and the diversity!! there is a character for everyone in jojo. there are so many significant characters of color (muhammad avdol, enrico pucci, sandman, to name a few) and none are stereotyped. there are also openly lgbtq+ characters. in fact, probably the most recognizable character in all of jojo, dio brando, is canonly bisexual. two more characters, gelato and sorbet, are gay!! this is groundbreaking, not only because this wasn’t very common for a manga series in the 80’s-90’s, but because jojo is such a huge thing in japan. to have a series this big have multiple lgbtq+ characters is extraordinary. and the lgbtq+ characters aren’t even there just for fanservice! they are all well-written, thought out characters. there are no tropes for these characters. lastly, jojo has something for everyone. whether you’re into hardcore action animes with a dark mystery surrounding them, or a slice-of-life fan who likes more light-hearted plots, jojo fits everything. even if you arent a fan of really intense action animes, part 2 still brings you in with joseph joestar’s jokester attitude. and if you despise the slice-of-life genre, part 4 has enough mystery and action to make up for it. with spectacular diverse characters who are well thought out, the avoidance of toxic tropes, and the fantastic plot that reels you right in, i feel that jojo might just be one of the best series out there !!

me on the outside: big beefy macho men


Jack + recognition

magnus bane and alec lightwood will be the most iconic couple on tv in 2017

not only are we getting a proper respresentation of an interracial couple, not only are we getting a queer couple… but we are also gonna see them actually fall in love, depend on each other, trust each other, fight for each other

AND at the same time we are going to see two badass and independent characters who have their own stories and are so much more than just a couple

How to research your racially/ethnically diverse characters

chiminey-cricket asked:

Do any of you have any tips for doing independent research for PoC characters?

This question is super broad, but I’m going to see if I can give it a crack!

First of all, consume media by the group in question. If you want to write a story with a Chinese-American protagonist, read some blogs by Chinese-Americans, read books by Chinese-Americans – both fiction and nonfiction – lurk on places like thisisnotchina so you can get a feel for what pisses Chinese and Chinese diaspora people off about their portrayal in the media, google for stereotypes about Chinese people and try to make sure you’re not doing those (even positive ones), go more general (East-Asian all-of-the-above in general since in many cases the harmful tropes overlap), go more specific (if your protagonist is female, look specifically for blog posts featuring the opiniosn of Chinese-American and other Asian/Asian diapora women; same if your protagonist is attracted to the same sex, is transgender, or deals with any other form of oppression besides anti-Chinese racism.) All of the above applies to Latinxs, Native Americans/Canadian First Nations, African/African diaspora people, Jews, Muslims, etc. Find out what we’re saying about ourselves.

Lots of things are available just from Google. “I have a Black character and I want to know what kind of hairstyles are available for her!” We have a Black hair tag, but apart from that, googling “Black hairstyles” will probably bring up some articles that can at least give you a good starting point to learn some vocabulary to add to your next Google search, like “natural” and “twists” and “dreadlocks.”

Next, you can talk to people in the group, but before you do this, be sure to have some specific questions in mind. “How do I write a Jewish character?” is not a specific question. “Do I have to make my Jewish character follow kosher laws if I’ve made her religious in other ways, or can she go to shul but not keep kosher?” or “What’s a term of endearment a parent might use for a child in Yiddish?” is much more specific. Remember, if you’re talking to someone they’re answering you back with their free time, so expecting them to do most of the work of figuring out what’s most important for you to know is a little entitled.

Besides, a more specific question will give you a more helpful answer. If someone asks me “how do I write a Jewish character” one of the first things out of my mouth will be a list of personality stereotypes to avoid, which isn’t going to be very helpful if what you really need for your fic was whether or not you have to write your character as following strict kosher laws.

If you’re sending a question in to a writing blog or one of those race blogs like thisisnot[whoever], please read through their tags and FAQ to see if they’ve already answered it. Longtime followers of a blog would get very bored if all the blog’s content was nothing but “We answered that here last week at this helpful link!” Those who participate in answering these blogs are usually unpaid volunteers who provide a resource that’s already there to help people; help repay them for what they do by looking through the material on your own first.

How to tell if a source from outside the group is biased and bigoted: obviously, you’re not going to want to listen to Stormfront about Jews, or the KKK about, well, anything. If you’re not on a source created by the group in question, look for dry and academic language as opposed to emotional, informal, or inflammatory words – although dispassionate and technical language is no guarantee it won’t be racist, colonialist, or inaccurate. If you read enough books and blogs from the inside, though, you’ll probably see some of the myths from those other sources debunked before you even encounter them.

