Empowering Heroes - Black Panther and Wonder Woman
What they do have in common: Both T’Challa and Diana are the superheroic and political ambassadors of isolated secret nations where oppressed social groups thrive and make healthy societies that work on their own. Themyscira and Wakanda are similar narrative devices to turn the tables on different real world inequalities, each focusing on gender or ethnicity (though BP does a GREAT job of representation with gender relationships and female empowerment). As a tiny note, they both do the arms crossed sign and I felt the link between both was intentional. And most important, they both are game changers in the entertainment industry, putting underrepresented demographies on leading roles in a genre that is all about empowerment, and proving that representation is needed and wanted. They’re not equivalent, their fights are not the exact same, but they’re akin and I can totally imagine them as allies and supporting each other at the UN meetings. // Qué tienen en común: Tanto T'Challa como Diana son embajadorxs políticx y superheroicxs de naciones secretas y aisladas donde grupos sociales oprimidos prosperan y generan sociedades saludables que funcional en sí mismas. Themyscira y Wakanda son dispositivos narrativos similares que invierten las dinámicas de diferentes desigualdades del mundo real, enfocándose en género o etnia según el caso (aunque Black Panther también hace un GRAN trabajo de representación en relaciones de género y empoderamiento femenino). Como detalle, ambos hacen el saludo de cruzar los brazos y sentí que el guiño era intencional. Lo más importante, ambos son puntos de inflexión en en la industria del entretenimiento, colocando demografías poco representadas en roles protagónicos en un género que es sobre todo sobre empoderamiento, probando que esa representación es algo necesario y deseado. No son equivalentes, sus causas no son exactamente las mismas, pero son afines y me los puedo imaginar como aliadxs y apoyándose mutuamente en las reuniones de la ONU.
I love how Alex Alvarez is such a counterpoint to the stereotype of the macho Latino male perpetuated in the media.
I mean he’s a teenage boy who is openly interested in beauty and fashion and makeup. He’s calm and collected and usually doesn’t get into fights. It’s his white bratty friend who tries to talk him into criminal behaviour. He usually shows when he’s emotional, scared or confused. He gives emotional support (and occasional dating advice) to his family and friends. He talks to his father in order to mend the broken relationships in his family. His grandma is his fucking best friend and he’s not embarrassed about that but rather proud.
Alex defies male gender roles and racist stereotypes. All in all he’s a sweet kid and I love that.
Can we also talk about how One Day at a Time specifically mentioned the terms/identities: gender non-conforming, nonbinary, genderqueer and gender neutral, had two characters who use gender neutral pronouns (one using singular they and the other using the neopronoun ze/zhir) and that the jokes made about it was about how oblivious/out of touch older people can be not about these characters identities or pronouns, that the pronouns of these characters where respected and uses by all characters on the show and that after having pronouns and gender nonconforming/nonbinary identities explained in a very brief and simple manner not even the old-fashioned Catholic grandmother questioned or made jokes about these characters, identities or pronouns and respected them all immediately, and then one of those nb characters, a nonbinary gay girl named Syd who uses they/them pronouns, becomes the girlfriend of one of the main characters who is a lesbian becoming one of the only nb wlw/nblw couples on tv in history.
Like I almost cried several times while binging season two of One Day at a Time because Ive never experienced this much nb representation and the respect it was shown and treated with was just so beautiful. And this is on a show that already deals with so many important issues like racism, immigration, addiction recovery, depression, PTSD, veterans issues, single motherhood, religion and so much more, and to see them take the representation and respect of nonbinary people and identities as one of those important issues that needa addressing showed me that they see nonbinary issues as just as real and important as other social justice issues and that just means So Much to me because I’ve hardly ever seen that before and never on a show made by such a huge distributor like Netflix. This is a huge deal and a big milestone for the nb community and Im honestly just so happy!!!
A new wave of creators aren’t waiting for mainstream entertainment to catch up to the realities of gender identity, they’re just making it happen. And Kaitlyn Alexander is at the forefront.
