Straightwashing over GBLT characters

Well, there are certain genres of media that automatically assume that GBLT people couldn’t possibly have existed, especially if it’s set in the future (especially in dystopians. I tell you guys, us GBLT folks are super freaking tasty – the zombies and aliens go right for us!) and especially if it’s set in the past. Because we all arrived in 1960, don’tchaknow.

This erasure annoys me, it truly does. But do you know what annoys me even more?

When they remove already existing gay characters to sanitise a work for television. To have those few tiny crumbs we’ve actually managed to achieve removed lest it hurt the delicate fee-fees of the poor straight world.

So when Tanya Huff’s Blood Ties series of books became a TV show, bisexual Henry became straight and gay man Tony was replaced by a straight woman. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a big fan for the portrayal in the books – but that doesn’t excuse cutting them out entirely.

Or did you know that in the Walking Dead comics, there were actually gay characters in the prison? Again, I actually hated how they were portrayed because they were a mess of homophobic tropes – but they were there. TV show? 3 series now and not one damn GBLT character.

Even Troy crosses the line with a very straight retelling of the Illiad.

To rub some more salt in the wound, we get an extra straight washing when it comes to historical portrayals

Some are “subtle”, like Enigma which is pretty-damn-obviously-based on Alan Turing, only without all that icky gay.

Or Shakespeare in Love with a very straight Shakespeare. Yes, he was one of ours, deal with it – no it’s not controversial, he wrote love sonnets to men for crying out loud.

Now we’re getting Da Vinci’s Demons, that would be Leonardo Da Vinci, he was repeatedly accused of sodomy, never married, was never connected to a female lover, but repeatedly with men, drew erotic pictures of them and left his most valuable painting in his will to one of his live-in “apprentices” Da Vinci. It’s an act of wilful ignorance to not realise Da Vinci played for our team. In fact, if you don’t want to include us icky gay people then you probably need to stay away from Renaissance painters – especially Florentine Renaissance painters! But Da Vinci’s Demons? Well his love interest has been cast (a woman) and the trailer shows lots of naked sexy times between them. But, fear not, the writer has assured us that there may, sorta, kinda be some male flirting. FLIRTING!

I’m not nearly drunk enough for this.

Then let’s throw in some historical settings. Ancient Greece? Straightest of straightopias that ever declared the overwhelming joy of vaginas and penises being united! Really. Or so 300 tells me and Troy and so many more – I’ve actually read over 5 series using the Ancient Greek gods that are entirely straight. One actually has a homophobic Apollo. Apollo, homophobic. It makes me want to beat someone round the head and shoulders with a mythology text.

It’s not like these examples are one offs, straightening history has been a major habit of the media’s for a very long time. In fact, straightening us in general seems to be a massive requirement and reason #866 why I don’t watch these dancing reality shows is I’m sick of seeing gay celebrities shoved automatically into opposite sex pairs for dancing.

For that matter, straightening history has been a major part of society and academia for a long time. References to GBLT people throughout history have long been buried by academia and that’s on top of the forces of homophobia and transphobia that forced our predecessors to hide and closet themselves when they were alive.

Our past is often hidden from us. Those who come before have been removed from history or been forced into a closet that has lasted decades or centuries after death – perhaps even forever. Our heroes, our past, our foreparents have been lost, taken from us, and that is a terrible loss. It becomes hard to almost impossible to find those who came before us as not only has the closet forced individuals to hide their sexuality, but for much of history denied the existence of the identity itself and denied us a coherent language with which to define that identity and personhood (which is why I really really have no patience with anyone saying “but they wouldn’t have called themselves gay” excuse people love to trot out. For so much of history the only mainstream words for people like us were insults or euphemisms).

And once we’ve found those of us who were rendered invisible it becomes extra impossible to reclaim them from under the tide of heterosexism, cissexism, homophobia and transphobia. So much of the world resists any indication that GBLT people existed in the past (or exists today for that matter). Society also continues to consider being GBLT to be some kind of terrible, shameful thing meaning any attempt to try and find our forbearers is regarded as an attack or attempt to corrupt previous figures. Just look at the Greek lawyers threatening lawsuits on anyone who dared to suggest that Alexander the Great may have loved men.

