Now before I start, one thing I’d like to make clear in this article is that I obviously am not saying that we shouldn’t bother making any new films with female heroes or non white heroes.
Make as many female or black heroes as you want. I don’t care. If they are great I’ll love them.
This article will instead be looking at people who artificially try and bring about representation and force it into everything more for the sake of their own ego than anything else. I will also be looking at how representation though once important in the ongoing struggle for equality, is really no longer an issue at all. I feel we do live in a genuine meritocracy.
I realise that is a controversial stance to take, but I hope you take the time time to at least hear me out here and if you disagree? Well then that’s what the comments section is for. Never let it be said that this is an echo chamber for only my opinions
I used to think representation was still important I freely admit. I often talked about how we needed more female heroes and minority heroes in the entertainment industry both here and on other sites. In recent months however I have come to change my position and who knows by the end of this article you may too.
The great irony is that I’ve never actually seen Wil Wheaton talk about or try and bring any attention to any female led series such as Xena, Buffy, Charmed, Once Upon A Time, Resident Evil, Alien, Dark Angel, Dollhouse, Ghost Whisperer or The Bionic Woman. Could it be that he doesn’t actually care about female led series and more about making himself look better?
Why It Doesn’t Matter And When It Did Matter
That was then. This is now. A phrase the SJW’s seemingly don’t understand.
Representation is one of these third wave feminist complaints that I feel was once legitimate but no longer matters.
Back in the 50’s and the 60’s it was actually important.
Back then our society was genuinely racist, sexist and homophobic. It was perfectly legal to pay women less for the same work as a man in America until 1963 and in the UK until 1970.
Black people also throughout the 50’s and 60’s were treated as second class citizens in both the UK and the US.
They were segregated from white people in the US, deprived of many basic human rights and there was also widespread support for racist groups like the KKK.
Whilst things were better in the UK, racist attitudes still prevailed. There were signs saying “No Blacks Allowed” plastered everywhere and members of the Tory party such as Peter Griffiths tried to use racist feelings towards black people in order to get elected as late as 1964.
Now remember this was not some fringe group of nutters. This was one of the two main political parties in the UK relying on widespread racist feeling to win an election and promising to impose racist policies once it got in.
Finally homosexuality was illegal in the United Kingdom until 1967. Right up until it was legalised many of our most beloved entertainers who were secretly gay such as Frankie Howerd were terrified of being found out. They knew that if they were it would ruin their careers and lives.
Thus any form of entertainment that featured women and minorities in strong roles back then was important for a number of reasons.
To start with television series like Star Trek would often be among the few places a black actor or actress could actually get a role that wasn’t just as a maid or a bit part.
Also positive portrayals of women and minorities helped to counteract the genuine racist and sexist propaganda that was everywhere in our society.
A black child who sees a sign saying, “No Blacks Allowed” might feel better about themselves when they read a Dan Dare comic where the main white characters boss was a black man.
Of course that’s not to say these forms of entertainment won the civil rights movement or anything, but they did have their place in the struggle for equality.
Dan Dare, Star Trek the Original Series and Classic Doctor Who, all of which gave strong roles to black characters and female characters were decades ahead of their time. They did break new ground in a lot of ways. Martin Luther King himself said that he felt Star Trek was important and encouraged Nichelle Nicholas not to quit the series.
Times change however. Homosexuality was legalised in 1967, the civil rights movement won, and second wave feminism managed to achieve many notable victories including equal pay for women.
Many third wave feminists still complain about the gender wage gap, but it has been debunked (including by many feminists such as Christina Hoff Sommers and Ayaan Hirsi Ali) time and time again.
I’m not saying that our modern society is completely perfect, but the point is that most of the main battles for equality in the west were thankfully won in the later half of the 20th century. Quite frankly its an insult to anyone who did live in genuinely prejudiced times to try and pretend that things are anywhere near as bad today.
As a result of this we started to see more and more positive representation for women and other minorities to the point where by the 21st century I’d say that western audiences didn’t care at all what gender, race or sexuality a character on tv had.
Throughout the 60’s and the 70’s many strong roles for women on film and tv began to pop up, such as The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman 70’s series, Charlies Angels, and the Alien film series. Similarly more leading roles for black people began to emerge on film and tv such as Sanford and Sons and Shaft.
