Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#123
My thoughts on this whole debate is as follows:

Representation is nice, but not necessary, unless the story is focused around it.
Take, for instance, a generic isekai story. Do we really NEED black, brown, yellow, etc. colored people to make the story work? No. Is it nice for there to be minorities in the story? In most cases, definitely.

But if we take a story whose main focus is on, say, race or sexuality, having characters of different races/sexuality is definitely needed. Representation for the sake of being P.C. is dumb and downplays minorities into being "those people we need to include" instead of being actual characters.

Think of it this way. Take, for instance, a gay character. If his sexuality isn't something the reader HAS to know, then you really don't need to be all up in the reader's face telling them that that character's gay.

In summary: don't include minorities for the sake of including minorities. Include minorities if it makes sense to include minorities.

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#124
I've never had a problem enjoying entertainment featuring characters that don't look or act like me. Also, I often like genres that are not traditionally masculine more than genres that are. For instance, I prefer romantic comedy to martial arts flicks.

That said, I enjoy these things because they are entertainment first and foremost. If they have a message, it is subtly incorporated. I can't stand being propagandized or preached to. In years gone by, I would avoid Christian movies because they tended to be overtly preachy (despite being a Christian myself). Because the creators got so fixated on delivering the message, those films often did a poor job of incorporating the message into the story and thereby lost their entertainment value. Sometimes, it just made me cringe to watch.

Likewise, I see wokeness as the new secular religion. There are plenty of modern zealots who are intent on proselytizing converts to the ranks of the faithful. Even if I agree with their viewpoints on some things, I am not interested in being force-fed propaganda.

Now, to be clear, I am not accusing anybody here of doing this. But I certainly will make the claim that much of modern Hollywood has gone that way. When I watch these films, I am taken out of the story by the awareness that they are trying to proselytize me. Inasmuch as that is the case, it turns me off. Religious fervor and entertainment are tough to balance. Often the zealotry overwhelms the desire to entertain, and only the most faithful can enjoy the resulting mess.

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#125

TheHex Wrote:
Thedude3445 Wrote: Diversity and representation is the exact reason these movies are so popular.

Jesus Christ... Are you... Blind? A vast majority of forced diversity movies have bombed in the US, and that's coming from a South American. Even we can see it. I know some people that work for DC comics, that place is doomed, all because of forced diversity. Do you honestly believe this "diversity" bullcrap is doing you any good? A few decades ago, most of my favorite actors were non-white: Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Bruce Lee, Eddie Murphy, Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes... And many others. Nowadays? I can't seem to like any of the new actors, because they all just feel like forced checkbox casts. You know what did this? Your damned 'diversity policies'. The only thing they are good for is getting high paying jobs for untalented people, just because they tick a box. But hey, i guess victimization is a good way to get cash without putting up actual effort. Diversity doing so damn good i can only remembers actors from 20 years ago— when, according to those who speak in favor of diversity, they were being opressed and being given 'no chances'. ROFL



You're lucky I'm a film buff because I can explain this issue very well. The reason there are so few Black and Asian actors in Hollywood now with the same star power as 25 years ago? Two reasons, actually. 

The first is that star power is much lower than it used to be. Movie stars make less money, and their movies make less money too. In the 90s, you could put Wesley Snipes or Jackie Chan on the poster of a movie and people would go see it. Didn't have to be about anything, they'd just see it for the movie stars they like. Now, people care more about characters, not actors. Any movie with Iron Man in it is going to be a mega hit. But Robert Downey Jr.? His non-Iron Man movies often flop really hard--nobody saw Dolittle, and have you even heard of The Judge? So, younger actors, no matter their ethnicity, just don't have the same star power they used to and it's easy to forget they exist. 

The second and more important reason is that the Four Quadrant Blockbuster destroyed diversity in Hollywood films in the early 00s. Movies in the 80s and 90s were MUCH more diverse than they have been for the past twenty years, and that is only just starting to change in the last few years. Think of the very first big superhero movies in the late 90s: Spawn, Blade, Steel (okay the last one wasn't "big"). All of them Black actors starring in blockbuster comic book films. But after Blade III/Catwoman in 2004 and Hancock in 2008, do you know the next time a Black actor was the main character of a superhero movie? 2018, with Black Panther. That was TEN YEARS of nothing. A ten year period where Black Americans (13%+ of the population) had 0% of the leading roles in any of the 100+ superhero movies released in that timeframe. Guess what happened when Black Panther finally came out? It was a mega hit and became the #2 movie of ALL TIME in the United States. People want these films, but Hollywood became obsessed with appealing to overseas markets and decided that Black main characters would be unappealing to European/Asian viewers. And they were completely wrong, it turns out, because the Fast & Furious franchise does gangbusters despite a majority non-white cast.