Most tellingly, they will often say “this person is dead, they can’t defend themselves” because, y’know, being GBLT is an accusation you need to defend yourself against. Or it’s considered “demeaning” because whatever the figure did is suddenly rendered moot by us spilling the icky gay on them! Whatever achievements or brilliant reputation they managed to maintain can only possibly be preserved if they are straight.

It’s hard enough to try and dig up historical GBLT people in the first place with our prejudiced society, harder still to hold them out of the closet and present them as they were with the constant forces deciding to bury us or hold that we’re too obscene and need to be hidden from, well, everyone.

I am British. I went to a British school. I went to a British school during section 28. I didn’t know who Alan Turing was, imagine that for a second. Never mind Shakespeare, Marlowe and Da Vinci, I thought Oscar Wilde was straight. I was taught Oscar Wilde was straight. I didn’t know GBLT people were holocaust victims. There has been a movement for GBLT equality in the UK since even before the Mollies of the Victorian period. I still don’t know enough about it, I can’t find enough about it or the brave heroes involved, I certainly was never taught their names. I never knew Polari existed. I never heard of Edward Carpenter, John Symonds, Labi Siffre, Magnus Hirschfeld, Mother Clap, Roberta Cowell, Jeremy Bentham, the Lily Pond and so many others whose names and places are lost to history.

So this is my context. Our history is not only lost but actively removed and vehemently silenced. And then I turn on the television and find not only erasure, not only straightwashed characters who dared to be gay in books but was a step too far on the screen, but actual historical figures, one of the precious few we’ve managed to reclaim, being straightened for public consumption.

DC Comics Screwing Up – The Trap Card

Hello everyone and welcome to yet another installment of DC Comics Fucking Up that I like to call… The Trap Card!

Here it is on youtube:

And here it is on Blip.TV:

And for further information, I’ve included some of the links that delves further into some of the things I mentioned in the video.
Chris Sprouse Leaves Adventures of Anthology #1.

Interview With Richard Neal of Zeus’ Comics

USA Today Discusses Chris Sprouse Leaving The Superman Anthology.

Summit Entertainment Executives Nervous About Adapting Homophobic Bigot’s Book Into Movie And People Finding Out That The Movie Is Based Off Of A Homophobic Bigot’s Book.

Sinking Ships – The Ginnifer Torpedo

Hello everyone, and welcome to a special episode in which I discuss actress Ginnifer Goodwin’s homophobic comments about the fan ship, SwanQueen, which si the pairing of Regina Mills and Emma Swan.

And here it is again on blip.tv.

Enjoy!

Look at more of Linnpuzzle’s artwork here.

Look at more of hamstr’s artwork here.

Pitch Perfect – Fuck This Movie

Hello everyone!

Due to a massive amount of sickness I got hit with this month that smashed apart any plans I had, there won’t be a new episode of Brain Food or Voices of Dissent this month. It’s just the way things go, sometimes.

However, before we left this month off, I did want to do a short review on a musical comedy released last year that completely flew over my head (a side effect of living so damned far up North despite Internet access) and that’s Pitch Perfect. Now, from the header you can pretty much gather that I was not a fan of this movie, and here are the reasons why.

1. White People Singing And Dancing

The plot revolves around the Bellas, an all-womens group of singers in a form of music I’ve never heard before called Acopoco. It’s where you all sing and add in the backbeats and tone and rhythm without any instruments. This type of movie also belongs to a genre of entertainment that RVCbard, in a conversation with me regarding this movie, called “White People Can Sing & Dance Too.”

And my answer, after seeing the movie, is that no, they can’t. WE can’t! I literally sat with my face in my hands during ANY of the singing segments because it was so damned embarrassing. I was playing Kingdom Rush on my iPod while watching this movie, just trying to get through it!

Watching those segments of the movie was like watching people fail in their auditioning for Canadian/American Idol, it was gut-wrenchingly bad. It’s like they’re trying to prove they’ve got rhythm SO BAD…

2. Diversity

Lets look at the poster for this, shall we?

So, out of that group of white women, we have one black woman, and one Asian woman… and that’s about it.