Lastly, don’t assume that all people who are Asian, African-American Christians, religious Jews, or Muslims are from cultures more oppressive, more conservative, more patriarchal, more homophobic, more sexist, or more controlling than the one in which you were raised. If your plot calls for homophobic parents or a repressive culture, that shouldn’t be the reason you make your character one of the groups listed. There is plenty of oppressive, anti-woman, and anti-queer thought in white American Christian/Christian-cultured society and personally, I believe such criticisms of the marginalized diaspora peoples I listed above belong in the voices of the cultures themselves.

–mod Shira

I’d not leave looking for dry and clinical information as the ONLY means to distinguish that a work is biased.

While yes it is pragmatic to say “look for academically toned wording,” … in addition to that, these folks really need to look into who the author is. Definitely look into the author. And the year the thing was published (because man if it’s from like the 60s or earlier, 9 times out of 10, throw that shit out).

Because people can disguise hatred and racism in careful diction so that it looks reasonable and polite. A shining example is physiognomy studies from Nazis and anti-Semite eugenecists. And the sad thing is, you really can’t trust people to read it and make the judgement call that this hate-in-disguise they’re reading is hate.  

Somehow, when someone says, “The people of the Levant express features such as […] which, at the risk of sounding untoward, suggest a very rodent-like persuasion,” people are like, “Oh, well, that was worded fancily and there was no angry or profane language, I suppose they’re right,” not stopping to think even for a moment that they just accepted that this book just said to them that Jews look like rats. I saw it happen in my Nazi Germany class when we were given reading material. It was fucking nuts.

So definitely, definitely look every outsider author in the mouth and cross-check any and everything that person says. 

–mod Elaney

Shira again: Elaney is right that you will want to be critical of outside sources, especially older ones. Also, be suspicious of blanket statements about a group such as “X group are” instead of discussing forces in X culture. For example. Because there’s going to be diversity within any group and it’s likely what’s being said isn’t inherently biologically linked to being in X group.

–mod Shira

♛ fill in about the muse.


What is the character’s favourite food?:
Are they good at cooking? How good/bad?:
Do they leave the dishes out?:
What kind of food is in their refrigerator?:
Do they cook, eat out or get take-away/delivered food more?:

Living Room:

How does the character spend weekends?:
What kind of movies does the character watch?:
What do they do with friends?:
What’s their favorite pastime?:
What’s their favorite TV show/Film?:


How does the character prepare in the morning?:
Do they sing in the shower?:
What kind of hair product/make-up do they use?:
How clean is this character?:
Does the character have thousands of shampoo/shower gel bottles by the shower, or do they use only the bare essentials?:


How do they sleep? (Position, sleeping habits, bedtime routines):
What are their pajamas like?:
What do they dream about usually?:
How neat/tidy are they?:
How affectionate are they?:


What is the character afraid of?:
How do they deal with bad memories?:
What is this character’s role in a horror movie?:
How do they hide their secrets?:


[The idea is to post one reason per day until the season finale. We want this show renewed! We love it, and here are some reasons you should love it, too! #Timeless #RenewTimeless]


Each female protagonist is influential and indispensable for the arcs and missions in their own single way. They are treated with respect and are real independent characters who can hold up their own. They consolidate the storyline and contribute for it by sharing the importance with their male counterparts, not being plot devices for them. They are not used for their sexuality, bur for their brains. The girls get to save the day.

Coming Tomorrow: Reason #2

in collaboration with @officerparker

I mean, nobody says ‘strong male character’ because no one is starving for strong male characters. The term means nothing because you can’t throw a rock in Hollywood without hitting 200 strong male characters.

We are drowning in a sea of one dimensional, gutless and helpless women (written by men) who are waiting to be saved by men. So much so that when miraculously we find one, we have to call her a ‘strong female character’ to differentiate her from the peripheral background props for the men that most women in movies are. What we really mean is realistic female character; believable female character; independent female character; a female character that is more than a pair of lips and breasts that generate drama and turmoil for the male character’s development.

So here we go! Woosh. This here is a blog for an ORIGINAL CHARACTER angel alien boy named Ritoku but he likes to go by Toki written by me, Felicity. He’s a sweet heart but not really who got stuck on Earth and is still learning English. But most importantly he’s:

  • an alien
  • not actually an angel
  • with wings
  • and a tail
  • and tiny lil fangs
  • and pulls you in by being nice but really is a dick

So if you’re cool with roleplaying with a little shit sweet heart alien, please give this goodie post a LIKE/REBLOG for the crowds and I’ll check out that blog of yours because you’re all awesome!

