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This entry is an expansion on a post about how the ethnicity change of Tiger Lily is not equal to the ethnicity change of the Human Torch. It's a good rant, but I think he lets folks off easy.

When a historically straight white male character is changed to be more representative in a new telling of a tale, and the straight white male audience complains that they can no longer relate to the character because of the change, then they are proving WHY it is so very important. It’s often said that a variety of representation is necessary to give minority people characters with whom they can relate, but that is false. Minority people have been relating to characters not like them for forever, because that’s all the choices they’ve had. Minority people ALREADY KNOW that people can empathize with others that aren’t like them, the people that REALLY need to learn this lesson are the straight white males that have been shown time and again that their perspective is the only valid one by virtue of how much entertainment is told from that point of view. (Yes, some straight white males get this, but every time the ethnicity of a white character is changed to something else there is a disturbingly huge number of comments along the lines of not being able to relate to or respect the character any longer said with such oblivious sincerity that it demonstrates just how deeply ingrained the racism is, as well as the shocking inability to empathize with anyone else’s viewpoint.)

The reason that a variety of representation is necessary is NOT to give minorities their own characters JUST for them. We’re NOT endeavoring to keep things separate which is the implication of that line of reasoning. No, the reason that a variety or representation is necessary is to validate the experiences of those minorities, in their own eyes and in the eyes of the straight white male audience that has not been pushed to see any other experience. Let’s take bisexuality as an example. It’s invisible because it’s not something that you know about people when you only know them casually. Hell, you can know someone pretty well and they may never reveal this because of a fear of being judged. So without representation in media it becomes a “secret” classification, the general populace of heterosexuals and even homosexuals think that bisexuality isn’t real. People that start having bisexual feelings are often confused; they feel like they have to make a choice between being heterosexual or homosexual and that they are mutually exclusive. These people struggle with something that shouldn’t actually be a big deal whatsoever because they feel the need to choose one based on how society and people are portrayed in the media. Just imagine how worse it gets when the only available portrayals are negative or dismissive. Being bisexual doesn’t mean someone is a ravenous predator lustfully looking at everyone as a potential fuck, nor is it just a phase that they’ll get over once they find the right person, but that’s what the media tells everyone. And so someone that is just realizing that they feel this way is pushed to make that arbitrary choice between heterosexuality or homosexuality, not even realizing that there is actually a complex spectrum of options available for people to explore of which bisexuality is just one valid option.

But it’s more than just sexuality, it’s every single minority. As a member of any minority, when you are FINALLY lucky enough to see a character like you portrayed and they are just secondary characters AT BEST, but are typically comedic roles, villains, or just faces in a crowd, then you feel unimportant. Because no one tells tales about someone like you, you feel like your existence and therefore your whole self is not as valid, as real, or as worthwhile as those that are being told onscreen or in the books you read. You can still enjoy the works, you can feel for the characters, you can love them even though their life viewpoint is so much different than yours. But when you look at yourself you feel like nothing that you do will ever matter. The insidious thing again is that it’s not just the minority peoples that feel like this, it’s also the straight white males that begin to think that all those other viewpoints are less important than their own. And that’s what we see again and again in comments and message boards, and don’t forget politics, where straight white men can’t even conceive of another life experience or viewpoint different from their own as being something worthwhile to even acknowledge let alone accept or celebrate.

All of this is why it's OK to change a historically white male character to something else, but it's not OK to change a minority character to white.
Every once in a while I’ve met an older comic book collector who would say they didn’t collect anything that was coming out new, only older stuff. My reaction to that was often a confused mix of pity and, I must ashamedly admit, condescension. But I may find myself at that point someday. Not right now, but I can see myself getting there eventually. I already have amassed enough to keep me occupied for many many years.

My perspective is a bit different from some of them though, I’ve heard people say that there’s nothing out now that they enjoy or want to read, and I find that unlikely. I’m sure there is, they just aren’t aware of it. But personally I know that there is quite a bit that I want to read, that is acclaimed and awarded and that I probably would enjoy, I just can’t get it all. I can’t have everything. I’m not a library, though I’ve acted like it at times. So, yeah, there are titles I’m passing over, even titles that I’ve dropped or plan on dropping at the end of the current storyline, where it’s not only objectively good but I’m also enjoying it, but there’s just too much. There’s just too much good stuff right now.

That’s not to say there isn’t stuff that isn’t to my taste, or that I genuinely think is poorly done or even downright bad, but I’m actively trying to focus on the good. Snark poisons the souls of those that consistently employ it as a way of social interaction.
19 March 2014 @ 12:21 pm
If someone comes to you and says that you’ve hurt their feelings in some ways there are a number of responses possible.

1) Deny any personal wrongdoing. You may find yourself using the phrase “I’m sorry you feel that way” as an apology that doesn’t admit culpability.

2) Get hurt. Say that you are now being attacked and refuse to further the conversation until your feelings have been assuaged. This is classic passive aggressive manipulation.

3) Get defensive. This is the blatantly aggressive version of option 2. Use anger and even personal attacks to get them to withdraw their complaint and most importantly to dissuade them from ever bringing things up again.

4) Listen to the concerns and consider them from the other person’s point of view.

If you’rea guy reading a Feminist piece and your reactions are 1 through 3 then you really are the exact problem that they are facing. Also, if you react that way in your personal life then you are doing this whole "human" thing very poorly.

