James Gunn is a sexist, racist, homophobic asshole…

… and he’s also slated to be the director and co-writer of next year’s Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy.

But why is he such an asshole? Well, because he wrote a darling piece on his own website, the second poll release of the top 50 superheroes you most want to have sex with, and it’s everybit as classy and tasteful as it is.

Which is to say it isn’t.

Now that it’s gotten some buzz, James took it down but this is the internet, asshole! You may TRY and take it down, but it remains up there forever and ever, digital bits and bytes showcasing your shitty behaviour towards everyone who doesn’t fall into your neat, strict little category of what’s normal.

Kudoes  to The Mary Sue for linking me to the Google Cache of that garbage article.

Here are some of the highlights:

32. Batwoman

This lesbian character was voted for almost exclusively by men. I don’t know exactly what that means.  But I’m hoping for a Marvel-DC crossover so that Tony Stark can “turn” her.  She could also have sex with Nightwing and probably still be technically considered a lesbian.

I don’t want to post anymore than that, but leave the link for you to follow and read. And of course, nearly ALL the pictures used for the women are the most cheesecake, pinup girl-ish that he could find from the more porntastic of the industry’s finest, such as Adam Hughs and Al Rio.

Once more, it’s the same old song and dance, the same old garbage of the Old Boys Club being as insulting and as exclusionary and as homophobic as usual because god forbid that anyone who isn’t straight, white, and male enjoy what they enjoy or maybe even point out that something, SOMETHING, is off, or wrong, oroffensive.

I am SO sick of this garbage, because this is what they view as normal. Reduce Wonder Woman to a bondage kink S&M sex doll? Normal, because it’s not like she’s a deep and complex character with a long history-

Oh wait, she isn’t because DC Comics erased it. >_<

But again, this is the norm, this kind of thoughtlessness hidden behind ‘humour’ and a shitty attitude towards women and people of colour and LGBT and those who intersect across all those areas. Yeah, I’m not seeing this movie, and it might not matter all that much to a company like Marvel that they don’t get my 12 dollars, but it sure as hell matters to me.

Plus, one other area of concern is one of the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gamora, who was written as a lesbian in recent years, having, from all accounts, a deep and complex relationship with the new Quasar, a woman. How many wanna bet her orientation will be erased or ignored?

Character Versus Narrative: Arrow’s Diggle

(spoilers for the CW’s Arrow ahead)

I’ve been watching and enjoying Arrow lately.  And one character, Green Arrow’s bodyguard / partner / sidekick John Diggle, has made me think a lot about the way characters are presented in-universe versus their actual role in the narrative.  Specifically, I started thinking about this in regard to race.

And getting mad.

In a lot of ways, I love how they present Diggle.  But then I look at that presentation from outside the show, and I hesitate:

How the show presents him: He’s black and Oliver Queen / Green Arrow’s not only white, but a white rich kid son of a billinaire whom Diggle is initially hired to protect . . . and this doesn’t go unmentioned.  Diggle’s sister-in-law specifically asks him about following a couple of rich white boys around, in a conversation that clearly places these people as central to their own lives, and not characters who look for white employers to attach themselves to.  Which I like!
Except: In the show, his character does work for the Queens, and he is a secondary, supporting character to the rich, white Oliver Queen, who is the protagonist of the show.

How the show presents him: He’s a military veteran who cares deeply about his country.  When Oliver compares the two of them, Diggle has nothing but contempt: he tells Oliver that no matter what happened when Oliver was shipwrecked, he’s NOT a soldier, and will NEVER know what it means to be one.
Except: Oliver’s the one who starts the social crusade first, and is portrayed as the one who figured out how to make a difference and from whom Diggle needed guidance to do the same.  After his initial resistance, Diggle joins Oliver on his crusade, implicitly granting credence to the idea that Oliver has found the right way to make the world better.

How the show presents him: Diggle explicitly tells Oliver when he joins him that he’s not there to be a sidekick.
Except: On the show, Oliver is, again, the protagonist, and Diggle is supporting, so his role in the show is as sidekick.  Oliver’s the one who founded the whole operation and has been the one spearheading the plans and dictating the way they operate.  He invites Diggle to join him like he’s favorably rewarding a good puppy, and shuts down his suggestions because this is “his” operation.  Also, Oliver’s the one who kills the man who murdered Diggle’s brother (without any acknowledgement thereof), taking a good chunk of Diggle’s agency away from one of his own storylines.

How the show presents him: Diggle emphasized again in the latest episode that he’s there to work with Oliver, not for him.
Except: Diggle doesn’t actually join Oliver for any of the action in the episode; Green Arrow always goes in alone.  Also, Diggle has to push and manipulate Oliver into taking the case, which Oliver only starts to care about after it intersects with his own goals . . . and only then does he become invested.  As always, the narrative does not punish Oliver for this behavior.

How the show presents him: Diggle served in Iraq, is a personal bodyguard, and can kick every type of motherlovin’ ass.
Except: Because he’s the hero, Oliver always has to be shown as being better at kicking ass.  Not only does Green Arrow get more amazing action sequences, but Oliver beats up Diggle every time they go head to head (before they team up, and later while sparring) with a physical superiority that borders on humiliating.