For LGBT people meanwhile from the 70’s on there was more positive forms of representation, such as The Naked Civil Servant, a 1975 BAFTA winning drama which made a star of John Hurt and took us deep into how homophobic British society was. Many of the most popular entertainers and bands such as Queen and David Bowie’s acts had severe LGBT connotations as well.
By the end of the 90’s female heroes dominated the sci fi and fantasy market on television with Buffy, Xena and Charmed all being record breaking successes.
Until it was surpassed recently by Supernatural, Charmed was the longest running American fantasy series, whilst Buffy aside from being one of the longest running genre series was also one of the most influential too.
Xena meanwhile aside from being the most popular show in the world at the height of its success, was so popular that they actually named a planet after her, albeit briefly.
On top of that most of theses series had strong roles for LGBT characters, such as Tara and Willow in Buffy, or Xena and Gabrielle themselves.
Other mainstream series such as Will and Grace also revolved around LGBT characters, whilst here in the UK many of our most popular mainstream entertainers such as Alan Carr, Graham Norton and John Barrowman are not only openly gay, but part of their entire act is being gay! On top of that all our most popular soap opera’s such as Coronation Street, Eastenders, etc (which are our most popular tv shows in general) have all had main LGBT characters.
Not exactly the same as the 60’s when Frankie Howerd, one of the most popular entertainers on British tv was scared at the prospect of his sexuality being discovered, as it would have meant the end of his career. Again its an insult to people like Howerd to pretend that its anywhere near as bad now. Think of how much easier his life would have been in the time above than in the 60’s.
Now again I am not saying that this proves that racism, sexism and homophobia are gone completely from our modern society.
However at the same time I think it does go to show that at the very least in the entertainment industry people no longer care about a characters gender, race or sexuality.
Modern western audiences will accept anyone. Hence why Alan Carr in contrast to Frankie Howerd from the 60’s is able to make his sexuality part of his act. Hence why Beyonce is the most popular singer in all of Western society now.
In fact in both 2015 and 2014, out of the top 10 richest singers in the world, only two were heterosexual, white men, whilst in 2016 only 4 were white, heterosexual men.
See here Top 10 Richest Singers 2016/15/14
At what point does it become apparent to SJW’s that people are willing to accept a non white, non male, non straight entertainer or fictional character?
Now you might be thinking that there still aren’t as many black people on television as white people. You would be right about that, but that does not mean that is is because audiences or producers hate black people.
It is because there simply aren’t as many black people as there are white people in Western society. Tell me how many white people are there in Bollywood films?
In the United Kingdom black people make up just 3 percent of the population. In the US they make up only 12 percent of the whole population, whilst in other western countries like France they make up 3-5 percent of the population and in Germany they are a mere 300,000 of a population, which overall consists of 80.62 million people.
Thus there are never going to be as many black people in western television series as white people. That does not mean that audiences will reject any black characters or performers that do appear, as demonstrated with the record breaking success of Beyonce, or the enduring popularity of actors like Will Smith, Samuel L Jackson and Idris Elba.
The recent Oscars controversy where the award ceremony was accused of racism, because it didn’t give as many awards to black performers as white ones was debunked when it was shown that in proportion to how many black actors there actually were in the entertainment industry. There was a near perfect representation at the Oscars.
See here No the Oscars are not racist
Furthermore I don’t think there is really any racist or sexist propaganda to combat in our society anymore. If a political party were to use a poster that said “if you don’t want a nigger for your neighbour then vote for us.” That would rightfully sink their chances. Similarly if anyone hung a sign that said no blacks allowed outside a pub, then they would be charged with a hate crime.
Representation is only really a useful tool in combating overt prejudice and propaganda. The more subtle kind that people aren’t even aware of. Needs fought in different ways.
Ultimately we in the west do not live in a society where any group of people are actively told they are inferior, or unable to go for any position based on who they are.
Whenever anyone says “I need to be able to see someone like me on television” I’m sorry but I don’t think that matters anymore.
I myself am part of a minority. I am Scottish. There are barely 5 million Scots in the UK and hey we have a history of being persecuted too such as the Highland Clearances.
However ultimately I, nor any Scots person I have ever known has ever cared about Scottish representation. Growing up, it never bothered me that virtually none of the people I watched on television were like me. I am not trying to virtue signal here, as no one else I knew growing up in Scotland was bothered either. The most popular television series in Scotland have generally tended to be English or American.
