On Representation in the Media

Yes, I know, Y’all may be thinking “oh, this is definitely turning into a social justice blog, I’m going to ignore it” but hear me out. This blog, first and foremost is written for myself, to practice my writing skills and get myself out there (read this), and also to talk about things that matter to me.

And one of those things  happen to be representation in the media.
Before getting involved with stereotypically ‘white male dominated’ communities (see this post here), representation didn’t really matter to me. I knew there was a problem with it, but it honestly didn’t affect me because, hey, what is one girl going to do about it? But now that I am a part of those groups I honestly see the importance of it.
Representation let’s people know they are not alone. It gives them a character they can root for and be like “hey, they’re like me, if they can do all that great stuff, so can I.” It involves them in the community and fosters an environment where people feel safe to be themselves.
But honestly, the reason I believe we need better representation in the media, particularly pop culture, is because of the children. Think of the children. When kids seem characters like themselves on TV or in movies, it gives them role models they can relate to. Having representation teaches them that they don’t have to conform to the stereotypes of their race/gender/religion etc, and that they can be whomever they want to be, because there are so many different examples of different people with the same qualities they have. And that lesson become more and more emphasised with more representation.
Just imagine in – a young child sees Falcon (Sam Wilson, played by the amazing Anthony Mackie) for the first time a superhero that has the same colour skin as he does, in a slew of white super heroes. And what does that little boy think? “A black man can be a superhero? That means I can be a superhero!” And who would want totaled that away from him? Imagine a little girl’s smile when she finds out that her favorite superhero, hawkeye also has hearing aids? Why would someone – particularly the people that are already over represented in the media (cough straight white males) feel so attacked when a character doesn’t turn out to be like them, when they have millions of others that are. And I mean, being a race other than white, or a different sexuality, or disabled shouldn’t stop you from liking them,  unless you’re a dick.
So, when you think about it this way, you honestly need to consider why people still have such a problem with representation, even though they have ample amounts of it. There are so many good arguments for better representation, but in the end it comes down to “there are more people in the world than straight white dudes, why don’t we show them?” And I honestly can’t think of a logical reasoning why not.

Marvel and Me: How My Introduction to Comic Books Has Changed My Life

Honestly I can’t remember a time before I was absolutely Marvel trash. Which is really surprising because I only really got into it about a year ago. Sure, I had seen avengers, and iron man and Thor, and they were all alright movies, they were fun, but I wasn’t really into the whole superhero thing. But then I saw captain America 2: the winter solider, and I fell in love.
I don’t quite know what it was that I fell in love with. Maybe it was the storytelling aspects of the film, perhaps it was the (not so) subtle commentaries on our everyday lives, or maybe it was the strong, brilliant characterisation of the characters, but I knew that I couldn’t get enough. I watched all the films, I started watching Agents of SHIELD (which is still my favourite TV show), but that still wasn’t enough, so I picked up my first superhero comic.
While it should be noted that I had read a few comic books before – in 2010 I was very into warehouse 13, so I read their comic series, and I enjoyed reading the Hack/Slash series, but I never got into superhero comics, and I only ever imagined them to be like the ones from the 90s, with the overly drawn muscle, little character development and way to much fighting. But I hadn’t picked up a comic book for about 4 years, until that fateful day.
And honestly, comic books are daunting as hell. In marvel alone there are so many different characters, story arcs, writers, artists, where do I begin? It’s pretty obvious actually. I loved Natasha Romanoff in CA:TWS, so I’ll read some of my favourite character. She was so amazing in TWS, she’ll be amazing in everything right? I was very lucky actually, because at that time Noto’s Black Widow had only just started to be published. And well that confirmed my suspicions. Black Widow is a BAMF. I quickly googled something along the lines of “essential black widow story arcs”. I easily would have spent $50 on comic books within the first week. But it was well worth it. I’ve found a new form of media that is absolutely amazing. As I was reading Black Widow, I found a new character that I became interested in – Hawkeye. So I went and read one of the most critically aclaimed comic series in recent history – Faction’s Hawkeye, and it was set. I became marvel trash. I’ve now been reading marvel  for almost a year (maybe a little bit under it), but I definitely feel like a part of the community. The guys down in the comic book shop (shout out to kings comics) recognise my face every time I enter, and will happily strike up a conversation with me about the newest issue of whatever i’m holding, or the recent gossip in the mcu, or what series they are looking forward too. I’ve been starting to read some DC comics as well (particularly wonder woman because she’s amazing, and frankly I can’t get enough of women in comics), and I just feel really happy in this community of people with shared interests and investments in the characters we love.
I’m lucky, I haven’t been exposed to the whole elitist attitude that the marvel, and comic community seems to have towards the people that have been introduced to the comics through pop culture and the films. With the recent releases of the MCU, it’s surprising that I haven’t encountered it, in real life or online. In fact, quite a lot of people are very welcoming to those who were introduced to comics through the MCU, because hey, at least they’ve been introduced. And really, it’s hard to keep up that elitist attitude nowadays, because honestly, only the people above the ago of 25 really remember what the community was like before the MCU, and it is only detrimental to exclude anyone below that age.
It’s funny though. Whenever I say that I like reading comic books, in public (i.e. not within these communities) I get the weirdest looks from people. Being a woman in a stereotypically male-dominanted community has only really affected me outside of the community, with people saying things like “Oh, but you’re too pretty to be one of those people”, or “But you’re a chick. Chicks don’t like comic books”, both of which are hilarious comments to me, solely because they are so wrong.
To me, comics are fun. They represent hopes and ideals, while simultaneously making commentaries on everyday society. They are so much better at representation than other forms of media, and they have given me a community that I can call my own. And that’s all a person wants isn’t it? A community.
Stan Lee: Another definition of a hero is someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being, and will go out of his or her way to help them — even if there is no chance of a reward. That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero

