Tag Archives: avatar the last airbender

Hitting the Representation Gym With “Strong” Female Characters

I may or may not have a famed print, lunch box, and some mints in my apartment with this image on them.

I may or may not have a famed print, lunch box, and some mints in my apartment with this image on them.

In every undergraduate class I took on the subject of gender, the professor started the semester with the same request: “Raise your hand if you consider yourself a feminist.” Without fail, most hands would stay resolutely on desks, and the only people who would raise their hands would be women majoring in humanities like English Lit. And, no matter how the professors would try to explain that feminism is not about hating men or burning bras or changing the spelling of “women” to “womyn” students, male and female, were still reluctant to call themselves feminists even if they believed in the core ideals of feminism. Continue reading

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The Pros and Cons of Pop Culture Binges

Oh, you liked that show/movie you watched a month ago? Too bad; it's gone now.

Oh, you liked that show/movie you watched a month ago? Too bad; it’s gone now.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the past few years, you may have noticed the pundits/anchors/news-type people discussing the recent-ish phenomenon of “binge-watching” on TV shows.  I’m not linking to any, but feel free to google “TV binging.” (I’m not sure how whether it’s spelled “binging” or “bingeing” as I’ve found both in use). I found articles written just a few days ago on the subject.

So, what is TV bing(e)ing? Well, according to my dictionary app, bing(e)ing is to:

indulge in an activity, esp. eating, to excess: some dieters say theycannot help binging on chocolate | (as noun binging) : her secret binging and vomiting.

I’ll assume you know what television is. Continue reading

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Too Popular Culture? Exclusivity In Fandom

So, it’s apparently “geek week” on YouTube, and, as yet another indication that geekdom has become more acceptable to the general public arises, I can’t help but contemplate certain…territorial tendencies of those geeks who are now seeing their passions gain wide-spread acceptance.

Take for example this meme, which, as some may recall, caused a small uproar last year.But seriously, what the hell is a gigawatt?

But seriously, what the hell is a gigawatt?                       (Image from Know Your Meme)

Oh, hello “Idiot Nerd Girl.” (And, no, the whole post isn’t going to be about this, nor am I going to subject you to my 20+ academic page paper on this subject.) Continue reading

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Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? A Look At Debate in Fandom.

Note: Some of the below videos contain cursing/juvenile humor. And Hitler.

I don’t know a single person who won’t throw down in a debate over something. That something may be politics, religion, social justice, or men’s facial hair; but everyone I know has at least some topic they believe to hold the moral/factual/logical/etc. high ground in and they will try to prove their side.

Now, I don’t know if everyone’s this way. Maybe I just know many opinionated people. Perhaps there are people out there who are either not argumentative enough or not passionate enough to engage in debates with others who don’t share their opinions.

I imagine these people, if they do exist, either have a lot of repressed rage or are the happiest people on the planet because debates are often either an invigorating way to get your opinion out into the world or vampiric exchanges that suck the life out of the participants.

And if there’s one thing every fandom seems to know how to do, it’s holding passionate, hate-filled, endless debates about fictional characters, places, and minutia. Continue reading

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Are Cartoons Just For Kids?

Justice League: Unlimited

Justice League: Unlimited

[Spoilers for Man of Steel, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Lion King, Arrow, Justice League: Unlimited, Batman: The Animated Series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Young Justice]

I’m sure you can all guess my answer based on frequent references to Avatar: The Last Airbender, Disney, and the DC Animated Universe. But then, perhaps I’m just immature, a wo-man child who can’t move past her adolescence and become an adult. After all, many adults of my age and older automatically dismiss anything animated as something for children that they’ve outgrown. Well, I should qualify that. They dismiss non-adult humor based animation. Characters snarking and making off color jokes is much more mature, you see.

Of course, I think this opinion is absurd, and there are several reasons why I think those who dismiss entertainment that’s both animated and not explicitly for adults are missing out on some of the best TV shows and movies out there.

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The Most Controversial Part of Fandoms: Shipping

You know, I’m always baffled by people who believe there are no girls in fandom, because one aspect of fandom was made very visible to me from the moment I first stuck my 13-year-old toe in: shipping.

If you’ve ever spent a lot of time around fan fiction, fan art, or tumblr., you’re probably familiar with the concept of shipping, which I also briefly covered in an earlier post. In that post, I gave the Wikipedia definition of shipping, but there’s also this definition from Urban Dictionary:

The act of pairing any two characters together. Lonely people do this to try to suppress their own loneliness. It usually leads to making terrible fan art.

So, is this a fair criticism? Is shipping a pathetic symptom of loneliness that leads to a plague of bad fan art? Well…in some cases it could be, but I really don’t know enough about the personal lives of shippers to make a judgement on this. Continue reading

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Struggles With Representation Part 1: Race

Image

Depp as “Tonto” in The Lone Ranger

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about representations of race in media. This is partly because I personally cringe every time I see a commercial for The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp as Tonto, but I know there aren’t wide-spread protests about it, and many Native Americans seem fine with his representation (though others do find it offensive). So, I find myself asking, “Is it okay for me to be offended as a non-member of the minority being represented? Am I just showing my liberal white guilt when my first reaction to Johnny Depp Johnny-Depping it up as Tonto is to smack my forehead and ask how anyone thought this was a good idea?” I’m not sure I have the answer, hence why I ask the question.

Another reason racial representation has been on my mind lately, especially as it pertains to fandom, is due to representations, and the reactions to those representations, of my favorite character from one of my favorite shows, Young Justice (RIP). This character, Artemis Crock, was  half-Vietnamese with naturally blonde hair. Largely due to this unusual genetic combination, representations of this character, both in the companion comic and fan art are constantly being criticized as “whitewashing” the character, even if the artist makes a clear attempt to show Vietnamese facial features. Seriously, it seems there are some users on tumblr whose only occupations are seeking out representations of this character and arguing whether or not they’re offensive. 

Now, changing representations of established characters is something I covered in my last post about “adaption rage.” But, I’ll be expanding on it here. Continue reading

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