Are people going to complain about a lack of Scots voices on television? Are people going to point to the fact that there aren’t nearly as many Scottish heroes or actors as proof that institutionalised racism against us exists?
No of course not because people accept rightfully with us that there aren’t as many Scottish actors because there aren’t as many Scots, but that any Scots actor who is talented enough and lucky (which is all that matters really) can be a star, as producers will hire him or her, and audiences will accept them.
So why then do we not accept that is the case with other minorities such as black people? Well that leads me on to my next point.
Why Do People Still Pretend It Matters?
Frank Hampson, the creator of Dan Dare.
One of the main reasons I think that people within the entertainment industry keep making out that representation does still matter is because they want to make themselves look better.
Gene Roddenberry, Frank Hampson and Terry Nation all gave strong roles for women and minorities in their work. Terry Nation produced possibly the first ever genre series starring a woman. Both Gene Roddenberry and Frank Hampson, presented a future in their most famous works (Dan Dare and Star Trek) where all the nations of the earth lived together. Roddenberry later broke new ground on American television by having the first ever interracial kiss on an American scripted television show.
All three writers and their works are still praised today for how progressive they were. A lot of writers naturally want to be remembered in the same way. They fancy themselves as being remembered as great men who were on the right side of history, who fought for the little guy, but like I said before times have moved on.
Nowadays audiences are completely accepting of black and female characters. Back in the 50’s, Frank Hampson could be controversial simply by having a black character or a woman being a leading scientist. Even in the middle of the 60’s Gene Roddenberry could break new ground simply by having a black woman and a white man kiss.
Today would anyone even notice if there was a black character who was a scientist? Or if a black woman and a white man kissed each other on tv?
Unfortunately so many writers and directors still want the kudos that the likes of Gene Roddenberry got. So they lie that things are just as bad as they were in the 60’s and that by simply having a black character in their work they can be seen as a social justice champion like Roddenberry.
Everyone wants to be Gene Roddenberry.
JJ Abrams I feel is an example of someone like this. Now I am not saying the new Star Wars film was bad. I haven’t seen it yet, and I have no real big interest in doing so. The reason I think Abrams desire for representation stems from his own ego is based solely on what Abrams himself has said.
In this interview here, Abrams says he was disgusted by the fact that most of the actors at an award ceremony were white. He decided he was going to rectify the “problem”.
See here JJ Abrams On Diverse Star Wars Cast
The thing is the policy that Abrams has employed is to start with racist itself. He openly admitted to refusing to hire someone based on their skin colour. Regardless of whether the person you are refusing to hire is white or black. That’s racist!
Also I feel that its terrible to lump all whites together as privileged people who never suffer racism.
Ironically white skinned people have been the victims of some of the worst genocides and slave trades in the history of mankind, such as the 6 million Jews killed in the holocaust.
Of course Frank Hampson and Gene Roddenberry didn’t simply write all white people off as being privileged. Roddenberry had among his crew a Russian as at that point due to the cold war era paranoia, there was plenty of hostile feeling towards Russians in America too. Thus Checkov was designed to counteract this “Russophobia” as much as Uhura was meant to counteract the racism from organisations like the KKK.
In the UK meanwhile during the 50’s there was wide spread racism against the Irish, and Dan Dare counteracted this by having there be an Irish member of Dan’s team, Lex O’Mailey.
Roddenberry and Hampson cared about combating prejudices against all groups of people, white or not. The reason for this was because I feel that their desire for representation came from a genuine desire to help marginalised groups. Rather than to simply virtue signal to their Hollywood friends like Abrams.
I might be doing Abrams a disservice, but his anger at the casting room being white just sounds so manufactured and for show. Also I don’t get what it is he thinks he is combating?
Does he really think that casting a black actor is going to be a big deal? I hate to tell you Abrams but if you hadn’t made a big deal out of it no one would have even fucking noticed!
Tell me did anyone notice that the character of Blade was a black guy? Blade helped to launch the entire Marvel film franchise. Marvel couldn’t get arrested before Blade came along, and after its success, the X-Men and Spider-Man film series would emerge, later followed by the entire MCU.
Yet did anybody give a shit that Blade was black? In fact the two heroes in the first Blade movie are black and the main villain is white, but again does anyone care?