As I said in my original post, it isn't about ticking boxes. Token minority characters are awful and deserve all the hate they get (ESPECIALLY token gay characters, I hate this new trend in Hollywood). But having different kinds of stories told that show the lives and cultures of people who aren't the "standard" or "majority?" That's absolutely invaluable to keeping art alive, AND makes tons of money lately.

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#126

Thedude3445 Wrote: Token minority characters are awful and deserve all the hate they get (ESPECIALLY token gay characters, I hate this new trend in Hollywood).

Oh my god, you just reminded me of that atrocious "New Warriors" comic thing Marvel was pushing. Holy shit it was bad attempt at a cash grab it's not even funny anymore. I mean "Snowflake and Safespace"? Like seriously?

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#128

Lilith Wrote:
FlerpDooseMish Wrote: Think of it this way. Take, for instance, a gay character. If his sexuality isn't something the reader HAS to know, then you really don't need to be all up in the reader's face telling them that that character's gay.

In summary: don't include minorities for the sake of including minorities. Include minorities if it makes sense to include minorities.

Let's really sum this up:


"If a story isn't explicitly and specifically about being gay (or whatever), then gay/etc. people should not exist in a story."

When was the last time you whined about a story where a character is mentioned/revealed to be interested in the opposite sex? I'm guessing you haven't, because a character simply being straight is something you find acceptable, whereas a character simply being gay is "all up in the reader's face".

What you, and frankly what a lot of people here want, is a world in which they don't need to even think about the existence of people unlike themselves, where such different people and experiences don't matter at all.

I might be butting in out of place, but I will still jump straight in since I have stated something similar myself previously. I believe that what irks the majority of people criticizing "forced diversity" is exactly the forced part. I mean, do I need Dumbledor to be gay mentioned in passing? NO! Do I need cute love-stories like the one of Runaan and Ethari from The Dragon Prince? YES! It is the way how you get it served. I think that in many modern Hollywood productions, we don't get the image of members of the LGBTQ community being an integral part of the world, but instead, we get the warring lesbian or the trans-activist that slam every straight character in the face because... political agenda. I have stated previously that I had no need for Sulu from Star Trek to be gay. But I had nothing against it. It was cool, sweet to see him with his family, and looked natural. Another great example I want to give is with one of my favorite book series - the Vorkosigan Saga. There we have one of the books having a major character being trans, fighting with the prejudice of society and winning big time and with a big grin. That is a story I want to read. If I have two buff warriors fighting dragons and at the same time flirt with each other... I don't need it but it is cute. But it depends on the tone and the mastery of the author to convey feelings and integrate them into a story.  


Another point when we talk about representation is that we must understand that not every author is comfortable in writing LGBTQ characters. And I don't mean that they are some sort of fobes. No, I mean that as a writer one is bound by their imagination. To be able to flesh out and create a compelling character, one needs to understand them deeply. I speak for myself now, but I don't feel capable of writing compelling LGBTQ characters as of now, not because I hate such people but because I am afraid that I won't do them justice. And I have set a rule for myself that I don't want to shove someone in a story without giving them the appropriate depth. I fear that if I were to write a gay or trans character without the proper understanding of their lives, desires, conflicts, worldviews, it would be offensive to the whole community and frankly result in a bad character. And I believe that there is a good portion of authors and creators like that. One needs a certain level of maturity and experience to write outside of their, I don't like to call it comfort zone, world-life-experience bubble.  

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#129

Lilith Wrote: Let's really sum this up:


"If a story isn't explicitly and specifically about being gay (or whatever), then gay/etc. people should not exist in a story."

When was the last time you whined about a story where a character is mentioned/revealed to be interested in the opposite sex? I'm guessing you haven't, because a character simply being straight is something you find acceptable, whereas a character simply being gay is "all up in the reader's face".