Why Miles Morales should be the newest addition to the MCU

If you have been paying attention to pop culture at all in the last week, you probably would have heard about the fact that Spider-man will now be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

This is huge news that has rocked not only the MCU, but the entire genre of Superhero Movies. Not only will he appear in Captain America 3: Civil War, but he will also get his own solo movie, slated for 2017. After the Andrew Garfield-led Sony reboot of the series was a flop in the theatres, Kevin Feige has reported that Marvel will be rebooting the series, without the previous star. But what does this actually mean?

Miles Morales as Spider-Man. Art by Sara Pichelli. / Via en.wikipedia.org

For one thing, it could mean an entirely new Spider-man! Well, he is not entirely new per-say; in fact he was established in 2011. But who is this character, you may be asking? None other than Miles Morales. 

Now, if you don’t know who Miles Morales is, that’s perfectly fine, not many people do. But they should as he is the first ever black (and Latino) Spider-man. (Minor spoiler alert). In the comic book series Ultimate Spider-Man (Which is in the Marvel Ultimate universe, not the 616 universe that most comics take place in), Miles was introduced in the final story arc “The Death of Spider-Man”. In this storyline, Peter Parker dies, and Miles Morales takes over the mantle of Spider-Man.

It’s undebateable that Spider-man and Peter Parker are linked to each other. In most people’s minds they will always be the same person, and it has been that way since 2002. But it is no longer 2002. It’s the decade of superhero movies, and if a talking raccoon and his tree-friend has taught us anything, it’s that Marvel can do no wrong.So if ever is a time to change people’s understanding of superheros, it’s now. 

Miles Morales is new, and refreshing. If Marvel decides to keep Peter Parker as their Spider-man, they risk everyone everywhere comparing him to all of the previous Spider-men. But with Miles Morales, they can start again. Do whatever they want with him. His backstory is linked to Peter Parker, so Marvel can do literally anything they want with him. The Marvel movie studio would have full creative control, and that’s every director’s dream.

Marvel, Art by Sara Pichelli / Via theverge.com

Miles Morales has the same narrative as Peter Parker. He is just a kid trying to fit in, while also doing what he can to make the world a better place. He has faced the same struggles, trials and tribulations that Peter Parker faced as Spider-man, yet he isn’t a carbon copy. He also has the humour of Spider-man that all of his fans know and love, so he really can’t do any wrong. 

This also allows for the suggestion to the audience that a superhero isn’t a person, but a name and a mask. It has been rumoured that there may be a death coming in the MCU, and it is believed that, much like in the comic books, when one superhero dies, looses their powers or ‘retires’, another one will take their place. It’s happened to Captain America (twice), HawkeyeThor, and Iron Man just to name a few. The suggestion to the audiences that a certain ‘human’ (i.e. Tony Stark) isn’t the superhero is an important one that Marvel will need to set up for the future.