Classic scene and both characters race is completely and utterly irrelevant to the story.
Thus again I feel that by trying to act as though casting a black person is some big ground breaking thing, Abrams is trying to create a situation where he can be seen as the hero. The Roddenberry style, future, liberal icon who battled against racism.
Ironically however by refusing to cast a white person based on their skin all he has done is focus on race when casting a character rather than the actors ability.
Sadly Abrams is not alone in this train of thought. Many other prominent tv and comic book writers have said similar things. Neil Gaiman expressed his disappointment over the character of the Doctor being played by another white man instead of a black actor, when Peter Capaldi was announced as the 12th Doctor. Though to be fair to Gaiman he was open to hearing other people’s opinions. He might more just be a case of being misguided than actively trying to make himself look good.
Emma Thompson meanwhile is someone who I feel virtue signals about the so called racism and sexism in the industry just to make herself look good. Recently after the famous no black actors at the Oscars controversy. She claimed that the Oscars are all decided by racist white men, and even made a joke about how she would love to kill them all slowly.
Thing is it didn’t seem to bother her when she was winning an Oscar back in 1993.
Say what you will about Marlon Brando, but he stuck to his guns. He felt there was racism in Hollywood so he outright refused to accept an Oscar.
Thompson on the other hand? She’s happy to accept one when it furthers her career, but then when its trendy to complain about the lack of diversity in Hollywood, she joins in attacking the people who helped boost her career back in 1993.
Either way she doesn’t come across as genuine. Either she does think there is racism in Hollywood, but she just didn’t care when it benefited her in 1993. Or she knows its a lot of rubbish, but is jumping on the bandwagon to make herself look good. (I suspect its the latter.)
Russell T Davies the producer of Doctor Who from 2005-10 sadly I also feel falls under this category. He blasted a rival science fiction series called Primeval simply for having an all white cast.
This is another tactic people who harp on about representation to make themselves look good use. Slander everyone else in the industry as being racist, sexist or at least not caring about social justice as much as they do.
Russell is of course being unfair to Primeval. Again considering that the show is made and produced in the United Kingdom, its not so surprising that most or all of its cast would be white. Its not like there are no black people in it.
I very much doubt that the producers of Primeval turned down great black actors for their main characters because they were black. I believe that they cast all of the leads in Primeval because they thought they were the best actors for those characters.
Now I am sure Russell who never had a bad word to say about the cast (in fact he said the show all around was excellent.) Would agree. So what did he want then? The makers of Primeval not to cast actors they thought were the best for those roles, simply because of the colour of their skin? Again is that not a little… racist?
Some of the people who claim representation in the media matter may also do so out of fear too. Steven Moffat, Doctor Who’s current producer I think is an example of this. He has recently begun to go on about representation being important, but I think this is more to do with the severe feminist backlash he endured over his work being sexist. Of course I don’t think there was anything even remotely sexist about Steven Moffat’s work on Doctor Who or anything else. Sadly in this current “lets get offended by everything” climate he was tarred with that brush by the mainstream media, and since then he has by a bizarre coincidence, become obsessed with representation.
Others meanwhile I think use representation to further their own careers. Nowadays I think a lot of people like to sell their product based on the fact that it has great representation for someone.
Take a look at the latest Ghostbusters movie. It was pretty much sold on being a film about female empowerment and representation. Even before the backlash began. Take a look at this publicity picture.
I have no objection clearly to an all female franchise. Look at Xena. The two leads are women, and most of her rogues and supporting cast are women too.
However Xena was popular because it had charismatic actors, an interesting premise, great characters and a kickass theme tune.
Thus it could stand on more than just being a “girl power” show. Sadly in the case of the Ghostbusters I think the director Paul Feig was aware that being a remake of a much beloved 80’s classic, there was a danger that people would just dismiss it as yet another pointless reboot. Thus in order to counteract this inevitable criticism I feel that Paul focused on the whole “its for representation” thing to sell it to audiences and also make it more immune to criticism.
Of course as we all know it backfired considerably. Even if the publicity team hadn’t gone to the effort of tarring all of their critics as sexist, then the simple fact that the movies main feature was that it offered representation wouldn’t have worked either..