Alexander is the mastermind behind Couple-ish, a web series they both created and star in. It centres on Dee, a non-binary, bisexual artist who enters into a sham marriage to keep their new roommate in the country. It’s instantly endearing, with LGBT inside jokes and characters that are too awkward not to love.
“I just saw this gap in media. I was not seeing people like me represented so it’s like, why don’t I just start doing it. Somebody has to start it,” Alexander told BuzzFeed Canada. “I just wanted to create a series where somebody who’s non-binary can be a romantic lead or at the forefront, and not a joke.” Often, says Alexander, characters without a fixed gender are non-human entities like aliens, and often a punchline.
“Representation is important because it gives people opportunities to see themselves in media, which is validating. It can make you feel like you’re not alone, and that’s super important,” they said. They’ve even received messages from non-binary people saying Alexander’s work helped them explain their identities to their parents.
The above are the first half of the slides I presented at GeekGirlCon (along with some annotations to explain things I only said out loud :) ) – for the second half, read more below the cut. I’ll also be sharing the slides from the other presenters here, too, as they’re posted!
The gender representation work is part of a longer analysis that I will be posting in full soon!
Beneath the cut are also a few additional slides that I would have presented with a bit more time – several of which address things that came up in the question session. Edit: warning for some mature text content in the extra slides.
Edit 2: Also, if you want more notes about when and how I collected this data (e.g., some of the data in the first section is a couple years old), you want clearer text/images, or you want to get at the raw data, check out the links in the speakers notes in my Google Slides!
…And the extra slides (content warning for mature themes in text):
I am 100% all for diverse skin tones and diverse body types in beauty campaigns n advertisements n shit. like YES AT ALL THE INCLUSITIVITY AND REPRESENTATION, I LIVE FOR IT. buuuUUUT in addition to that (hear me out ok), I’d also like to start seeing more breast types—not just perfect, round boobs. I wanna see huge boobs and small boobs, black boobs and brown boobs and white boobs and pale boobs and tan boobs, uneven boobs and even boobs, saggy boobs and perky boobs, d-cups and a-cups and everything in between and beyond, boobs (or singular boob) that had to be removed to save a life and boobs that are implants. I WANNA SEE MORE BREAST TYPES IN MAGAZINES N STUFF CAUSE IM TOO DAMN INSECURE ABOUT MY OWN
“Are we really listening to the kids who were eating tide pods like a month ago?”
Yes we are. And you know why? Because us KIDS know when to grow up and get serious.
Because us KIDS are starting rallies, writing to are representatives, calling politicians out on their BS.
Because us KIDS are making sure our voices are heard, despite not being old enough to vote.
Because us KIDS are standing united and are willing to have actually conversations, not only about gun control, about other stuff like abortion, LGBT+ rights, racial equality, gender equality, healthcare, education reform, global warming, etc.
Because us KIDS aren’t stubborn adults who are stuck in their ways. We are willing to change, we are willing to help, we are willing to listen.
So yes. We were the kids eating tide pods a month ago, but unlike you adults, we know when it’s time to grow the fuck up and actually do something.
We “kids” are actually standing up to do something because you adults have failed us.
“Speaking at a Manhattan news conference, Arturo Di Modica said he placed the “Charging Bull” statue in front of the New York Stock Exchange in 1987 as a symbol of America’s resilience following the stock market crash that year. The city later relocated the sculpture to a small public park area nearby.
“The bull represents strength,” said Di Modica. “The strength of America, the strength of the market.”
The iconic statue over the years has become one of the city’s most popular tourist attraction. But on the eve of International Women’s Day, State Street Global Advisors placed the new a statue of a little girl, hands defiantly on hips, in front of the bull.
The new sculpture virtually overnight became a representation of a lack of gender diversity and equality on Wall Street and in other U.S. workplaces. The investment firm said it commissioned the artwork as a part of its call on behalf of the more than 3,500 companies that benefit from its clients’ investments to make sure their governing boards are diverse.
Created by artist Kristen Visbal, “Fearless Girl” gained widespread attention as tourists flocked to the site to take pictures with the statue.
Many hailed the announcement. But Di Modica was far from pleased. He said “Fearless Girl” was part of an advertising campaign that altered the artistic message behind “Charging Bull” without his permission.
