Congratulations to Jill Soloway for winning the 2015 Golden Globe for Best Television Series - Comedy or Musical for Transparent.
Before creating the critically acclaimed series, Soloway premiered a short film, Una Hora Por Favora, during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and then her feature debut, Afternoon Delight, during the 2013 Festival, where she won the U.S. Dramatic Directing Award. Kathryn Hahn and Juno Temple (pictured above with Soloway) both starred in Afternoon Delight and Hahn went on to star in Transparent.
Progressive Fictional Characters: Yang Xiao Long (RWBY)
Explanations will come, I can promise you that. But I think that Yang is actually an extremely progressive character, especially through the way in which RWBY is written.
Yang’s Design for Volumes 1-3
Yang’s Design for Volume 4
A Potential Design for Volume 5 Released by Roosterteeth
Yang Xiao Long is a character from the hit web show RWBY created by renown indie animator Monty Oum (rest his soul) with the help of the well known independent film and TV series Roosterteeth. But that’s not what you came here to read is it. You came here to read by character analysis into her and why in the world I think this voluputuous, decently sexualized (at least for the first 3 volumes) character is progressive.
Well first things’s first. If you read back to the post that states my “Unpopular Opinions” I stated that I don’t think giving a character large breasts is sexist. I want to add to that, if a character is sexualized or uses sexuality to get what they want (though Yang doesn’t do the later) it’s not sexist, as long as it’s not their only character trait. A character can be sexualized but still have a deep personality. And Yang does. I think Volume 3 treated her really well (well on a narrative level) and Volume 4 is treating her as a human character.
I’m not going to say that her first design was progressive though. But… I will say that it’s not regressive. It kind of fits the current way that we design female characters in action oriented shows and it’s fine. On the other hand (pun intended) her second and the possible third design are interesting.
The second design has her looking beaten up, which goes with her current personality. At this point she’s lost her right forearm. The one aspect I like about this design is that they didn’t just half-ass it and make it so that Yang was had just gotten over her struggles, they kept the lost arm even though a few of the fans would find it unattractive because it kept with her character. Though they did give her a robotic arm later on it still seems foreign to her original design.
The possible third design makes me think that she’s let go of her robotic arm, realizing that it wasn’t like her real arm. The look in her eye makes it look like she thinks that by fighting with her non-dominate arm she’s giving her enemies a handicap and making herself less powerful. That’s just a small analysis of that.
Now onto her her character…
“I think the saddest people always try their best to make people happy. Because they know what it feels like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anybody else to feel like that.” -Robin Williams
The quote is in context I promise.
Yang is a character who always tries to make the best of any bad situation throughout the first act of RWBY. She’s constantly make jokes and trying her hardest to make others feel better about themselves and is the first to show compassion to the people around her, because she knows what it feels like to feel unloved. As a toddler Yang’s mother, Raven Branwen, left her. When she was around five the woman who she thought was her mother, Summer Rose, died during a mission she had been sent on. This is when she found out about her mother. It wasn’t until later in her life that she realized that her mother had just left her and didn’t want to see her again. This leads to her seeking out her mother, it’s not even clear as to why, she probably just wants to meet her. This search turns to her pent up anger, which leads to a relatively short fuse.
What we get after the tonal turn at the end of Volume 3 is Yang becoming outwardly depressed and we still don’t know if it was for the better or for the worse. Her scenes in Volume 4 are few and far between and generally slow paced when we do get them. As somebody who’s gone through a massive depression this is how it feels, it’s slow and repetitive, you fall into a routine and try to do things that seem productive to your mental health but really aren’t. Even when she tries to move forward it’s because she feels worthless, like she’s just a burden on those around her.
I can’t count for the PTSD with life experience but from what I’ve heard this representation of PTSD is very accurate.
Why do I think Yang is progressive?
Because she’s female character in an action show who isn’t either extremely overpowered and inhuman nor is she a damsel in distress. She’s a human being going through inner turmoil in a realistic way. She’s strong but she’s still depressed and frustrated with herself. It’s something you never see in this genre.
I mean bonus props to them for not making her bisexual or homosexual just because she’s a bit of a tomboy. She’s obviously attracted to men.
I give major props to the writers Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross for how well written her character is.
I hope you enjoyed reading through this small analysis of Yang’s character that highlights the reasons why I would elevate her to the level of being a progressive fictional character.
TRANSCRIPT: LACMA Q&A with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall
NOTE: Below is a transcript of the Q&A that was held after the LACMA screening of The Judge on September 25, 2014 in Los Angeles.
(Transcript by hedgehog-goulash7, who was lucky enough to attend)
The contrast between the two actors couldn’t seem more apparent. Robert Duvall, introduced first to the standing-room-only audience at Film Independent’s pre-release screening of “The Judge” at the L.A. County Museum of Art, is quintessentially straight-faced, seemingly carved from granite, reserved and quiet. Robert Downey Jr., on the other hand, bounces onto the stage, all whip-smart energy and volleys of words, a smile flashing every few moments.