Why would anyone think in this day and age that simply having female heroes was anything special? I grew up on nothing but female heroes. Xena, Buffy, Charmed, Dark Angel, Heroic Trio, Kill Bill, Nikita, Once Upon A Time, Charlie’s Angels, Alien film series, Wonder Woman tv series, Bionic Woman, Earth 2, Star Trek Voyager, The Dead and the Deadly, Tru Calling, Dollhouse, Underworld film series, Scream film series, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, 1,2, 5 and H20, Ghost Whisperer, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Day of the Dead, The Bride with White Hair, Terminator 1 and 2, Jessica Jones, Survivors (original and remake), and Resident Evil.
Added to that there are plenty of shows about a male and female hero such as The X-Files, and The Avengers. Even in certain male led series such as Red Dwarf and Futurama, the female character is still the strongest, most intelligent and capable, like Leela and Kochanski.
So really with this in mind why would Ghostbusters 2016 stand out as anything important just for having female heroes? Particularly when many of these female led franchises such as Xena and Buffy have been among the most iconic, successful and influential genre series of all time!
Simple because Paul Feig wants to use that to flog his otherwise mediocre remake of a beloved film, and to make himself look good. So he will pretend that representation still matters and try and present himself as the only one who is fighting for it. See for yourself
Paul Feig I think shot himself in the foot, head and various other places career wise with the way he tried to promote this film.
Other people meanwhile who are career feminists like Anita Sarkeesian still make out that representation matters for the same reason they still cling on to other outdated examples of sexism. They need naive young people to believe sexism is everywhere not just simply to further their careers like Paul Feig, but because it is the basis for their entire career overall.
If there was no sexism or misogyny around, what would Anita Sarkeesian do for a living? Frank Hampson and Gene Roddenberry would still be iconic sci fi writers, even JJ Abrams and Paul Feig would still be big shot directors. Anita however?
She needs the patriarchy for cash.
Of course the great irony to this is that sexism is still a problem in many countries around the world, but people like Sarkeesian won’t comment on it. There is no money involved in that and they are too scared.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali for speaking out against Islamic countries treatment of women has received death threats and is forced to walk around with body guards.
People like Sarkeesian and big shot film directors however won’t comment on things like Islamic countries treatment of women. For all their talk of being “social justice warriors” they’d much rather pick a battle that has already been won and white knight over that to bask in the feminist and progressive praise. And of course if possible make a little bit of money out of it.
I am sure that there are some people out there who genuinely do care about representation. I would be more inclined to view Neil Gaiman as this. Simply due to the fact that he seems more reasonable and level headed when he talks about representation, and isn’t obsessed with tarring other people as racist, or showing how angry he is.
The feminist Claudia Boleyn and Emma Watson I also tend to view as falling under this category. I see these people as being simply misguided. They are fighting a battle that’s over. I honestly fail to see what kind of representation they can give to women that hasn’t been done already?
Ultimately however most other writers and directors who harp on about representation, I sadly see their social justice cause as being more of an ego/career thing. Now you might think, even if that is true, what difference does it make? Well that leads to my next point.
The Harm Still Caring About Representation Causes
It has compromised many television series and films
I feel that many writers and producers nowadays often focus on representation above other important things like you know actually having a story.
The latest Ghostbusters film as a classic example of this. Its plot is paper thin. Its monsters are dull and uninspiring. The main focus of the film was simply that it was offering women representation, thus not only were the monsters just tossed in as an after thought, but the films jokes and dialogue tended to focus on the fact that its leads were women more than anything else.
“I don’t know if this is a lady thing or a black thing but I’m mad as hell!”
Ironically as a result of this, Ghostbusters tends to be more aware of the fact that its leads are women than Xena. Xena is just good comic book fun with a female hero. We don’t have to be reminded every two minutes that “hey this is a woman kicking ass” because Xena ultimately was not focused on representation. It was at the end of the day designed to be just an entertaining action adventure series..
Ghostbusters however begun as essentially “lets give women representation” and that was that.
Doctor Who is another example of representation destroying a show. Steven Moffat cast a woman as the Doctors arch enemy the Master for representation.
Now the Master has always been depicted as the Doctors version of Moriarty. He utterly despises the Doctor. Oh and he has also always been a HE.
