POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IN GEEKDOM IS STUPID.
[UPDATE: I received several passionate emails and messages from people on both sides of the fence on this issue. Made some edits to clarify some points that a few people misenterprited, but I think the overall takeaway is this: it really bums me out that people feel that every race and gender needs their own version of something just so that they can relate to it. Maybe I’m just a weirdo hippy for not seeing people as black, white, male, female, or whatever. I see people as people. No color, no gender, no sexual identity, just people. So whenever I hear someone diss on a company for only having white dudes on stage at their conference, or rag on a movie for having an all-male cast, it just seems very petty and offensive in its own right. I’m all for diversity and embrace it openly, but that doesn’t make it right for people to blast companies with hateful messages and put them down just because they don’t feel represented. Walls separate people, José.]
This is something that’s been bothering me a lot lately. Every time a cool new video game, movie, comic book, or whatever else is released, there’s an army of haters complaining that it doesn’t cater to them. It’s come to the point where companies are specifically creating new properties FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE of political correctness/diversity/whatever instead of creating new properties for the purpose of being awesome.
Even during this year’s E3 my Twitter feed was so full of people bitching about most of the presenters being white males. Who cares!? You want to talk about minorities? I’m a non-spanish-speaking Puerto Rican born in the south and raised in Amish country so I pretty much don’t fit in ANYWHERE! Do you think I whine every time a movie is released with a white cast or every time a video game company doesn’t put more non-spanish-speaking dudes with beer guts and piercings on stage during their conferences? If you’re busy keeping tally of all the races and genders instead of focusing on the games being shown, maybe you should take a deep breath and count to 10 or something.
Why can’t creators just make nice things for the sake of making nice things? Why does there have to a be a checklist? “Okay, this story is amazing, but it needs more girls and toss in a black guy or two.” Is it that hard for people to relate to characters that are different races and genders?
Want more strong females in your comics? Make your own!
Want a story with a minority as the lead character? Make your own!
And if you don’t have a creative bone in your body to make your own suff, the worst thing you can do is send angry Tweets and emails to studios demanding that they cater to your self-absorbed needs. If you feel like you ABSOLUTELY NEED to get your dire message across to them, at least be a polite human being about it. But really, turning non-issues into huge protests about feminism/minority/sexual identity representation in works of fiction isn’t the sort of thing you should really be getting worked up over, and if you do, maybe you should find some new hobbies? Maybe take a writing/drawing/video game programming class to make your own damn race/gender-specific stories.
Every time someone complains about a lack of (insert race/gender/sexual orientation here) representation in media, what they’re really saying is “Hey, can we build more walls to keep this separate group satisfied?” And if Vonage commercials have taught me anything, it’s that "Walls separate people, José." For real. I’m a brown dude and can relate to any character in fiction whether it’s boy, girl, black, white, human, alien, Hobbit, or whatever. All that matters for me is a good story with good characters.
Back in the day I got made fun of for watching Sailor Moon because “it was a girl show.” Walls separate people, José! Don’t look at it as girl shows and guy shows and white shows and black shows. There’s good shows and bad shows (and some okay shows). THAT’S IT. Every time I hear people complain about lack of representation, it feels like they’re asking for their own water fountains and bathrooms to be built so they don’t have to share with people different than them. It’s like there’s there’s this weird anti-white male stigma in the air. And it smells.
I grew up drawing my own comics and creating my own characters and stories and guess what? Most of my lead characters were white!!! Want to know why? Because my curly-ass hispanic hair was hard for me to draw at the time and because I just didn’t care about race because PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE. I also came up with a buttload of strong female characters. Not because I felt that they were under-represented in fiction or because that’s what the focus group wanted, but because I was 13 and that’s just what I felt like creating. No thinking, just creating. Creativity needs freedom to breathe, not boundaries. People are people, not demographics.
Why can’t people just be people? Why’s everyone need to get all worked up about dumb stuff? Can’t we go back to when being a geek just meant having fun and indulging in our passions without being so jaded and cynical about everything? Instead of ripping apart the stuff you hate, just look for new stuff. There’s plenty of creators doing some AMAZING work just because they want to, not because they feel like they need to appeal to a certain race or gender. (Check out the comics Lumberjanes, Rat Queens,and Saga for strong female roles and racially diverse casts. Seriously, they’re awesome.)
Next time you come down on any form of art or entertainment just because it doesn’t represent a broader diversity of people, remember this: YOU ARE ENTITLED TO NOTHING. Artists create for themselves. They don’t owe you shit.
And besides, at the end of the day, it’s all just make believe. Stop taking it so seriously and just go back to having fun.
(top pic via C-Section Comics)