(Open Thread) The Whitewashing of Sailor Moon (And Other Anime)

Sailormoondic

Chaka Cumberbatch’s article about white fandom’s bullshit towards her Sailor Venus cosplay (Which by the way is the best Sailor Venus cosplay. EVER.) set off a train of thoughts which got me thinking about how the US dubbing of anime.

Because I’m always so out of touch with the current, I don’t know if this is still the case but I do know that in the previous decade, anime dubbed in the US which are targeted at children (though some of them are targeted at teenagers back in Japan) have a strong tendency to give the English names to the Japanese characters.

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(Open discussion) What does it mean when fandoms routinely isolate systemic and institutional oppression from its analysis of a character or story?

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of seeing any kind of analysis or critique of marginalized characters (particularly women of color) focus on why someone likes them or hates them, or why they’re good or bad.

Honestly, it’s so bland, and having had my community organizing goggles readjusted, I realize that it’s not nearly as important as how systemic and institutional oppression are reflected, reinforced, and/or subverted in the story.

I know that not everybody does that. Hell, even people I find to be usually on point seem to deflect or ignore this shit, especially when it comes to characters are sit on the intersections of marginalization (race and gender, disability and sexuality, etc.).

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(open thread) Women in Open World games

Now with the the fifth installment to the GTA franchise underway.  Then I was wondering when do the women take center stage in the Open world narrative? I want to know what’s you opinions on the matter. What do you think about this. Should women stay in the side and let the men take center stage or do think that they can pull it off?

Further reading:

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/152382-the-problem-of-the-female-gangster/

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.308448-Do-you-think-that-the-reason-females-arent-main-characters-in-violent-games-is-because

http://www.joystiq.com/2012/06/06/the-true-story-of-sleeping-dogs-non-true-crime-origins/

http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2012/06/06/sleeping-dogs-was-originally-black-lotus/

http://www.vg247.com/2012/06/06/sleeping-dogs-began-as-black-lotus-not-a-true-crime-game/

In a few days time, I’ll will post my idea cast for an open world game.

(Open discussion) Blockbuster Season: May Casting Call Movie Sugesstions

Since Summer Blockbusters are here. I’m going to do a special in the course of summer season. At the month of May, we are going to do casting call or dreamcasting.  In the era of sequels, reboots and adaptations, we see people that don’t fit the role….AT ALL (CISWash). So with that being said. I present you the month of May Casting Call. During the month of May we’ll pitch a movie or a show idea with a premise, casting choice and get feedback. Then In the months of June and July I’ll do an video review of the movies both good and bad.

So please  what type of movie you want to see, the plot, theme and who do you want to star in it and why? So please pitch Ars Marginal an idea. It can be anything. Orginal, Remake, reboot or anther take on a story. Please Title the topic May Casting Call for (Insert Title)

De-centering Whiteness in storytelling

One of the great things I’ve come to enjoy about being an Evil Regal woman of color is how that has allowed me a new prism through which to view the stories I’m being told on a daily basis. My infatuation with Lana Parrilla aside, it’s given me a great way to practice de-centering Whiteness in narrative media. Ever since I first asked, “What if Regina/The Evil Queen from Once Upon a Time isn’t White?” I’ve gotten a lot better at doing this. I’ve started picking up patterns and questioning the narrative that they’re trying to feed me.

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Open discussion: Things I learned from TV

Over on Tumblr, there’s a great thread going on about what we learn about life and people by watching TV. Since this is Ars Marginal, and this is the sort of thing we talk about, why don’t we continue the conversation here?

Here are a few things I learned:

  1. Bisexual means lesbian until the straight White guy comes along.
  2. Only 2 types of people talk about race: neo-Nazi skinhead KKK mofos and paranoid militant Black people with chips on their shoulders.
  3. All lesbians want sperm donors to make babies. Failing that, adopting a Chinese girl would do.
  4. Disabled people don’t have lives like the rest of us. They exist to be symbols of the human spirit.
  5. Everyone in NYC has glamorous media jobs that pay enough to live in huge Manhattan apartments that don’t have mice or roaches.

What did you learn from TV?

Open Thread: Opinion on The Runaways from Marvel Comics

I’m going to do a video review of the Runaways (much like Linkara and Kazel5). Since I read some much good things about The Runaways. I asked my friends if they heard of the comic, but they never heard of it. But I want to see what people think of the comic book. i mean do you like it or hate it? What was it that drew you into this comic? Mind you before i do the Review i want to have some other opinions before I go online and make a fool out of myself. Thanks you taking time out to help me. (Note: I could of add a pic but my terminal is acting up)

 

looking to hear from ya.

Open discussion: The Chosen One cliche

You read about it in books, see it in movies, and play it in video games.

In so many stories, when there’s a Huge Menace or Big Evil threatening the world, only one person who has been chosen by destiny is fated to defeat it. That person is the Chosen One.

Can I just state, for the record, that I hate the shit out of this?