All of these valid points above, and we still haven’t touched on perhaps one of the most important one, the issue of representation in Hollywood. Most people can agree that there is an abundance of white male superheroes on our screen right now (many of them coincidently named Chris) We are no longer in the 1960s, and there should honestly be more representation on our big screens. There are currently only three major black characters in the MCU movies, and they are more often than not thought to be ‘sidekicks’. Marvel only has only 1 planned person of colour lead, and that won’t happen until 2018 And Marvel can’t even us the excuse that it can’t be done, Fox Studios cast Johnny Storm in their upcoming Fantastic Four reboot with black actor Michael B. Jordan , just because they could. Marvel really has no excuse. 

Those are all just some of the reasons Miles Morales is the Spider-man we need. And really, if I have to see uncle ben die again, I might just kill him myself.

 Miles Morales: I’m telling you… you’re right. You were totally right. I am Spider-Man

And I’m Back.

It’s been over 3 years since I last looked at this blog, and quite a lot of things have happened. I’ve lost friends, I’ve made new ones. I’ve travelled, I’ve graduated. I have started university, and involved myself in more pop culture than I ever thought possible. This is probably the main reason I have started up this blog again.

My current degree is a Bachelor of Communication (Information and Media) Bachelor of International Studies (Latino USA), and that means that I must surround myself with media. I already do this, and I have been doing this for years, however I realised the importance of not just surrounding myself with media,but also being a part of this myself, I already use social media – probably too much, but I don’t use it on a massively public scale that could help my future. 

I have been listening to various podcasts recently, and one of them is the Women in Marvel podcast (the link to which can be found here). This podcast is run by the Head of Social Media at Marvel, and often interviews other women at marvel – not just artists and writers, but other members of the company that are women, such as producers, project managers and public relations. This podcast really honestly inspires me, as it is probably my dream job to work for a comic book company (especially marvel), and these women are all so successful in their fields. Not only are they successful, they have all made it there in different ways. A few of them have degrees in Communications, however there are some that have a degree in photography  or classical literature, and even some without a degree at all. And it gives me hope, that even if my degree doesn’t exactly affect my final outcome career wise, my experiences will. And that’s really what this blog is about, gaining new experiences, and making contacts, just as the women on the podcast have suggested.

So this is it, the first step towards my dream job. I hope you will take this journey with me.

Lenoard Nimoy (RIP): I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess my attitude is, let the chips fall where they may.

Welcome

Welcome to my blog. This blog is mostly for me, to extend on my knowledge, but I can’t do that without your help. I have four things that I would like to get out of owning a blog, listed below.

1. Intellegent conversation. I started this blog, so that I could share my ideas, and hear what others have to say. I am interested in other peoples ideas, and I hope that people are interested in mine also. I am very politically, and world minded, so I may tread on some peoples toes, but that’s my opinion, and feel free to critize it as long as you have evidence.

2. Improving my skills in english. As a person who is still studying, I understand that it is a always changing language, however I do believe it can be mastered, and I hope to be able to do that one day.

3. Dispel the rumours and stereotypes of my generation. Yes, I am a part of the generation that spends way to much time on the computer. We watch to much tv, and, as most people would see it, we have a lot further to go than other generations did. I can see that, but I want to be able to prove to you, the reader, that not everyone, and in fact most of us aren’t like that. Revel in the selfies, over use the hash tags, it’s all just a way for our generation to express ourselves, just as other generations have had different forms of this.

4. I want to share my knowledge. Yes, I know that i’m very young, however I do believe that I have picked up something in the time I have been alive. I learn a different way to most older people did, I’m even learning a different way to how most people do now. And I have lots of questions, and possibly some answers for you all.

There’s also something you should know, I’m rather a TV buff, or I would like to think of myself as one anyway. So, you may see quite a lot of reviews here, but I will also have different things as well. This is also a blog for me to get myself out there. With my degree in Communications (Information and Media) at UTS,  will most likely end up working in the world of media, and so this is a great way to get myself out in that field and make wonderful contacts.

So that’s it. Welcome to my blog. Something I would like to do with each blog is end it with a quote. Whether it be from a famous person, someone I admire, or from a TV show, so I think my first one will be one of my favourite, and probably relevant to a first post:

 

Agatha Christie: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started”