Moffat however in an attempt to pander to his feminist critics not only turned the Master into a woman, but rewrote the Master into being in love with the Doctor. In fact the Master gives up an army of Cybermen to win the Doctor back! Moffat intended for Missy to be representation for women and LGBT people and to pave the way for the Doctor becoming a woman, also in order to give women and LGBT people greater representation.
Now all of this was a terrible development for the character of the Master.
Making the Master be in love with the Doctor was a complete betrayal to what the character was meant to stand for. In Classic Who the Master at one point comments when he has been horribly burned, that only his hatred of the Doctor keeps him alive!
Added to that the Master’s main motivation aside from getting revenge on the Doctor has always been to gain control of the entire universe. Missy who is now in love with the Doctor and gives up ultimate power to win her ex boyfriend back, is the complete opposite of that. This completely ruins the character.
To start with its a come down. He’s a villain who used to want to reshape the entire cosmos in his own image. Now he’s a jealous ex of the main hero. It took the Doctor in one previous battle, enduring a year of unimaginable torture, and watching the whole earth burn in order to stop the Master.
With Missy however she literally hands the Doctor her army of indestructable Cybemen in order to win him back, and she doesn’t have a failsafe. So she is beaten by a no thanks!
The Master in the 1970’s. A relentless and implacable foe of the Doctor that simply would not rest even as his world was crumbling apart around him until he had killed his archenemy.
The Master in the 2010’s after feminists managed to get their claws into the Doctor Who franchise. Anyone who says she’s believable as the villain in the above video is A/ lying B/ an SJW or C/ has never seen Classic Who.
Also having the Masters main motivation change, essentially throws out his previous development as it makes it look like it actually didn’t matter. Where as the Master was always willing to go to the greatest lengths to conquer the universe, now he is happy to give it up just to win round someone he hates?
Its like saying that actually Magneto doesn’t care about Mutants rights and rewriting it that his entire motivation is to fuck Jean Grey. No one would ever dream of defending such a shit version of Magneto.
Finally Steven Moffat’s need for representation also led to him casting an actress who was not right for the Master in the role.
Michelle Gomez is a fantastic actress who ironically would have been excellent as another villain in the series, the Rani.
However she was cast as the Master simply for female representation (which again is unnecessary as there are already plenty of excellent female villains, Callisto, Alti, Glory, Servalan, the Rani etc.) She was not cast on merit and thus the show was compromised.
If you were to cast an actor as the Master based on whether or not they were the right actor for the role Michelle Gomez would never have gotten the role in a million years. Again that’s not to say that she is a bad actress at all. If we were casting say Catwoman, then a brilliant male actor like Jack Nicholson would never get the role in a million years.
Imagine that you are the casting director for Doctor Who series 8 and you are told that the Master will be returning to the show and you have to cast that character. Now leaving aside representation, political correctness etc, imagine you are casting this character based 100 percent on who the right actor for the role is.
Remember THIS is the character of the Master.
Okay that’s the character. Now who are you going to cast, based on who is the right person for the role out of these 6 actors. Charles Dance, Simon Templeman (voice of Doctor Doom), Robert Carlyle, David Warner (voice of Ra’s Al Ghul), Jason Watkins and Michelle Gomez.
I don’t think there is ANYONE who would cast her in the role over those 5 guys based solely on who was the best for the part.
Michelle would have been excellent for the Rani. Her as the Rani opposite any of those 5 guys as the Master would have been fucking amazing to watch. Also wouldn’t two archenemies for the Doctor, the Rani and the Master, be twice as much fun?
Ultimately however the reason this didn’t happen was because Missy offered up a better choice for representation. Turning the Master into a woman didn’t simply offer up an opportunity to represent women, but transexuals, and it also is part of a plan to lay the groundwork for a female Doctor too.
Thus the show was compromised for a need for representation as rather than have Gomez play a part she would have been excellent for. She was crowbarred into a role she was all wrong for. The character of the Master had to be rewritten as a result into something he was not which destroyed the character.
Now I realise that some fans do like Missy, but how in all honesty can you say that she is true to the Master’s character. Or that Gomez was cast on merit?. Also since Doctor Who began to pander to feminists, circa 2014, its viewers and popularity have dwindled considerably.
See here. Doctor Who’s Ratings Fall To Record Low
Comic books have also suffered greatly for this desperate need for representation too. Marvel have begun to replace many of their male characters with female ones. Wolverine, Tony Stark and Thor have all been replaced with female counterparts as part of a move to bring greater diversity to the Marvel universe.