This was all kicked off by a piece where a blogger said that she was tired of talking about feminism to men and it got me thinking. In brief, it's not the feminists that make it a "men versus women" issue, it's the men that don't make the effort to care that cause it to be framed that way. We need to be better.
06 March 2014 @ 12:50 pm

I've been hesitant to get into the cosplay thing (i.e. dressing up as characters, typically as part of attending conventions or other pop culture related events). A lot of that is due to my body issues and a lack of characters that I'd feel comfortable dressing as. I don't know if I'm over the body issues, but once I decided I could dress as a male version of a female character (colloquially known as genderbent cosplay) it became easier to see myself dressed up. So the first thing I’m working on is the aforementioned Dark Phoenix. I’ll probably pair the top with a black kilt, there are some good looking ones I’ve been eying.

I found a shirt on Etsy that got me thinking about doing something as Rogue, another member of the X-Men. I tried to link to the shirt but I guess it’s sold now. I should be able to find another eventually. Rogue was one of the major entry characters for me when I started reading Uncanny X-Men in 1990, she really perfectly sums up so many feelings of being a teenager.

If I dressed as a male version of Yuri from the Dirty Pair, well, that would probably only be for at home and private parties.

01 March 2014 @ 12:24 pm
How does anyone every get off of Etsy? Seriously, it's crazy difficult to pull myself away, I keep finding more and more cutely fun things that I want.

I'm really really really looking forward to the latex Dark Phoenix costume that I ordered from Vengeance Designs. I'm just having her do it as a shirt instead of the full catsuit shown here. I plan on wearing it to Cleveland ConCoction.

Becca thinks I should also do a kilted version of Captain Reynolds from Firefly/Serenity, and I certainly can't argue with that. That would be pretty darn popular too.

OK, things to do, socializations to have.
Somebody I know is doing an Indiegogo campaign for a good book, Shibari You Can Use. It's worth checking out.

Over at Kickstarter, here's a Gothic murder mystery I'm looking forward to reading. I bought a preview book at the Cleveland Comic Con and it was good stuff.

Another Kickstarter I might go in for, a graphic novel where the writer got inspiration from his son with Down's syndrome.

And one more Kickstarter, this time an artist is detailing how superheroes helped him get over sexual abuse.

Go get some.
02 December 2013 @ 11:35 pm

Do me a favor, please. The next time I say something thoughtful or considerate don't judge me, don't think of me as a good person, just think of the statement by itself.

My point is don't make a judgement about a person based on limited experience. You see a few nice things online, but that could be a crafted persona to cover up their tiny little selfish heart. Or you see or hear that someone did such and such mean thing, well, they could have done countless kind things of which you are unaware. The only real way to judge someone is by how they act when they aren't aware that anyone is watching them.

And that there is the bitter truth of it all, you may never really know a person's true self. Hell, it's likely most people don't even know their own true selves so how are others expected to find it. We're all multifaceted mirrors around a hidden core, so be careful when imaging what you think is inside.

16 November 2013 @ 09:37 pm

Another Saturday night spent at home despite having various social things that I'd have liked to have attended. It's not that I don't want to go out, it's more that there just wasn't enough left of me by the end of the day.

Thankfully got a few necessary things done, setting up a savings account and getting Becca to the dentist, but there are a lot of things left to do. We still need to take the a/c out of the bedroom window, do thank you cards and gifts from the wedding, separate clothes out for donation, and more. Right this minute it's time to do the dishes.

Despite its attempts to be big and exciting most the X-Men: Battle of the Atom crossover finale left me rather underwhelmed. I think a lot of that was just that the giant cast was too unwieldy, hell, most of them were barely glimpsed outside of the establishing shot. The deaths were even more hollow than the ones in these types of things typically are. And while it mildly changes the status quo for one title, All-New X-Men, the rest will be completely unchanged.

The epilogue that was done by Brian Wood was the best part of the book with an actual consideration towards characters and the connections between them.

One of the things it really did for me was show that I made the right choice in dropping All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men, they still don't feel like they have any sense of direction.

All in all it's certainly not the worst X-Men crossover ever, but as a long-time X-Men reader I'd label it as below average. Looking back on it there were only a few memorable moments, and the rest is already fading away.
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I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships and interactions, for obvious reasons. I don’t really have enough on any of my thoughts to really drag it out to a full entry so here are some things I've posted to Facebook. Please excuse the lack of transitions.
There are two phrases that should never be followed by "but" with a partner and they are "I'm sorry" and "I love you." While the beginning phrases are used to soften the blow of what comes after the conjunction, the use of that word just undermines the sincerity of them.

Sure, it's a subtle thing, but words have weight and when constantly used in a particular way that weight just increases. If you don't see the point I'm getting at then change "but" to "with the reservation that" and see how it feels -
"I'm sorry, with the reservation that it was in some way not my fault."
"I love you, with the reservation that I don't like this thing about you."
One of the biggest problems with many of the so-called romantic stories of popular media that are directed towards a male or general audience is how often they espouse the idea that persistence will win over someone. It encourages creepy stalker behavior and also feels uncomfortably rapey. Wearing someone down until they relent to your attention isn't romance, that's abuse.

The other trope of love stories I think is harmful toward healthy relationships is ardent love towards someone that is barely known. If you haven't interacted with someone, if you can't say that you are friends, then you are not in love with them, instead you are in love with the idea of them that you have formed in your head. If we're being nice it's called lust, but it's really just being cray-cray.

And while the chase and hard-to-get dynamic is valid and works for a good many people, I feel like it is over-represented in media because of how easy it is to get drama out of it. It’s easy for lazy writers to tell a story using it. And since it is so very often shown that the way to get love is through persistence, it provides justification to the creepy stalkers that it’s ok to keeping going even if someone directly says they are not interested. And that right there is a giant problem.
It's difficult to teach where the line divides being thoughtful towards others' feelings versus taking care of oneself. It's often something people need to decide for themselves.