I feel like I see this a lot in media.  The female character is vocal about being able to take care of herself, but the narrative still puts her in a position from which she needs to be rescued.  The minority characters might be shown to be just as competent as the white characters, but they still somehow end up dying first.  The character of color calls the white lead out on being selfish and thinking the world is All About Him, but because he’s the lead, the show is All About Him.

Just look at the African-American Police Chief trope—in all of those shows, the black guy/gal has done better and advanced farther than the white protagonist in universe, but still isn’t allowed to be the hero.  Gah!

As much as I do want writers to make women and characters of color equal through characterization, it’s lip service when the plot and narrative still put those characters in second place to the white men.

Link: Once Upon a Time and Family-Friendly Relationships

I feel a little odd posting this here because I haven’t even seen enough of Once Upon a Time to follow all the excellent meta that’s been posted here already; I’ve only seen a handful of episodes.  But I thought it was worth sharing:

“They’re Not Going to Kiss. It’s a Family Show.” (link to my blog)

But seriously, we live in a world in which we can have a show that vomits romance and True Love and Kissing Solves Everything Even Dark Magic(tm) all over the screen and when I say I want a certain romance to happen on that show, when I say, “Man I want those two characters to kiss already!”, the response can be . . . “Nope, sorry, it’s a family show“????

The rant is more about society than it is about the show itself: the way OUAT has set itself up with the “family show” label, and the double-standard that means they can show gobs and gobs of opposite-sex kissing but the chance of a same-sex relationship is slim to none.

Which, what?  Why does a show have to be “edgy” for even a sweet, non-explicit same-sex romance to be likely?  Why can’t we apply the same standard to same-sex kisses that we do to opposite-sex ones?  Why, when I watch a show overflowing with couples, is the one romantic pairing I like dead before it started, just because it happens to be two women?  What the fuck is that?

I don’t mind that OUAT wants to give itself a “family” label.  But I feel infuriated that “family” somehow means, “keep the queer out COOTIES!!”  It’s homophobic and shitty and really just stupid.

(Note: I’m not privy to OUAT’s marketing strategies, so maybe I’m totally off base and idiotically assuming and they don’t consider same-sex couples to be taboo at all.  Maybe they’ve been building up the couple I like from the beginning.  It’s possible.  I will gladly, GLADLY proclaim I am wrong on this one if that happens.)

Identifying with Regina and a reflection on the Strong Black Woman (TM)

Reposed from Tumblr.

If you haven’t already, you should read Melissa V. Harris-Perry’s Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. It goes into more depth with a lot of the things I’m going to raise here. If you’re curious about how certain ideas about Black women have an effect on our individual and collective well-being, you should check it out.

Now, let’s get started.

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Critical thoughts on “Once Upon A Time” and fandom

Over on Tumblr, I’ve been carving out a niche in the Once Upon A Time fandom for a place where we can critically analyze the show and the fandom, with a special emphasis on the messages it sends and what people take from it.

For the most part, I kept a lot of that stuff over there because my Tumblr is the place where I can really relax and let my freak flag fly. That said, I do want to start bringing some of my OUAT stuff over here because it’s relevant to Ars Marginal.

Keep coming back and bring some friends because it’s going to get pretty interesting now.

And Then GMX Happened

Yours truly has a guest post on the Outer Alliance Blog recounting my adventures at GMX and the special experience I had on the LGBTQ panel.

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I couldn’t explain why but I had been excited about Geek Media Expo for weeks leading up to the event. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always jazzed whenever I have the opportunity to attend a con whether as a fan or a panelist, but there was an infectious energy about GMX that I just couldn’t put my finger on. With the con being in Nashville and so many friends and loved ones being involved and attending, perhaps it felt like a bit of a homecoming.

The moment I stepped inside the Marriott Convention center, I knew it was going to be one hell of a weekend.

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Do You Feel Like *Educating* Today?

Yeah, I know, it’s not our job to educate straight white cis men on this stuff.  Or people who aren’t straight white cis men but still need a clue-by-four.

But if anybody has blog posts on racism/sexism/other -isms in SFF fandom, and you want to signal boost ‘em, fantasy author Jim Hines wants to give us a platform.  Not because he wants cookies, but because on a previous post of his someone pointed out how fucked-up it is that a straight white guy who writes about the lack of inclusiveness in SFF gets close to 100 comments while the actual people being marginalized blog about it ALL THE FUCKING TIME and hear crickets.  And someone else suggested that he push his audience to read some of those more marginalized voices, since he has that well-read platform and all, and so he is.

For anyone not familiar with him, in my opinion Jim Hines is a legit ally who always tries to own his privilege and fail better, and blog about it.  I already dropped a link to Ars Marginal there, but if anyone else wants to signal-boost either your blog or individual posts that you’ve read or written that relate to SFF inclusiveness, he has a lot of readers in the greater SFF community (his blog won the fan-writer Hugo this year).