Now understandably many fans have been upset with this. Not because they can’t stand female heroes, but because they like these characters and therefore don’t want to see them be replaced with other people.
There have been examples of these characters being replaced by other men, and the fans not liking them, such as Damian Wayne taking over from Bruce Wayne or Doc Ock taking over from Peter Parker as Spider-Man.
Still just like with the Ghostbusters movie, anyone who doesn’t like this trend has been called a sexist. The female Thor was even given a strawman anti feminist to fight.
In a time when Marvels readers should be higher than ever due to the mainstream success of the movies, they are enduring record losses instead.
Obviously its got nothing to do with readers rejecting female heroes. If that were the case why did larger audiences lap up Xena and Buffy and Charmed and Once Upon A Time? Why does the Wonder Woman trailer have a near universal approval rating? Its because people don’t want their favourite heroes replaced for some bullshit diversity.
Marvel don’t care however. They simply want to get brownie points for diversity. Introducing a new character however takes time and effort to make them one of the all time popular characters. Not because she is a woman, just because it would with any new character. Wolverine for instance was introduced much later than many of the rest of the X-Men, and he ended up becoming the most popular one, but only after, many, many years and writers.
Thus once again a pointless need for diversity and representation has compromised a great work of fiction.
It provides terrible representation for minorities
Ironically I feel that casting actors for diversity is a terrible way to represent people. Its essentially saying that the only way they can succeed is if the system is rigged for them rather than on their own merit.
Take a look at this example from the New Doctor Who. Here Steven Moffat has openly said he cast the new companion Pearl Mackie solely to have a black actress in the show.
Now I am not saying Pearl Mackie will be a bad companion. I haven’t seen her in action yet. For all I know she might be good, but sadly Steven Moffat has said before she even has a chance to start, that she is only there to tick boxes.
“I had this baffling idea that if we just threw open each part to everybody then it would all work out in the end. I put my faith inexplicably in the free market. It doesn’t work. You’ve got to gauge where you’re looking for the talent“.
-Steven Moffat on casting Pearl Mackie
How can anyone say that that is good for black people? Basically what Steven Moffat has said is that black people can’t ever succeed when being forced into a fair competition with white people. So he basically had to exclude all white people, “gauge” where he got the talent in order to cast a black person.
And what has been accomplished by doing that? What a black actor is now in Doctor Who? Yeah its not like its ever had a black companion before is it?
Say what you will about Russell T Davies, at least he had a black woman in the show and no one even noticed. He didn’t boast about “look at me I have a black woman on my show, aren’t I fab!”
I honestly don’t think that you have to give black actors any role for representation. I think that black actors in the modern world, can get any part (excluding certain historical figures) they want. Provided they are right for it.
Look at Red Dwarf, a classic British Sci Fi Comedy where half the cast is black (and again no one noticed!)
Originally Alan Rickman was considered for the role of Dave Lister. Rickman was eager to play the role. He called the script one of the most original and intelligent scripts he had ever seen.
However Craig Charles a black man won the role, solely because he was the best man for the part.
Alan Rickman was obviously one of the greatest British actors, but he would not have been good as Lister. His portrayal of Lister would have been a posh, somewhat uptight character, which would have been too similar to Arnold Rimmer, Lister’s bunk mate.
Craig Charles however brought a slobbish, blokish, every day quality to him which contrasted with the prissy uptight Rimmer and thus created a perfect odd couple, squabbling brothers dynamic.
So yes in the open market a black guy did beat a white guy because he was the best for the role. I might add the black guy Craig Charles wasn’t even really an actor! He was a poet! A fucking poet beat out one of the most acclaimed, and versatile actors for the role of a lead in a sitcom because he was the best person for the part. And race didn’t enter into it for either.
Now I don’t think Red Dwarf is such a special show. Don’t get me wrong I adore it, but what I mean is I don’t think that its makers are the only non racist people in the entertainment industry. In fact I think that its probably typical in terms of how things are cast. The best actor gets the gig. Who gives a fuck about skin colour? The best person for the job is the only fair way to do it.
Yes it was different in the 60’s when black people did genuinely struggle to get any work due to racism. But that’s the point, that doesn’t apply now as seen with things like Craig Charles beating out Alan Rickman for the part of Lister.