What you, and frankly what a lot of people here want, is a world in which they don't need to even think about the existence of people unlike themselves, where such different people and experiences don't matter at all.

Way to put words in my mouth.


I never said, nor implied, that gay characters shouldn't exist if the story isn't about gay people. I'm saying you don't need to explicitly point out a character's sexuality in a story where their sexuality doesn't matter to the story. Let the readers find out naturally, whether it's through that character's actions or as the plot progresses and their sexuality comes to light. Do you really think that readers are gonna give a crap if some random character with no plot relevance is gay? No. Do you think readers would be interested if a gay character that has struggled with his sexuality throughout his life and the story comes to terms with it in the end and embraces it? Yes! That's CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.

If it will impact the story, it should be included. If it can be removed from the story without it impacting the story at all, the it probably shouldn't be blatantly included.

Minorities shouldn't be treated like some sort of endangered animal for people to gawk at. They're people too, and I'm pretty sure most of them don't want to have their entire identity be a "black guy" or a "gay guy".

But I guess you're those kinds of people who're fine with Hollywood's representation of minorities where they just smack the label of "gay" or "trans" or something else and have that be the entire identity of that character.

Edit: Ariana Vivoni puts it pretty well too, in their post. Some authors aren't confident they can write a gay character or the likes well, so they go the safe route and just don't mention that they're gay, or they just don't have any gay characters.

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#130

Lilith Wrote: No, I'm just not one of those people who sees a fleshed-out character who is also gay or trans and then immediately ignores everything about the character so they can pretend the character is nothing more than "gay" or "trans", just so they can complain about the character being nothing more than "gay" or "trans".

?


Then what was your problem with my first post?

I more or less said that we need good representation for minorities, and that slapping a big fat "gay" label in and of itself isn't good representation and is just pandering for brownie points.

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#131

FlerpDooseMish Wrote:
Thedude3445 Wrote: Token minority characters are awful and deserve all the hate they get (ESPECIALLY token gay characters, I hate this new trend in Hollywood).

Oh my god, you just reminded me of that atrocious "New Warriors" comic thing Marvel was pushing. Holy shit it was bad attempt at a cash grab it's not even funny anymore. I mean "Snowflake and Safespace"? Like seriously?



Yeah, that was one of the most embarrassing things I've seen from a major media company in recent memory. Do you really want your entire comic universe's first* nonbinary character to be named fucking "snowflake" or whatever? So awful. 

Basically the whole "woke" thing in recent media is what a lot of people now refer to as "passive progressive." Shoehorning in some REALLY MINOR thing that seems "progressive" and gets media brownie points but isn't actually advancing anything at all. Disney is the KING of passive progressive "representation." They'll add the most minor stuff possible, usually a gay character in the background, and then win some nice headlines while letting the authoritarian countries censor that background stuff out with audiences none the wiser. Nobody wants it, nobody really likes it, and nobody is really represented by anything, but as long as it APPEARS like they are being relevant then it's good enough for them. Their upcoming Marvel movie The Eternals has been getting press already for having a gay character in the main ensemble cast. Will it be important, or will it be something China and Russia and Malaysia can easily edit out? I'm expecting the latter.

This stuff is also why Deadpool will never be as good as it was with the second film. That one had the character go all out gonzo violence and mayhem and, notably, showed the character as the canonically very queer man he is in the comic version. But Deadpool is now owned by Disney, who has the choice to continue ramping up Deadpool's madness and risk bans, or to tone everything down, leave it to some references that can be snipped out, and make a little bit more money. Which do you think they will choose?

Anyway the point of this rant is, nothing Disney ever does is actually representation. It's just headline bait.

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#132
On behalf of all Australian's I'd like to say 'we're fine, we don't need it'. Not because we don't like seeing an ourselves represented in a story with an attractive, intelligent Aussie with impeccable taste and superb humour (as we all know every single Aussie is). No.

It's like you all think we are Crocodile Dundee "throw another shrimp on the barbie", but with a Kiwi accent. And none of us need that in our life, so you can keep us out of it.

Now if you will excuse me, Marvin (my pet croc) and me are gonna throw bloody some SNAGS on the farkin barbie and slam down some VB loooooooong necks once these bloody drop bears stop trying to steal me thongs *dies of skin cancer and falls out of harness, into space*.

