Category Archives: Digital Arts
Intersectionality, Culture, and Why the Life is COMPLICATED
First of all, this is not meant to inform you why life is complicated. It was a catchy title and it was a third thing to help make life LESS complicated for me. That being said, you’re in for a wild ride today reader, because we’re getting into the nitty gritty of cultural studies, intersectionality, and other such buzzwords that helped me through graduate school. (Thanks, Amy and Michael).
So first off, Film Crit Hulk, the Incredible Hulk guy who runs around critiquing film and culture recently wrote a rather long essay on Intersectionality which you can read here. I warn you though, when I say long, I mean LONNNNNNGGGGGGGGG. In the article, he explains about his background of being a “doofy white guy” when he isn’t “Dr. Banner” and what the word intersectionality means.
So what exactly does it mean? Well, let’s go to Google and find out how close they actually are for the purposes of this small chunk of an essay: “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.”
Not a bad definition and pretty close to the definition I usually use. Okay, so we know what intersectionality is, we know who Film Crit Hulk is, and for the sake of argument I will assume you know who Joss Whedon is and what Wonder Woman and Game of Thrones are as well as what fanboys are and why they are pissed off a lot of the time. If you don’t, congratulations, you are pure and need to get off the Internet immediately.
Film Crit Hulk, or as I’ll refer to him from this point on, Hulk, explains that there was a Wonder Woman script that Joss Whedon wrote a number of years ago that pissed off quite a few people. As most people know, Joss Whedon made Disney a literal billion dollars with The Avengers and wrote Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So what’s the problem? Surely he knows how to write women?
Well, people got angry and it turned into a large discussion about his entire career and of course Whedon gave young people a connection to Buffy whether they be women, progressives, or LGBT, BUTTTTTTTTTTT. Joss Whedon is also a human being like you and I. Because of that he only knows what he’s told about the female experience, because he is not one. He may be a feminist, but I’m sure we can agree he’s never been catcalled for wearing a short skirt in New York City at 10am when you’re on your way to your day job. Guess who has? *raises hand*
Why is this important? Well, it brings us back to intersectionality. Joss Whedon is a male who I imagine is well off financially. I, am a female bisexual thirty year old who just got out of graduate school and am in debt. I can speak to that experience better than Joss Whedon can.
So fanboys were mad about Joss Whedon and Hulk made an excellent point: “Think about it. When you’re angry, your anger makes complete sense, right? Whether you are angry at Trump or Libtards or the pop culture moron du jour, there’s nothing ever wrong with your anger. But for women, POC, LGBT, and marginalized groups? Maybe they’re angry because the entire system around them is laughable. Maybe it’s because they have a universe of dire issues to be angry about. Maybe it’s because we talk about not believing what our country did last election, and yet 94% of black women voted for Hilary against Trump. Maybe it’s because white liberal folks talk about how they fear one day living in a police state, but black people have been living in a police state for centuries now (and worse). Heck, given our backgrounds and sliding sense of justice, if white people were immediately put into the world that black people had to live in, we would be grabbing a brick in two seconds, without the realization of the oppression that comes next. Because when that happened in Ferguson, white America shrugged and wondered why it couldn’t be like the MLK days…”
Now I have read the Joss Whedon Wonder Woman script and I’m extremely grateful we got the Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman script we got instead. Hulk explains “Which is perhaps the biggest reason for we needed Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman script over Joss Whedon’s old one. It’s because her perspective and positivity was sorely needed, especially in this current landscape.” It’s not a perfect movie, but I only consider one movie in existence to be the perfect movie in terms of many monikers and that filmmaker is dead.
But let’s be real: the criticism of the Joss Whedon script is on the system and if you claim to be an ally, what you can do to make it better. Joss Whedon is a white dude, if he was really an ally he would let a woman write Batgirl, a black man write Cyborg in the Justice League reshoots, etc. He can write Batman, Superman, and even Flash.
This brings me to my second example. So for those of you who love Game of Thrones (Team Tyrion and Drogon forever, I don’t care), the showrunners announced that after they finish Game of Thrones, they’re going to be doing Confederate, a setting in which the South apparently won the Civil War.
Someone is going to tell me “Wait for a trailer before you judge it!” But honestly? I date a black man. You really think that me waiting for a trailer is going to make me more sympathic to a system that until the 1960s told my boyfriend and others of his skin color they had to have separate water fountains, lunch counters, the back of the bus, and separate bathrooms because racism. And still systematic kills black people because the police get away with it most of the time. If you had any idea how difficult it was for a black man in America, maybe you wouldn’t “Wait for a trailer before you judge it.”