Thus a black man getting the role through his own merit is better than the likes of J J Abrams or Steven Moffat saying they only cast a black person for representation.
Also I feel that when these characters are there to be “the black character” then they are often written as such.
Look at Class the recent Doctor Who spin off whose creator Patrick Ness has often spoken about how important representation is.
Its single black character Tanya Adeola, often complains about white people, and how lucky they are. To me that’s a poor way for black people to be shown on tv. Always whining about white people and reminding us that they are black. Look at Lister and Rimmer in comparison. In spite of all the bust ups the two men have, not once is either men’s race ever mentioned.
Here’s a bit of dialogue between a white character and a black character from Class.
TANYA: White people.
APRIL: White people what?
TANYA: Always so optimistic. Always so certain things are going to work out for you. Oh, well, because they usually do.
APRIL: My dad tried to kill me when I was eight.
TANYA: But you got your mum up walking again. Typical white-person happy ending.
Here’s a bit of dialogue between a white character and a black character from Red Dwarf.
LISTER: You never said much about your father.
LISTER: You must have been pretty close.
LISTER: Was it very close?
RIMMER: Close. (Pause) I hated him. I detested his fat stupid guts, the
pop-eyed, balding git.
RIMMER: He always wanted to join the Space Corps — be an officer. But
they wouldn’t take him because he was an inch below regulation height.
One inch. I had three brothers. When we were young he bought a
traction machine so that he could stretch us. By the time my brother
Frank was eleven he was six foot five. Every morning he’d measure us
and if we hadn’t grown, back on the rack.
LISTER: Sounds like he had a screw loose.
RIMMER: I don’t think he had one screw fully tightened, to be perfectly
honest with you. He had this fixation that we all had to get into the
Space Corps. At meal times he’d ask us questions on astronavigation.
If we got them wrong — no food.
LISTER: God, Rimmer, how did you cope with that?
RIMMER: I didn’t. I nearly died of malnutrition.
LISTER: I had no idea. I thought you adored your parents.
RIMMER: When I was fourteen I divorced them.
RIMMER: I took them to court. I got paid maintenance until employment
age and access every fourth weekend to the family dog.
LISTER: So why are you so completely blown away about him dying then?
RIMMER: Oh, it doesn’t mean to say I don’t respect him, didn’t look up to
him. It was only natural — he was my father.
LISTER: There’s nothing natural about your family, Rimmer.
RIMMER: It’s just I always wanted just once, just once, for him to say to
me, “well done.”
LISTER: For what?
RIMMER: For something, for anything. I wanted him to be proud of me,
Yeah I think its safe to say that Red Dwarf written back in 1988, before this SJW bullshit really took over the entertainment industry, and by two guys who just wanted to produce a good comedy/sci fi series ironically offered a far better representation than the modern SJW series Class.
It leads to people being fired
In an effort for greater diversity, certain companies have begun to fire white men from their jobs in order to give minorities more opportunities.
Here are some examples.
I find it funny in a way that people like Gene Roddenberry and Terry Nation were able to give women and black people strong and heroic roles in genuinely racist and sexist times without having to fire people from their jobs. In the modern world meanwhile where there is a true meritocracy, the BBC still can’t give minorities jobs without employing racist policies towards white people.
No one is entitled to a job based on skin colour or gender. No one deserves to be excluded from one either and I’m sorry but kicking white people out of a job for their skin colour is racist.
Obviously I have no problem with television series starring non whites. Some of my absolute all time favourite series star female characters. If anything I personally prefer a more diverse cast like say the Scooby Gang in Buffy, as I find it more interesting. Still at the same time something that has a cast made up of one gender, such as Supernatural, or Xena, or Charmed, or Bottom, or Ab Fab, does not deserve to be called sexist, or changed to be artificially more diverse
Diversity and representation only matters if we are living in a time when people are being excluded and treated as inferiors because of who they are.
Ultimately however whilst I am not saying our society is perfect we have moved on from the dark days of the 60’s and the 70’s. I feel that in the entertainment industry at least and in terms of what audiences are willing to accept. We do live in a society where any type of person can be accepted.
Representation has served its purpose in the fight for equality. Its time just to let the meritocracy judge everyone in a fair way and try and find other ways to tackle the still very real prejudice in the world today.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.