“What they did, it’s a negative,” Di Modica said of the new message conveyed by “Fearless Girl.” Now, the message is “I’m here, what are you going to do,” he said.
I’ve been slowly rewatching Yuri On Ice these last couple of weeks (the English dub this time so I don’t have to read subtitles while drawing). I’ll watch on a separate window while sketching some of my favorite key moments.
I stopped at episode 7, as you can see… Should I draw some more from the later episodes? I’ve gotten kind of addicted to drawing “Yurie” and “Viktoria.” XD Also, asymmetrical bobs are the BOMB.
I wonder if YOI would have gotten as popular as it has if the main characters had been female. I hope so!
Got into a discussion about the implication that Diana finding love with a man was what saved the day and I thought I should go ahead and bring it over here.
I can see the argument being made here. Diana has been around women all her life. That suddenly a man, and more specifically sex with a man, changes her and makes her a hero. That hetero-sex is what saves the day.
I have a couple objections to this theory, but let me start by saying I can see why you would feel that way, particularly for those of you who are lesbians. I don’t, and I recognize it’s largely because of who I am and my own views.
What I won’t agree with is the implication that Amazons are all straight. It’s just not true. When Antiope was killed, three women came to her side- her sister, Diana, and a third grief-sticken and screaming who got the camera’s attention for an extended shot even though nobody knew who she was. That was her wife. Fight me.
Additionally, when Steve and Diana are having their boat sex talk, she says she knows of sex. She knows the pleasures of the flesh. Men are unnecessary for pleasure. She’s either talking about lady love or masturbation (both of which are still pretty taboo to talk about as women today let alone in 1918). I choose to believe it’s the former. She’s had at least one Amazon lover in the comics- Mala in Earth One.
On to my objections:
Diana’s not a lesbian. She’s bisexual. Bisexuals are allowed to love men. We’re allowed to like men. Steve Trevor, whether romantic or platonic, is a big part of Wonder Woman’s story. He is the Lois to Diana’s Superman. For those of you who say Steve was too much or Steve was intolerable or the het love story ruined it, I ask you to accept that you might have some biases based in your preference for a queer Diana who doesn’t like men. Again, I understand why you feel that way, especially for those of you who are lesbians. But to constantly hear ‘het love’ and ‘het sex’ is annoying at best and erasure at worst. Diana is bisexual. She is queer. Of course I’d like it to be more explicit in the movies, whether through her expressing attraction to women or outright saying it, but the point still stands. This is the most powerful canonically queer character in media.
Nothing she does is heterosexual.
Another point is about the love saves the day. It wasn’t just Steve’s love. It wasn’t just Diana’s love for Steve. (And yes, I can see why it might seem rushed, especially for those who aren’t aware of the “Diana’s Lois” history of the ship, but how often do we see the woman falling head over heels for the hero of other movies and why can’t we allow the script to be flipped here? Steve Trevor is very much a counter to most macho action movie stars full of toxic masculinity which is a whole post on its own.)
Love saved the day, but it wasn’t just romantic love. It certainly wasn’t just sexual love. It was also platonic love between the men themselves. When she sees the men embracing each other in the face of certain death, what does she see?
She sees three men who could have gone home when the money ran out. Three men who continued into a suicide mission, following Steve because they loved him too. When Steve gave them the option to go home, they say “she can handle herself, but what would you do without us?” They follow him because they love him. They’d deny it, of course, but it’s there. That brotherhood. She sees that. She recognizes it from the way the Amazons loved those they fought with. That’s how she recognizes that there is good in men. That’s why she believes they can choose good. They aren’t fighting for the anger and the bloodshed. They are fighting because they love.
It’s important to me that little girls and boys see someone that looks like them, talks like them, has the same culture as them, has crazy curly hair and wears it natural, has brown skin-included in different things in this world
And I think it’s extremely important for especially young kids nowadays to see representation - in the big stage, in social media, in sports - of people that look like them, people that are from where they’re from, people that have the same background because without that representation, they don’t really know that opportunities suit them. They think it’s only for people that might be like this and since they’re not like that, they can’t do it.