I’m saying that I’m not giving a series called CONFEDERATE the freakin’ benefit of the doubt because there’s no trailers. Don’t feed a show that will show oppression of black individuals that isn’t written by black Americans. For that, I’ll watch Jordan Peele’s Get Out.
Inventing Sources and the New Frontier of Comics Research
Research for Captain Marvel, Black Canary, and Storm is going well. As for Huntress, there’s not a lot of scholarly research for her other than when she’s with Birds of Prey along with Black Canary, Lady Blackhawk, and Oracle.
That being said, it looks like I’ll be reading a lot of Huntress comics and drawing my own scholarly conclusions, hence “inventing sources” in the title. How do I plan to do this?
Well, considering the lack of comic book heroine research out there in the first place other than Batgirl (for disability/feminism intersection), Wonder Woman (because feminism), Harley Quinn (for abused victim turned anti-hero along with her relationship to Poison Ivy), and Jessica Jones (for her Netflix series on rape culture), there are a ton of sources about Storm (first Black superheroine) and about Captain Marvel (mostly as a comparison to Kamala Khan (who in turn will have her own section on the website at a later date)).
It’s hard researching scholarly articles that don’t exist. I have found plenty about Huntress in regards to the failed Birds of Prey television pilot, a lot on the Arrow version of the character, and a lot of the Birds of Prey comics. With that said, there isn’t enough about Huntress by herself unless it’s in one of these three forms. It’s frustrating.
So, I feel like this will be a reoccuring theme for me with this project. Some heroines will be easier to find than others. Kamala Khan will be easier than Wonder Girl if for no other reason than Kamala representing a minority in America after 9/11 and what that means for the hero who idolizes Captain Marvel.
My goal is to have these resources fleshed out by the end of August and written by the end of September. My end goal for these four is October 15th. Whether that actually comes to fruition depends on a lot of factors, but this is my current goal.
Comic book research is not fledgeling by any stretch, but some heroes are more neglected than others. A lot of research has been put into Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Captain America, Storm, Kamala Khan, and a few others. Some have more intersectionality with other subjects like patriotism (Captain America/Superman), vigilantism/justice (Batman), African-American experience (Storm), Muslim experience (Kamala Khan), and feminism (Wonder Woman). But many are neglected.
I’m hoping to change that. This project, I believe in my heart of hearts will make people realize how important heroines are to research. While there is scholarly writing of how comics are used to teach values, very little of it is in reference to heroines or their superpowers. They are usually mentioned in passing, but not as the crux of the genre.
And that’s the problem. Because women are also part of the conversation. They draw, write, read, cosplay, and breath comic books. It’s time to give the superheroines their due time in the sun and it’s time to tell people why they are important to life, our values, and most importantly our culture.
Wonder Woman did so well as a film. And it’s not an anomaly. It’s a powerful message that women are part of the industry. It’s a part of our culture. It might not be the perfect movie, but it definitely shows heart and qualities that define Wonder Woman herself.
Shouldn’t we want that for other superheroines? Shouldn’t we want to idolize all heroes, not just men? Culture is ever-changing and it’s time to adapt to what comics have been telling us for over 75 years with Wonder Woman: Women are heroes too and they are here to stay.
Dammit HYDRA is exactly how I feel about job hunting. I spent about 25 years in school and will have two MAs at the end of July, but as of right now, most jobs require said MAs to actually interview. Most of the emails are like this:
Dear Ms. Jessica [Last Name Redacted]
Thank you for your application. Unfortunately, we are not accepting canadiates without Master’s of Art degrees. Please reapply when you receive yours and we can include you in the process.
[Organization Hiring Manager’s Name Redacted]
So, the nice thing is they are still willing to include me in the process, but they’ll hire before my degrees are awarded. Dammit HYDRA. In the meantime, I’ll be working a gig, which is nice.
I’ve started to work on the critical acclaim of the Wonder Woman movie for the website Be A Heroine! and that’s coming along somewhat. I hope to finish it by today if possible.
As soon as that’s finished, I’ll start my research for Black Canary, Huntress, Captain Marvel, and Storm so I can post them in late Fall. A lot of research goes into this. About three months worth to be precise, which means they’ll be posted as soon as I move some stuff on the website around, add new pages, get the artwork, and other minor things.
In the meantime, I’ll be starting my gig Thursday and I’m really excited. I’m packing A LOT of sunscreen, my extra battery pack, and wearing my FitBit. Lots of walking will happen. It’s going to be great.