Besides the fact that it’s lazy storytelling — after all, it’s a lot easier to say Destiny Said So than to give protagonists real reasons to make real choices that have an impact on the world — there’s also the fact that most of the time, the Chosen One cliche says some pretty side-eye-worthy things about the world and who matters. If the Chosen One is the only one with the ability to fight Real Evil, and this individual is more often than not male, White, straight, cisgender, middle to upper class, young (or rather not middle-aged or old), able-bodied, and has no mental illnesses, what does that say about the people who don’t fit that mold? Are they too weak? Too stupid? Evil themselves?

Let’s look at this logically even though the cliche itself makes no fucking sense. Let’s look at history. Do you know what we call people who believe they have a special destiny that they must impose upon the world for its own good? Narcissists and megalomaniacs. These are not traits that go well with things like compassion, which is one of those crucial hero type qualities.

Not to mention, when you look at the really old myths and legends, those Chosen One types tend to come from the underclass and shake up the status quo rather than preserve it. What scares the Bad Guys about people trying to change things is that they never see it coming. Because they value only power, when they look for threats, they overlook those they consider powerless. They never realize that one of these days, the people they exploit and abuse will get sick of their shit and someone will decide to do something about it.

So let’s do away with the Chosen One. Let’s leave prophecy and fate out of what makes someone a hero. What do you think are some ways we can do that?

Why Fangs for the Fantasy?

It’s vaguely possibly you’ve noticed I’m involved in the running of Fangs for the Fantasy by my oh-so-subtle plugging. But yes I’m one of the ones behind it and I likes it I does. But there’s always the question of why, especially given how little time I have and how much time it takes.

Well, let me count the ways. I like Fangs, I like the reviews, I like an opportunity to snark, I like the new series its exposed me to and because it’s fun, lots of fun.

But also because I think it’s important. Especially analysing books from a social justice perspective. Yes, analysing fluffy, trashy, frequently silly Urban fantasy is important. Especially since it’s popular and, if anything, becoming more so and establishing itself very firmly as its own genre.

Our society is shaped by the media. In fact I think the media is one of the grand pillars of our culture. The media we consume reflects the stereotypes and tropes of society, reinforces them, encourages them and spreads them. We as a society, as a culture, as people are shaped by the books we read, the television we watch, the films we see and the games we play.

When we see the same type of people showcased front and centre, the same stereotypes paraded, the same groups erased, the same insults given, the same bad behaviour showcased, excused or justified and generally the same prejudiced, and –ism scented problems repeated again and again then yes it shapes us.

And I know there are people out there saying “but why urban fantasy? Who cares about sexist werewolves or homophobic vampires or racist witches?” there are many reasons – I can talk about how we tend NOT to analyse these types of books so the genre is even more unchallenged and just accepted. I can tell you it’s because I love the genre – I really do – and as such I want to be able to consume it without sporks and with more joy; as something I love, I want it to do better. But most of all, it’s because if we’re going to challenge any media, it has to be popular fiction that is consumed broadly for entertainment.

What do you think shapes culture more? A verbose, dense literary fiction artistic epic read by English literature professors in a university congratulating each other on how wonderfully dense and nigh incomprehensible it is, so full of metaphor and depth? Or Twilight? Or True Blood? A series that is read by thousands if not millions, turned into a TV series or a film and watched by yet more? Personally, I think it’s the latter that will have the greatest effect on our culture.

I also don’t think that you can truly change culture without addressing the media. Ultimately, no matter how many laws we pass saying that misogyny, homophobia, racism, transphobia, ableism et al are Not OK, no matter how much we fight, no matter how many bigots we vanquish, if everyone goes back home to books and TV full of hate speech and stereotypes and tropes and marginalised servants and villains or – and most commonly – to fictional worlds where we don’t even exist – then how much can you change? “Hearts and Minds” are the key here – and it’s in the pages of books and the light of the TV screen where we will reach them.

Yet if you turn round and say you’re going to analyse the dusty book of pretention everyone will nod and smile. Say you’re going to analyse True Blood and we get “it’s only fantasy! Don’t take it so seriously!” It’s a genre that seems to actively resist and deny analysis even more than most.

Do I claim I’m doing some massive cultural changing thing? Gods no. I snark too much for that :P. But it matters, it does matter.

Also, of course, I need to say the inevitable – we have yet to read/watch a perfect book/TV programme. We have always found something to criticise. That’s not because we’re joyless curmudgeons who hate everything – it’s because our society is so well and truly messed up that it’s nearly impossible to produce something lacking in problematic issues in a society that has saturated us with them. I say again, criticism does not mean “I loathe this book and all it stands for!” it means there are problematic elements that could be – need to be – better. For our opinion on the book, check the fang rating (and if it’s 0.5 fangs? Yes, I did loathe that book and all it stands for!). I will say that we’ll never just say “I hate it.” There’ll always be a why – so even on a negative review you can be a recommend – since you can see “oh Sparky hated this book because he loathes X, Y and Z. I actually quite like them so this book is worth reading”.

So, yes, Fangs. I like it.