First things first- I’m not a native English speaker, I suck hard at grammar and some additional things and -you know.. I’m a bit shaky articulating myself - read with this warning in mind and have fun!

Some time ago I happened to catch an episode of Flapjack on TV. Each time I see it I get more impressed by this show– each time it seems wilder and more vibrant than the last time – just the finest breed of unpredictable. And maaaan I love the location of this show. This filthy, moldy, contagious harbor, isolated in the eye of the dead sea but containing so much bursting life in its small belly. God I love the possibilities of this place – its so fun how it expands and shrinks according to the story, almost as if its it own independent character, it’s silent but it moves and talks and reacts and breathes. This makes it feel so much bigger and exiting – I could gawk  at this gorgeous art design forever, and I probably will, but I got caught of guard and distracted by the the end credits for a moment-

Well this explains a lot!

For the ones that might not know him, Alex Kirwan is a artist doodling his path trough the last 2/3 or so decades of commercial cartooning. His involvement in animation isn’t limited to just one title but is pretty much scattered around various fields of production, as far as I’m aware of he’s done character design, story-boarding, layouts.. but what I really wanna get at is his career as an art designer, because I think he displays a kind of quality that hasn’t been done this well by anyone else.

Although I’m writing this with the purpose to praise Alex, I’m not entirely sure if I’m getting my information from the right sources, I’m not even sure how much involvement he had in Flapjack but he’s listed as an  co art director (with the wonderful Paula Spence driving it til the end of the series) for the first few episodes soooooo I’m gonna milk it for the sake of explaining my point of view. And of course remember that he is not doing his job all alone and there are many many artist responsible for the creation and quality of these, artist I highly recommend looking into as well.

As far as we’re concerned here is what’s Alex been art directing-

My Life as a Teenage Robot

The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack

 Wander Over Yonder

You can see how varied the styles are and which influences they descent from – he tackles some of the most sophisticated and difficult graphic styles possible and skillfully converts them into children animation. There is a lot of sweaty work here, but also so much to give.

This is honestly the thing I am most impressed by – the lightness and playfulness he can pull out of these otherwise very intense and/or serious art-forms.  The worlds he draws seem so effortless and blissfully unaware of all the difficult construction that is holding them together,  making them ready to fully embrace the cartoony world they’re set in. It is interesting how he uses the most unnatural elements to make a world seem more natural.

Another thing I’m deeply fascinated with is his fearless use of color - this at a time where BGs were drawn traditionally and wrong decisions couldn’t afford a do over. Too much work.

Just look at it

He sense of colors is something completely different than what we’re used to. Not only does he extract a bold contrast between the characters and BGs he also doesn’t shy away from using less pleasurable shades. With that I mean that he fully embraces ‘uglier’’ tones- grays, browns, this weird dirty yellow- and manages to combine them into appealing groups using their disadvantage to either highlight some action or to convey a specific mood.

Here we get introduced to the most important value of his – designing BGs like writing a story.

We now saw that he uses good effort and skill to create environments that feel enriching to the plot and characters and uses every means he can to explore the world he opened.

What makes him stand out is his commitment to storytelling

Similar to my earlier description where Flapjacks home was silently talking to us, so do every of his other shows. The environments are responsive of the actions taking place in front of them, completely aware of their weird strange surroundings – this however, gives the viewer the impression that what we see in the background is not just a picture serving as a display of some location for the characters to stand on, but that it’s a little part of a much bigger world the characters are residing in.   It gives the viewer a itch for more.

This doesn’t depend only on the art, but it can grab our interest from a different angle.

His strong sense of graphic simplicity and stylisation allows to grow a good deal of characterization that is unique to its situation, on the other site, the flat environments does not allow much movement trough space. You can do a highly dynamic, detailed tracing shot over mountains in Adventure time for instance, where the style is much more grounded in mass, you can not do that in WOY.

Backgrounds of course are just a layer of skin, a piece of multiple symbiosis’ of a much bigger organism that is animation. The shows that are being mentioned here are respectfully different, and the art adapts to their differences while simultaneously being its own being with its own language.

Anyway, I wanted to do this analysis to direct some attention to a artist that I think is truly remarkable and was able to distribute a great experience trough a medium that is difficult to handle- and I hope you’ve got some happiness from it, I did.