The plus-sized white woman is called Fat Amy, played by Rebel Wilson, and it’s a title she gives herself and isn’t ashamed of, and the movie does do good in depicting her as an actual character whose sole interest isn’t food, although there are a fair amount of food jokes in it.

The black woman is Cynthia Rose, played by Ester Dean.

She’s also a lesbian, and one might think “Hey, a woman of colour who is also gay and not the Hollywood Ideal Shape with some awesome hair! Great!”

Well, I did too, and then after her introduction, the rest of the movie happened. See, her being a lesbian is played up as a joke half the time and the behaviour she exhibits is problematic, to say the least. She acts in ways that would be considered lewd and rude from men, but the movie plays it off for laughs. She feels up the straight women, she scopes them out up close, at one point nearly shoving her face into the cleavage of the member of the group who is promiscuous (and which the film labels as a slut and also plays that up for laughs).

There’s also a scene near the end before the final championship match, contest, whatever Acupulcola Sugar Free music singing does, where the Bellas are sharing their darkest secrets, and she admits that she has a gambling problem. Fat Amy makes some stupid snide remarks about her ‘coming out’ and even though Ester Dean plays Cynthia Rose as someone who is confident in their sexuality and without guilt about it, the movie itself is again making fun of her, and the whole thing came off as homophobic and racist.

I should also mention that the leading characters of Chloe, played by Brittany Snow)

And Chloe (played by Anna Kendrick)

Were supposed to be gay and get together, but that was written out.

Oh, and Chloe was a redhead…

Then we have Lily, played by Hana Mae Lee.

Her ENTIRE character is that she’s a Shy Girl who speaks so softly almost no one can hear her… and she’s a pyromaniac, too. This ties in too much with the Shy Asian Girl stereotype, and Lily grows none whatsoever throughout the entire movie. Her character is a one note joke at the start of the movie, and it’s a one note joke at the end of the movie.

3. Nice Guys Always Win.

Once more, the nice guy wins and gets the girl, despite being a creeping, passive-aggressive shithead and despite the two having Negative Chemistry together.

I am talking about Jesse, as played by Skylar Astin.

This guy all but stalks Beca from the start of the film, is generally annoying, has almost no charisma, and wins her over by constantly harassing her at work in the university radio station they both work at, coming over to her room, and by showing her movies and acting shocked and mortified that she hasn’t seen the ending of the  ‘greats’ like The Breakfast Club and other stuff.

This is some nice guy heteronormative bullshit here, and I wanted Beca to slap him, drive him out of her room, and get with Chloe. At least those two had some chemistry together.

And speaking of Beca, we come to my final complaint about this movie:

4. White Middle Class Privilege

Beca is attending a pretty damned good university FOR FREE since her father, a tenured professor there, is paying her way… her entire way.

But she doesn’t want that as she wants to go to Los Angeles and become a DJ and remix music.

Now, I like Beca, I do, but good lord if her whining over having to attend university for free didn’t grate on my nerves! A free ride through university in terms of costs?! Hell, what I wouldn’t give for that now, considering that I myself am going back to school for further job training.

It’s not to say that I didn’t have help from my parents, because I did, and I’m eternally grateful for everything they’ve done for me in terms of the support, be it food or money or lending me a vehicle after mine was smahed in an accident, and love, but Beca acts like a spoiled brat at the beginning. Post-secondary education is expensive up here in Canada and, from what I’ve heard, really expensive down in the US, so I doubt that she came off as sympathetic to those who are struggling to pay the costs of attending university, either currently or afterwards. Hell, I’m still paying off student loans!

The last few years have shown especially the gap between the upper and middle class growing, and even more people becoming lower class and the working poor, as one report called it, and that has always had a huge effect on people of colour, yet Beca is complaining about having this free ride! The movie ends with her staying in university after the first year, but hell, who’s to say she couldn’t pursue her love of music? She’s literally soaking in her white, upper middle class privilege and it really made me shake my head and sigh.

In short, fuck this movie. What little good it has is outweighed by the bad, and you can find better movies elsewhere to watch that have a richer, more diverse cast of characters who are deeper and more developed.

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?