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#133
Meh, as long as the story or the characters aren’t written to be let’s say gay. But instead just are and contribute to the story like any other character it does not matter in the slightest. Then it’s just a part of their character.

If the story tries to show it off however, all like “look at me, I’m such a diverse writer!” it goes to far. If you can’t relate to character because they are(n’t) gay/black/trans/apache-attack-helicopter (:p) than that seems like a you problem. If the authors makes a point of them being so, it becomes a story-problem. (Unless it’s a story about dealing with it, etc.)

It also shouldn’t be done in something based clearly on history. Seeing a diverse cast in a story that takes place in the cold north in medieval Europe becomes weird really quickly, everybody way up north was white-ish for a reason: with the amount of sunlight you can’t survive with darker skin. The other way around goes for deserts two!
But that is only if it is clearly based on it. Geological regions also play a part in the realism though.... (temperate forests, vs way too much sunlight deserts and way too little sunlight ice-could mountains)

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#136
Thank god my stories write themselves.....
I don't have to worry about it, my brain does.
I think the only real problem I've had that made me notice differences is whenever I accidentally call someone the wrong name.
I tend to do that a lot for everyone, though. 
I've met so many different people that the differences just blur and I get used to it easily.
Uhh. Like how faces are hard to distinguish, you know? Just, in my case, it's people in general.
I see people as people. If that makes any sense.
Carefree and friendly is good for me.
Friends are friends, I apply the same thoughts in my stories.
Everyone is unique, and I can learn from them.
Characters are also people.
Plus, I like people.
I mean, I hate humans, but I like people.
Person takes priority over human.
So <3
https%3A%2F%2Fimages-wixmp-ed30a86b8c4ca887773...SUdPceZwW8

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#138

Lilith Wrote:
Astrowoud Wrote: Seeing a diverse cast in a story that takes place in the cold north in medieval Europe becomes weird really quickly, everybody way up north was white-ish for a reason: with the amount of sunlight you can’t survive with darker skin. The other way around goes for deserts two!

...


...what? 



Ok, here we go.

It's all about pigment, skin colours that is, to be more precise: Melanin.

Melanin is a pigment that is most commonly found in living organisms, humans no different. It's also the thing that (in higher concentrations) makes your skin darker. (If I'm not wrong, it's also easily findable in birthmarks!). The complete absence of Melanin is what we call someone being an Albino.

The thing is melanin "blocks", "protect you from" might be the better sentence, sunlight. Or more precise: UV-radiation. Which is pretty important down in the deserts, where it's hot and there is a lot of intense sunlight. Without a high amount of melanin, people would burn way to easy and would be far more likely to gain skin cancer from this radiation. Today we can fix that with sunscreen. But ever wondered why an (and yes, this is gonna sound racist, but it isn't meant that way) a native African doesn't burn their skin even without sunscreen? Melanin.
People with lighter skin colours use sunscreen because it just covers your body (not in melanin), thereby blocking the UV-radiation.

This is pretty unhelpful in colder climates though. Where the protection also means that you'll lose more heat than you're gaining due to heat radiation away from your body. Not only that, but menalin also slows down the synthesis of vitamin-D. For which you also need sunlight. (yeah, says so on Wikipedia, don't ask me how that works. Not photosynthesis though)
Therefore in colder climates, people often have lighter skin tones. This allows them to 'absorb' more sunlight and thereby lose less heat in the cold, and with less sunlight still produce adequate amounts of vitamin-D.
This doesn't really matter anymore in our modern climate-controlled society, but some people need vitamin-D supplements for it.

But this little trivia biology lesson aside: we're already getting way off track from the original post. Let's try to get back to that and not contaminate this thread with a different thread in and of it self.

Re: Representation isn't as important as people think

#140

L.J.Anders Wrote:
TheLeakingPen Wrote: Wow OP, that's a whole lot of words for, "i want to be a racist without people calling me a racist.'



I can't say that I go them being racist from the OP.

I understand the point they are trying to make. It's not an especially good point because they just kind of missed the point of diversity.

More importantly, they missed the point of REPRESENTATION.  Its not about "getting into the story" to have characters that marginalized people can relate to in a story.  And paring the issue down to claim it is is basically stating that minorities having stories with characters they can relate to, REPRESENTATION, doesn't matter. 

And that's racist.